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Mar 29, 2017 9:51 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Trustees Open Mecox Cut With Only A Short Window

The Southampton Town Trustees voted to open the Mecox Cut on Tuesday. GREG WEHNER
Mar 29, 2017 10:00 AM

With time before the start of piping plover nesting season ticking away, and a long stretch of rain in the forecast, the Southampton Town Trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to open Mecox Cut on an emergency basis.

Shortly after the resolution was passed, crews with Chesterfield and Associates were on the narrow strip of sand between Mecox Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, digging a trench to allow the water to drain out of the bay.

This time, the reason for opening the cut was not low salinity or a rogue algae bloom. Instead, the Trustees said they opened the cut because piping plovers begin to arrive around April 1, and the forecast called for rain on 10 of the next 15 days, which could cause the water levels in the bay to reach dangerous levels that could affect nesting locations.

“Based on what we know of how it reacts to that many days of rain … we’re put in a tough spot, right in the middle of endangered species time,” Trustee Scott Horowitz said.

According to a permit granted by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the cut must be closed by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, allowing the water to flow between the ocean and the bay for a maximum of three days.

“I think the conditions being imposed by DEC are consistent with all of the science,” said Nica Strunk, attorney for the Water Mill Beach Club. Members of the club have complained about the cut being left open for long periods of time, which has resulted in erosion along the beach, but this opening is much shorter.

Ms. Strunk also noted that ad hoc openings of the cut need to be replaced with a more formal schedule based on the science. “There has to be a management plan, and it has to be managed so the shellfish can thrive, baymen can harvest, and plovers can nest in peace … there’s a way to achieve all of these goals at once,” she said.

As part of the process, the Trustees are required to stockpile sand to refill the cut to stop the flow of water.

With winds expected to blow 10 to 15 knots out of the north over the next two days, Ed Warner Jr., the Trustees’ president, said he hoped the water will flow out of the bay for at least 24 to 48 hours. After that, the winds are expected to come from the south and should help close the cut naturally.

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They don't nest at the cut, the nest at the beach club...
By knitter (1850), Southampton on Mar 29, 17 3:03 PM
Classy birds...
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Mar 29, 17 5:13 PM
NY State passed a law in the 1890s giving the Trustees "the authority to open Mecox as thy deem necessary'. Why are some of the Trustees willing to kow tow to the almighty DEC??!! It's your RIGHT gentlemen, use it. Seems as if some of the beach front homeowners have undo influence here.
By bigfresh (4537), north sea on Mar 29, 17 6:30 PM
Are they nesting in the cut? How does it effect the plover nesting?
By knitter (1850), Southampton on Mar 29, 17 7:28 PM
Icecreamman asks what's going on here? Newbies that's what. Some ** individual plunks down his cash, buys a house on the oceanfront, and now wants to rule the place. My grandfather's construction company with the big buldozer was called to go down to Mecox Bay to open the cut at least once a year. I got to watch it once in a while if I promised to stay out of the way.
The problem comes about when the new folks do not bother to learn what is the normal run of things in the new place they call ...more
By summertimegal (93), southampton on Mar 30, 17 5:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did it work? Everybody happy?
By knitter (1850), Southampton on Apr 3, 17 12:12 PM
the area west of Ocean Road has had a plover nesting area established however in the middle of it is a walkway for the house on Mid Ocean (we call it fish house). Why does this elite homeowner get a walkway between the plover nesting area??? Do the plovers know NOT to cross to to the other side??? think not.. Trustees please check this out and respond on this site.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Apr 7, 17 8:10 PM
By knitter (1850), Southampton on Apr 8, 17 2:39 AM
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