New York State is preparing to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to permanently allow dumping of dredged material in the Long Island Sound, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, backed by about 30 elected officials, announced on Thursday the state may take legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency to stop a plan to allow dumping in Long Island Sound of materials dug up from dredging. READ
Just before 11 a.m. last Wednesday — two hours before low tide — Goldsmith Inlet was already sealed shut by sand. The winding waterway in Peconic had slowed to a trickle, then vanished into a line of sand blocking the tepid water.
Though heavy fog on Monday afternoon rendered them almost invisible from the road a few hundred feet away, the mechanical clinking of cranes and bulldozers cut through and were clearly audible from Downs Creek. READ
The owner of an esteemed oyster farm in Orient received approval from the town to launch dredging at the mouth of the Oysterponds Creek in a project officials say will improve the quality of the creek’s ecosystem — including its shellfish. READ
The Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to approve funding to dredge the South Ferry channel connecting Shelter Island with North Haven with work expected to be done between October 1 and January.
After more than 15 years of negotiations the dredging of Mattituck Inlet is officially complete, providing area boaters with safe travel and adjacent residents with a newly replenished beach, federal officials said.
Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who pushed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finance the project, called it a victory, adding that its completion didn’t come without its share of hiccups. (more…)
Ron McGreevy has pushed for more than a decade for the dredging of Mattituck Inlet. So naturally, he’s been keeping a watchful eye on the project, which started Jan. 21. (more…)
Just three months ago, water could be heard rushing beneath the floorboards at Mary Drum’s Marratooka Point summer cabin. The beach under her cabin had once been dry sand but, as with many other cabins lining the thin peninsula on Great Peconic Bay west of Deep Hole Creek, that sand had been sucked away and carried to the east with every breaking wave.
In December, the county Department of Public Works dredged Deep Hole Creek, along with many other waterways, not only improving navigability but also redepositing the sand washed away by the water and providing stability to the vulnerable homes nearby.
Marratooka Point homeowners are among many throughout Southold Town who are finally seeing erosion relief after storms Irene and Sandy. The town Trustees make recommendations to the DPW about which waterways are most in need of dredging — and on which side of each the removed sand, or dredge spoils, should be placed. Homeowners, however, often disagree about where those spoils should go.
“We had heard from the homeowners to the west as well as homeowners to the east [of Deep Hole Creek],” said former town Trustee Dave Bergen, who helped make this season’s dredging selections. “[Those to the east] of course also wanted the material, but because of the extensive damage caused by Sandy and Irene and the vulnerability of the houses … we decided to place it to the west of the entrance.
“I would imagine that next time, the material consideration will be for homeowners to the east,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ms. Drum’s cabin, along with about 10 others along Marratooka Point, now sits soundly on a freshly refurbished beach.
“I am delighted,” said Ms. Drum, whose primary residence is in Mattituck. “I am delighted that [the spoils] went our direction. I don’t know how far they pumped it or how long it will last, but at least it’s on our side.”
The cottages on Marratooka Point, each known by a name — like Dunes or Bay Breeze — rather than a street number, date back to the mid- to late 1920s and were built by members of the Wickham family who inherited the bayside property.
Each cottage holds decades of family memories, with many owners hoping to create more in the future, Ms. Drum said.
“We’ve had a wedding reception, and one of my granddaughters had the rehearsal dinner there,” she said. “It’s just a very idyllic place that’s different. I call it camping with convenience.”
Diane Jeffrey travels from her home in Chicago to enjoy summers on the North Fork. She said she’s been staying at one cabin or another since she was 5 years old. Her father eventually bought the cottage known as the Dunes, which has since been passed on to her.
“We are in so precarious a situation,” Ms. Jeffrey said. “We’d lost so much and over the course of the last 15 years, it was almost like being on a houseboat at high tide. You’re sitting on your deck and there’s water running right underneath,” she said. “We’re happy the powers that be listened to all of us who called and explained.”
Mr. Bergen said several eroded locations were significantly improved by this season’s dredging, including the east side of Brush’s Creek, where residents also have rejuvenated beaches leading to their homes.
“Another very successful dredging was Corey and Richmond creeks,” he said, adding that dredging at all seven locations scheduled has been completed, just a couple of weeks shy of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s dredging deadline.
After receiving approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, dredging at Mattituck Inlet is scheduled to start early next week.
Village Dock Contracting Inc. of Port Jefferson, which was contracted in mid-December to dredge the inlet, will begin what’s expected to be a month-long project on Tuesday, Jan. 21, said Southold Town attorney Martin Finnegan. Work on the $2.2 million project will proceed “24/7,” he said, and is expected to continue until Feb. 28.
State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations require waterway dredging to be completed by Jan. 15 to protect aquatic life, leaving U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in need of an exemption from that dredge window.
The federal government last year agreed to dredge Mattituck Inlet, for which the Army Corps is responsible — a project 15 years in the making — and to use the dredged material to rebuild the heavily eroded beach east of the stone jetties. The jetties, built in 1906, extend out into the Sound, interrupting the natural west-to-east movement of sand, known as the littoral drift. As a result, a large amount of sand has collected against the west side of the west jetty, leaving the beach to the east starved of sand.
The dredging work, during which close to 100,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the inlet, will both widen and deepen the inlet channel to 11 feet below mean low tide, improving navigability. The dredged sand will be placed on the beach to the east in a 20-foot-wide strip about 4,500 feet long, starting at the eastern jetty, according to Congressman Tim Bishop’s office.
Ron McGreevy, a resident who helped in lobbying the federal government to undertake the project, said some sand will also be removed from the western side of the jetty and placed on the beach to the east, which, he noted, disappointed some residents on the western side.
According to a 2010 Army Corps study of the inlet, about 12,000 cubic yards of sand move along the beach from the west every year, collecting around different areas of the inlet — meaning additional dredging will be needed in the future as sand builds up over time.
The study found that each year, about 7,000 cubic yards builds up on the western side of the jetty; about 3,000 cubic yards moves into a shoal in front of the inlet’s entrance, essentially blocking part of it; and the remaining 2,000 cubic yards goes inside the inlet itself, building up and hindering vessels from safely navigating the waterway.
Mr. Bishop (D-Southampton), who has called on the federal government to take responsibility for the situation, and do something about, it since his start in Congress, said, “Recreational and commercial fishing is a big part of our heritage and we have an obligation to maintain navigable waterways that are also safe.
“It’s one of the four inlets in my district that the Corps is responsible for,” he said. “Mattituck is perhaps the least active, but that doesn’t make it any less important.”