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Drifting Responsibilities

Submitted by Tom Gleason.

Related to dredging clogged up creeks and waterways, is the issue of erosion mediation using the spoils from the dredging process. The shore line between Schoolhouse Creek and Wickhams Creek is one of many examples of the problem. The standing DEC policies stating spoils can not be deposited upstream of the littoral drift and the policy of banning new groins/jetties all but closes the door on a practical solution.

This policy does not take into account the fact that existing groins, jetties and riprap prevent littoral drift sand reaching the depleted shorelines. Sand is deflected by these structures out into the bay causing shoaling and channel obstruction. Dredge spoil deposit is the only viable solution left. If the storm is too powerful, the absence of sand buffering to absorb wave energy results in extreme erosion. When a creek/channel is pumped, doesn’t it make sense to make good use of the spoils to fight the erosion? Pumping the sand to locations flush with sand as opposed to where the sand buffering is desperately needed defies logic.

In the case of this shoreline stretch, the results of these counterproductive and conflicting policies leave no other option except to erect seawalls. All properties from Schoolhouse to Wickhams now have seawalls or have permit applications pending. The shorelines facing in easterly directions with long reaches are in crisis and desperately need remediation help before the next major storm hits. Does the responsibility of addressing such systemic problems fall on the backs of the owners? Shouldn’t the town have interest in addressing this environmental problem?

About "Janet Deluca"

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