01/17/14 2:30pm
01/17/2014 2:30 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTOS | Mary Drum’s cabin in Mattituck in early October (top) and as it appeared Jan. 10.

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.

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10/05/13 8:40pm
10/05/2013 8:40 PM

KENDRA MCCARRICK GRAPHIC | Some of the areas scheduled to be dredged this season by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works.

Which waterways will be dredged this season? It’s a question asked at this time each year as the town and county work together to develop a dredging schedule.

Dredging becomes necessary as shifting sands and beach materials carried in the water build up in creeks and ponds, affecting water quality and the navigability of waterways.

“It is important from an environmental perspective that there is sufficient flushing,” said Southold Town Trustee Dave Bergen.

The dredging season runs Oct. 1 to Jan. 15. Dredging in “critical fish habitat areas” will be complete by Dec. 15.

Gull Pond was the only waterway on the town’s dredging list that did not receive county approval, Mr. Bergen said.

The following are waterways that will be dredged this season.

Budds Pond

Provides access to Hashamomuck Pond, Albertson Marina and Port of Egypt. Removed materials will be placed on the nearby barrier island.

Corey Creek

Provides access to East Creek and Mudd Creek in Cutchogue Harbor and is designated by the DEC as a critical fish habitat area. Materials will be placed east of the entrance.

Deep Hole Creek

Used by recreational vessels. Materials will be placed east of the entrance.

Richmond Creek

Provides access to Hog Neck Bay and is designated by the DEC as a critical fish habitat area. Material will be placed west of the end of Indian Neck Lane.

Brush’s Creek

Used by recreational vessels and provides access to Peconic Bay. Materials will be placed east of the creek.

Goose Creek

Has marinas for recreational and commercial use and provides access to Southold Bay. Materials will be placed west of Southold Yacht Club.

Cedar Creek

Home to Cornell Cooperative Research Center and provides access to Little Peconic Bay. Materials will be placed to the east of the creek.

Little Creek

Designated by the DEC as a critical fish habitat area, is used for recreational vessels and provides access to Little Peconic Bay. Materials will be placed east of the creek.

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07/24/13 3:00pm
07/24/2013 3:00 PM

mosquito-web

Five locations across Southold Town will be treated for mosquito larvae Thursday, county officials announced.

Great Hog Neck, Pine Neck Creek, and Pipes Cove in Southold; Kerwin Boulevard in Greenport; and New Suffolk will all be sprayed with Vectobac 12 AS pesticide by helicopter from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the Suffolk County Department of Public Works.

Five locations in Riverhead Town and Flanders will also be sprayed:  Indian Island in Riverhead, Overlook, Crescent Duck Farm, and Aquebogue Farm in Aquebogue, Iron Point in Flanders and Millar Farm in Jamesport.

Residents on the North Fork are unlikely to be exposed to the pesticides, which “have no significant human toxicity,” a press release states. Health department officials said the places being sprayed are salt marshes not near residential areas.

The pesticide is registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and are applied in accordance with the required state and federal permits, county officials said.

Should weather conditions stop the operation, treatment will continue on the next suitable day. Residents don’t need to take precautions against the pesticide, as the helicopter will be flying at “a very low level” over marsh areas.

For more information, call the Suffolk County Division of Vector Control at (631) 852-4270 or the Spraying Information Hotline (631) 852-4939.

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07/19/13 5:00pm
07/19/2013 5:00 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO

Next week would be a bad time to be late for the ferry.

From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, the eastbound lane on Route 48 will closed for construction between Chapel Lane and Moores Lane, with all eastbound traffic diverted down Chapel Lane to Main Road.

The detour will be in place Monday through Friday.

The shutdown will permit a Suffolk County Department of Public Works contractor to undertake preparation work for a larger repaving project expected to begin in the fall, said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley. When work on the eastbound lane is completed, the contractor will shift to the westbound lane, which will require a separate detour.

Police are planning for at least one lane to be closed for about a month, the chief said.

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03/28/13 3:30pm
03/28/2013 3:30 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Believe it or not, town Trustee David Bergen is standing in what used to be the channel of Little Creek in Cutchogue. The county dredge at the creek’s entrance, shown with two support vessels, later moved the sand to a nearby beach.

It was big deal to get a county dredge to clear the mouth of a little creek.

Little Creek in Cutchogue, to be precise. The problem wasn’t with the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, which had the requisite funding and had scheduled the clearing of the 5,000 or so cubic yards of sand clogging the channel to Little Peconic Bay just north of the Nassau Point Causeway. It was a question of timing.

The DPW crew wasn’t able to get to the work before the Dec. 15 state deadline, imposed to protect fish and other marine life during their spawning season.

But in a highly unusual — and highly welcome — decision, the state Department of Environmental Conservation waived the time limit, permitting the dredge to start digging at the end of last week.

“As far as I know, this hasn’t happened since the dredging windows were moved back from April 15 over a decade ago,” said town Trustee David Bergen, who led the fight for the special dredging permit. He praised Congressman Tim Bishop for assisting with Army Corps of Engineers approvals and state Senator Ken LaValle for interceding with New York’s Department of State, which also had to sign off on the project.

The county cleared the channels to seven other Southold creeks last year but ran out of time before it could take on Little Creek, Mr. Bergen said.

Before the dredge arrived, the mouth of Little Creek was, at 25 feet wide and two feet deep, half its usual width and depth, the trustee said. The town’s concerns went far beyond pleasure boating, he added.

“Environmentally it’s beneficial to have this waterway open,” said Mr. Bergen. “If it didn’t get dredged, the creek might not have been able to flush and temperatures would rise, causing difficulties for finfish and shellfish to reproduce.”

Superstorm Sandy in October led to increased silting in many local waterways and the DEC’s response has been “very responsible and understanding,” the Trustee said.

County Legislator Al Krupski, a Cutchogue resident and former town Trustee, agreed.

“The DEC has been much better since the storm,” Mr. Krupski said. “I think they’re looking at coastal erosion processes much differently.”

He also praised Mr. Bergen for pushing for the special permit.

“He’s been relentless,” the legislator said.

The creek is a short distance from a Cutchogue Park District beach that was hit hard by Sandy and will be rebuilt with dredged material.

“The stars lined up perfectly for this to take place,” Mr. Krupski said.

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