Group Calls for Longterm Plan for Protecting Coastal Communities

Save the Great South Bay members advocate keeping the new Fire Island breach open and wants greater attention to coastline issues.

The newly formed Save the Great South Bay group, founded just two months before super storm Sandy decimated the south shore of Long Island and Fire Island communities, is calling on lawmakers to develop a broad, large-scale plan for protecting the coastal areas of Long Island. 

The group, which has more than 500 members, is planning several activities this year to increase awreness of the bay's status and recently participated in a public forum on what to do regarding the new breach at Fire Island’s Old Inlet caused by Sandy, according to a press release.

The two-and-a-half hour meeting held last weekend in Bellport was keynoted by Dr. Charles Flagg of SoMAS and featured presentations by Kevin McAllister of the Peconic Bay Keeper and Joseph Gagliano, chairman of the Bellport Village Waterfront Commission.

The focus of the meeting, sponsored by SUNY Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, was focused on advocating to keep the breach open.

However, a number Long Island elected officials recently held a press conference and called for the breach to be closed. They felt the increased flooding seen in many communities along the south shore in recent months is a result of additional water spilling into the Great South Bay through the breach.

According to STGSB, the politicians who support closing the breach chose not to attend Saturday’s meeting, and were not represented by staff members.

Those in attendance represented at least 20 different environmental and marine-related groups including The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition, Brookhaven Affiliated Civic Organization, The Nature Conservancy, Citizens Campaign for The Environment, Long Island Sound Lobsterman’s Association, Coastal Conservation Association, South Bay Cruising Club, Operation Splash, The Village of Bellport, Surfrider Foundation, Pattersquash Creek Civic Association.

Rich H March 29, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Am I the only one who finds it strange that the same voices that are proclaiming that the Great South Bay must have the vital flushing & cleaning action that the new breach provides are the same ones that say the breach has NO effect on bay-front water levels? How can they have it both ways? If the breach at Old Inlet is large enough to clean and raise salinity levels in the whole bay it must be letting a significant amount of water in and out. Is it unreasonable to assume this water, flowing in a direct link from Great South Bay to Atlantic Ocean (Something neither the Fire Island nor Moriches Inlet does), has SOME effect on bay-front water levels? Isn’t at least a part of the moderating effect that a barrier beach provides lost when some of that barrier is lost? The south shore people who have experienced unprecedented flooding since Sandy have a right to feel skeptical when told there is NO correlation between the breach and the extreme tides. Dr. Flagg and his charts are impressive, but scientists, even good ones, have been known to make mistakes and often disagree on data interpretation. I know the recent meetings have been very well attended by pro-breach groups. This is because the flooding victims are less organized and too exhausted to have their voices heard. Why isn’t anyone exploring a solution that could serve both interest groups? The cost of a GATED sluiceway system is justified because the Great South Bay is the economic lifeblood of the South Shore.


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