The numbers are staggering – 500,000 septic tanks on Long Island. An estimated 2000 outfall pipes pouring runoff into our lakes, streams and bays with each rain. 100+ small dams and spillways blocking the way for ocean fish that would otherwise spawn. Clam harvests in the Great South Bay down well over 90 percent. Scallops in Peconic Bay all but wiped out by rust tide. Fish populations a small fraction of what they were not too long ago.
While Will James depicts the issue of the breach / New Inlet as an ongoing conflict, with a decision in the balance, with the environmentalists pitted against the home owners, a year on post Sandy I'd have to say that the debate over the breach is pretty much over. The public has spoken. Emails, phone calls, public meetings. Many meetings with politicians and policy makers, dozens of environmental organizations working together in support of science and the case for leaving the breach alone. We stand with our flooded neighbors, and want to see them get the help they need quickly, with the money spent wisely and the work done well. At this point, the vast majority understand that spending $20 million to plug the breach would provide absolutely no protection from the next big storm.
The article's main proponent for closing the breach is Aram Terchunian, who is described in the article as "Long Island coastal geologist who has worked as a consultant on other breach-closure projects." He is also Founder and CEO of First Coastal, a firm that has made a lot of money on Long Island over the years pushing sand around. He refers to the breach as "a giant hole" must be plugged. To quote Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Sandy knocked Fire Island 75 feet north. It took with it 52% of Fire Island's sand. The water's coming, and spending $20 million so that a contractor fills it in (at great environmental damage to what is now by far the healthiest part of the The Great South Bay) is pure folly, and most people -- scientists and the general public -- now know that. He says "its not rocket science" to conclude filling the breach would mitigate flooding, but as he is the lone voice making the argument to close it, arrayed against a number of marine scientists with years of data at their disposal, one must ask him what kind of science he is practicing and where his data is.
In an Orwellian irony, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the State’s bulwark against the forces of pollution and habitat destruction, is …