Ocean Beach on Fire Island inundated with coastal floodwaters

By Joan Gralla for Newsday This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Updated December 9, 2014 6:44 PM 

Floodwaters in Ocean Beach on Fire Island topped 2 feet during Tuesday's nor'easter, washing into a few homes and stores, the town's fire chief said."This is probably the worst since Sandy," Ocean Beach Fire Chief Ian Levine said, referring to the superstorm of October 2012. "We've got over 2 feet of water in town and in stores.

Mayor James S. Mallott cautioned that the floodwaters might linger on land a few days."It was over my knees, it was almost up to my waist in certain spots," in downtown Ocean Beach, Levine said. "This water will probably be here two to three days," he said. "Once it calms down and the bay gets back to normal height, we'll get draining, and by Saturday the sun will be shining and the birds will be singing."

On Tuesday emergency vehicles found it difficult to navigate Burma Road, the route that runs down the barrier island's backbone, partly due to a couple of overwashes during high tide, he said.

Read Entire Article

Field Investigations at Fire Island, New York, to Better Understand Hurricane Sandy’s Impacts and Support Studies of Coastal Resilience

By Cheryl Hapke, Owen Brenner, and M. Dennis Krohn       Sept/Oct 2014 Sound Waves Newsletter http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2014/10/spotlight.html 

In response to Hurricane Sandy, which struck the U.S. east coast in October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is engaged in a research project that examines the coastal dynamics of Fire Island, a 50-kilometer (30 mile)-long barrier island south of Long Island, New York. The research will provide basic scientific information on coastal evolution and recovery, and will aid mitigation efforts and management planning.

From June 9 through June 25, 2014, Cheryl Hapke, a coastal geologist from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida (SPCMSC), led a comprehensive field effort to map changes and collect baseline geologic data from the coastline affected by Hurricane Sandy. Hapke had been conducting research on Fire Island before Hurricane Sandy (see Fire Island Coastal Change) as part of the USGS Coastal Change Processes project, and she served as a subject-matter expert at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hurricane Sandy Joint Field Office in New York during the post-storm response to Sandy. Hapke and USGS personnel also conducted immediate post-storm coastal-change assessments (see USGS Open-File Report 2013–1231 and “USGS Scientists Predict, Measure Sandy’s Impacts on the Coastal Landscape,” Sound Waves, November/December 2012).

Read Entire Article

Home buyout offers for Fire Island dune project expected in 2 months

Dec. 4, 2014       by JOAN GRALLA / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Owners of 41 oceanfront Fire Island homes slated for demolition to clear the path for a federally funded dune project can expect buyout offers in about two months, a Suffolk County official said this week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers devised the $207 million project, but the county must secure the required properties and 421 easements needed to build and maintain the barrier island's dunes.

The county has scheduled a public hearing on the project for Dec. 30. The 7 p.m. hearing will be held at Suffolk County Community College's Brentwood campus in the Van Nostrand Theatre.

After the hearing, the county, which repeatedly has warned it will condemn properties if necessary, has 90 days to issue a report authorizing its use of those powers.

Read Entire Article

Prep work on beach replenishment project begins

Dec. 3, 2014       Story By: Peggy Spellman Hoey for LongIslandAdvance.net 

California-based government contractors with the Dutra Group began mobilizing — laying down pipes and preparing an area where piping plovers nest — Monday as part of the U.S. Army Corps’ $47.9 million beach replenishment project at Smith Point County Park in Shirley.

Under the Army Corps’ plan, 2.5 million cubic yards of sand will be placed at varying heights between 13 and 15 feet high along Smith Point’s roughly five-mile coastline. The sand placement will include graduated sloping, a design consistent with the habitat of the piping plover, and Burma Road, a roadway leading to Moriches Inlet that is used by recreational beach drivers as well as county workers conducting maintenance of the jetty, will remain intact once the dunes are restored.

“The contractor is beginning to mobilize, so we are hoping to be pumping sand shortly,” said Army Corps spokesman Ken Wells Monday afternoon. “Right now, we are looking to finish construction in winter 2015.” The work is estimated to begin Dec. 17.

Read Entire Article

Sandy's silver lining: clean water in long-polluted LI bay

October 28, 2014 Story By: Barbara Goldberg for Reuters 

(Reuters) - Chris Soller headed across a Fire Island beach ravaged by Superstorm Sandy two years ago and stopped to admire the unexpected gift the deadly storm left behind: water clear enough to see the sandy bottom of the long-polluted bay.

The storm that killed at least 159 people and destroyed more than 650,000 homes when it slammed the U.S. East Coast also tore two breaches through the long barrier island that lies across the murky Great South Bay from New York's Long Island.

The gap that remains open is allowing the Atlantic Ocean to surge in and out of the bay, and the water near the breach is cleaner, with more plentiful fish, than it has been in decades.

Twice-daily tides over the last two years have flushed away suburban runoff from sewage and lawn fertilizer that sparks algal blooms known as Brown Tide and kills off underwater grass vital to marine life.

Read Entire Article