07/07/15 1:40pm
07/07/2015 1:40 PM
Robert DeLuca, CEO of Group for the East End, speaks at a public hearing Monday night. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Robert DeLuca, CEO of Group for the East End, speaks at a public hearing Monday night. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Mattituck Inlet has already been designated as an “impaired watershed” by the Department of Environmental Conservation, but neighbors and environmentalists are worried that a proposed subdivision for one of the few remaining open spaces near the inlet will only make things worse. (more…)

04/04/14 10:00am
04/04/2014 10:00 AM
Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Most anytime a civic endeavor requires cooperation from the federal government, there will be plenty of bumps in the road to completion.

It’s only after a project is finished that it can be called a success. We’ve seen too many examples of situations in which the public was promised one result, but was forced to settle for another — often something far less than ideal. (more…)

04/03/14 8:00am
04/03/2014 8:00 AM
Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

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…)

03/06/14 5:00pm
03/06/2014 5:00 PM
An engineer surveying the coast to the east of the inlet Thursday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

A worker with the U.S. Army Cops of Engineer was seen surveying the Long Island Sound coastline just to the east of Mattituck Inlet Thursday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

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…)

02/07/14 1:28pm
02/07/2014 1:28 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop discussing the dredging of Mattituck Inlet Friday morning.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop discussing the dredging of Mattituck Inlet Friday morning.

Congressman Tim Bishop held a press event Friday morning to publicly thank all those involved in making the dredging of Mattituck Inlet a reality — from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, to Southold Town representatives, to the McGreevys, a local couple that spent more than a decade pushing for the project.

“The improved depth and width will provide for safer navigation through the Mattituck Inlet, which is important for both commercial fishing and recreational fishing,” Mr. Bishop said. “And, perhaps as important, it will restore the shoreline to the east of the inlet which has become very badly eroded.

01/15/14 7:00am
01/15/2014 7:00 AM
BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Workers will be operating around the clock to get Mattituck Inlet dredged before the state's shut-down window.

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Mattituck Inlet dredging work is expected to last about a month.

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.”

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01/02/14 9:00am
01/02/2014 9:00 AM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Doris and Ron McGreevy of Mattituck survey the stretch of Long Island Sound beach east of Mattituck Inlet that will be rebuilt with material dredged from the inlet.

Residents living east of Mattituck Inlet have long watched their sand-starved beach recede, thanks to two stone jetties that block the sand’s natural drift.

The jetties not only contribute to coastline erosion but also raise navigational safety concerns for commercial and recreational vessels entering and leaving Mattituck Inlet, which is a federal waterway under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In May, the Army Corps accepted responsibility for the jetties’ inadvertent effects and agreed to dredge the inlet, deepening the waterway and using the dredged material to rebuild the heavily eroded area of the Sound beach to its east.

This was a project more than 15 years in the making.

While most neighbors, boaters and nearby business owners supported the project, one Mattituck couple spearheaded the effort to get it done, mostly by pursuing government officials to push for funding — no matter the mood in the nation’s capital.

“They fought hard over the years, starting at the local level, eventually concentrating their efforts toward Washington … refusing to take no for an answer,” said Dave Bergen, a former Southold Town Trustee.

For their role in pressing political leaders and the Army Corps to act, Ron and Doris McGreevy of Lloyds Lane in Mattituck have been named The Suffolk Times’ Civic People of the Year.

Doris McGreevy, who credits her husband with doing “most of the work,” said the journey began while she chatted with two of her neighbors one random afternoon.

“We said, ‘We have to do something about this,’ ” she recalled. “We saw the inlet was blocking the flow of the sand, and it was one of the reasons we have extreme damage to our beach.”

The McGreevys said they wanted the Army Corps to be held accountable and believed that going through the legislative process would make it happen.

“We felt that we had enough trust in that process to go that route,” Ms. McGreevy said. “We felt if we engaged our representatives, and they understood the situation, they would then go through the political channels they knew to come up with the remedy.”

In choosing that route, the couple took on a more than decade-long battle, but never lost sight of their goal.

In May, the federal government agreed to dredge the inlet under Section 111 of the 1968 federal River and Harbor Act, requiring the Corps to mitigate erosion caused by its projects. In December, the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a $2.2 million agreement with Port Jefferson-based contractor Village Dock Contracting Inc., said Chris Gardner, an Army Corps spokesman, adding that a project start date is currently being discussed.

The dredging work, which calls for the removal of close to 100,000 cubic yards of material from the inlet, will both widen and deepen the inlet channel to a depth of 11 feet below mean low tide. The dredged sand will be placed on the beach in a 20-foot-wide strip about 4,500 feet long from the eastern jetty, according to Congressmen Tim Bishop’s office.

“I was first exposed to the project while running for the very first time, in the summer of 2002,” Mr. Bishop said. “It was brought to my attention by Doris McGreevy. They were very informed and very forceful advocates. I am delighted they are going to be able to see the fruit of their effort.

“They worked very hard at this and I’m glad it is paying off,” the congressman said.

While sitting at his kitchen table last month, surrounded by notes, charts and environmental studies on the inlet, Mr. McGreevy received a call from an Army Corps of Engineers official, who informed him the contract had been finalized.

“I’m finally glad,” Mr. McGreevy said, looking out his bay window. “We’ve had a lot of disappointments along the way, but we persevered.”

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