Engineers suggest scaling back annual Goldsmith Inlet dredge

FILE PHOTO | Goldsmith Inlet in Peconic.

Opting for a cheaper and less invasive method of clearing the opening of Goldsmith Inlet, Southold Town engineers Jamie Richter and Michael Collins are recommending the town skip its traditional dredging this year.

During the Town Board’s work session Tuesday morning, the engineers told members it would be it would be both cost effective and sufficient for maintaining the health of the Peconic inlet to dig out only a portion of the front opening of the channel known as the spit.

The spit extends from the southerly end of the jetty across to the mouth of the inlet, Mr. Collins said. As more sand is deposited on the spit, the channel shifts toward the east causing damage to the dunes, he said.

“Basically I just need to create a hole in the middle of [the spit] so that water will flow where we intended it to,” Mr. Collins said.

Removing the build-up of sand on the spit would cost roughly $4,000 to $6,000, far less than the full dredge of Goldsmith Inlet that typically happens every January, which runs about $50,000, Mr. Collins said.

The engineers believe there is no need to spend money on large-scale dredging this year because tidal flow – which regulates flushing and helps clean out pollution – has been stronger than in past years.

“It’s not great, but compared to other years there is more tidal flow,” Mr. Collins said. “Half of the tide is still flushing in and out. It’s not perfect,  but it is satisfactory.”

Moving forward, Mr. Collins said his department will continue to work with environmental engineering firm eDesign Dynamics LLC of New York City to develop a long-term plan for the dredging of Goldsmith Inlet.

Last year, the Town hired the firm to analyze perennially-clogged waterway and develop recommendations about how to correct the pollution of the inlet. On the forefront was a suggestion to build a second $1.5 million jetty, however the Town has not moved forward on any of the options eDesign Dynamics presented.

“We are still working with that report,” Mr. Collins said. “We will sit down and discuss the best way to go forward the next time we have full dredge event, if we even have one at all.”