A group of more than 50 concerned residents piled into the Peconic Community Center Saturday to discuss the future of Goldsmith Inlet.
The three-hour long meeting focused on a list of recommendations presented by environmental engineering firm eDesign Dynamics LLC of New York City. On the forefront was a suggestion to build a second $1.5 million jetty to help reduce pollution.
The idea drew criticism from residents, who believe other suggestions should be considered with equal weight.
“If we can look into the cost of adding a jetty then we should look into the cost of removing the one already there,” Southold resident Betsy Graseck said.
Many voiced concern that adding another jetty on the east side of the channel could speed up the erosion of McCabes and Kenny’s Beaches.
According to the presentation, the study showed that the inlet’s water quality has continued to deteriorate. The company said this is primarily due to large deposits of sand that severely limit tidal flow as well as the normal amount of flushing, which has historically kept the inlet healthy.
The company’s managing partner, Eric Rothstein, said annual “emergency” dredging does little to improve water quality. While the company estimates the jetty would cost the town about $3,000 to $5,000 per linear foot, roughly $1.5 million, it would be the most likely way of reducing sediment buildup and increasing tidal flow long term.
Residents agreed the annual dredging was a “Band-Aid,” and did little to address the cause of the problem.
“It may slow it down and get us through another budget cycle, but over the long term it’s negative,” said Hugh Switzer, organizer of Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet.
The company also proposed a method of sand removal known as agitation dredging — a method that uses pressurized water to move sediment.
Other options included moving the location of the annual dredging site further away from the Sound.
The company plans to build models of each of the possibilities to give the public a better idea of how they could be implemented. All of the suggestions would need to be reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation before moving forward.
The town will not take any immediate action on the recommendations, Supervisor Scott Russell said.