Health & Environment

Letter: A step in the right direction for Goldsmith Inlet

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | The Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet has lobbied to restore the health of Goldsmith Inlet.

To the editor:

I want to acknowledge the significant efforts Scott Russell and the Town Board have taken these past few years to restore the health and safety of Goldsmith Inlet.

They have focused engineering department efforts on dredging at the Sound entrance to the Inlet, to maintain an opening for tidal flow. They re-armored the shoreline along Mill Lane to address scouring of the shoreline.

Recognizing that dredging and armoring deal only with the symptoms of the problem — the sand and debris that is continuously forced into the inlet — they authorized an overall assessment to determine the cause of the problems and to propose long-range solutions.

The town planning department created a management plan for the Inlet in 2009, and gained funding from the state and county for a comprehensive study by environmental and hydrological engineering firms that began in 2012.

Since then, interim study results and recommendations have been presented at various public meetings allowing for wide public input. The last report from the studies was presented to the Town Board last Tuesday.

As a result, the town has now confirmed the levels and DNA source of pollutants in the Inlet, which caused the DEC to restrict all shellfishing long ago, and has enabled the spread of invasive plant species. The studies highlight the cause of the problems — the funnel created by the single jetty. They propose both short- and long-term solutions to address these problems.

We want to acknowledge the Town Board and its planning and engineering departments for their continuing efforts on behalf of a healthy and safe Goldsmith Inlet.

We also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers, with a special nod to Bill Grigonis and the NJROTC cadets, who conducted annual cleanups (with hundreds of tons of debris removed), planted native species on the banks and completed other work to save the Inlet.

Hugh Switzer, Peconic

Mr. Switzer sent this letter on behalf of the Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet steering committee: George Aldcroft, Peggy Dickerson, Bill Higgins, Rick and Linda Kedenburg, Allen Kraus and Susan Switzer.