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Story - News

Aug 24, 2010 9:06 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Beach erosion study delayed again

Aug 24, 2010 9:06 AM

BRIDGEHAMPTON—The forces of nature created Long Island’s iconic sand beaches over tens of thousands of years, a snap of the fingers in geologic time.

After 30 years and counting, some on the East End are starting to think that the federal agencies developing the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, a plan for managing those beaches, might be operating on the same glacial time frame.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week cancelled three of four public meetings scheduled for this month that would have been the first open discussions of the myriad action plans they are considering for the dynamic expanse of sand beaches and barrier islands stretching from Fire Island to Montauk Point—yet another delay in a project that is already a decade overdue.

Local officials have gotten glimpses of portions of the study’s draft report and some of the recommendations being considered for maintaining the beaches—including a sand bypass system for Shinnecock Inlet, alterations to groins in East Hampton and Westhampton Beach, and beach rebuilding at several points along the shorefront.

On Saturday morning, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton told a gathering of public officials and local residents at the Bridgehampton National Bank’s community meeting room that he and some state lawmakers will continue pressing for the completion of the long-awaited study, which may allow large-scale rebuilding of Southampton Town’s eroded beaches. But he also said town governments and individual neighborhoods should be working on their own smaller-scale efforts to bolster their beaches as an alternative to the perpetually far-off federal effort.

Rep. Bishop, who lobbied through years of the Bush administration’s efforts to kill funding for the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, also known as FIMPS, told a handful of Sagaponack homeowners that the proposed creation of a special tax district for their properties to help pay for smaller-scale beach rebuilding projects might still be their best bet for securing the kind of work they need to protect their homes from major storms.

“There’s two ways to get sand on the beach, FIMPS and erosion control districts,” the congressman told residents on Saturday morning. “Dealing with the Army Corps is a mixed blessing: they have the deepest pockets, but they also have far and away the most laborious process.”

Until the FIMPS recommendations can be vetted and a comprehensive program of beach rebuilding implemented, the erosion control districts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be the best hope for spurring beach rebuilding in severely eroded stretches of Sagaponack and Bridgehampton, Mr. Bishop said.

By creating the special tax districts, which are proposed in Sagaponack and Bridgehampton, residents will be able to raise their own funding for beach nourishment projects. But, more important, they will have an official footing on which to approach FEMA and the Army Corps about assistance with specific projects.

Through the creation of an erosion control district in Hampton Bays in 2005, residents were able to secure federal and state funding for a project that placed thousands of tons of sand on beaches there last winter.

“I have people come to me every day and ask why we are cleaning up a mess the Army Corps made,” said Gary Ireland, the Sagaponack resident who organized Saturday’s meeting and who has circulated a petition calling on the Army Corps to complete the FIMPS work immediately. “It’s a valid point, but there’s no way around it—that’s what we have to do.”

A lawsuit Mr. Ireland filed against Suffolk County and the Army Corps of Engineers, blaming four stone groins built at the county’s urging in East Hampton in the 1950s and 1960s for erosion in Sagaponack and Bridgehampton, was dismissed by a state judge last year.

The FIMPS project was begun in 1980 as an ambitious effort to develop a comprehensive database of the forces at work along eastern Long Island’s economically critical ocean beaches and a catalog of potential efforts that would ensure their survival while protecting the private property interests of the residents and businesses that occupy the beachfront. After years of compiling an increasingly complicated analysis of conditions along the beaches and bays of the South Shore, originally scheduled to be completed in 2002, Mr. Bishop said the study’s completion was nearly killed by funding cuts in the Army Corps budgets. Lobbying from Mr. Bishop and other Long Island politicians kept the project alive, if handicapped by tightened purse strings. The realization that the effects of global warming would have to be accounted for in the analysis added another year to the data compilation.

“The Bush administration was prepared to walk away from this—they said the local governments can handle it,” Mr. Bishop said. “We know that local governments cannot handle this on their own.”

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I may have the answer, but no one wants to hear it.


It is all that holds back the salt water, as it is denser. Just like humanity.
By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Aug 19, 10 10:25 PM
LOL, you can't really believe that Z! The sand transport will occur regardless of where we get our water.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 21, 10 2:16 PM
Salt water intrusion, baby.

It may not be the sole reason, but can you really discount it as a factor, based on solid empirical evidence?

Do some cave diving sometime, and you will note the division between the salt, and fresh water. They act almost like oil, and water. Oil will sometimes emulsify, or some oils are miscible, but for the most part, they need to be shaken to be mixed.

It just seems awful coincidental how beach erosion has increased seemingly proportionately ...more
By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Aug 22, 10 12:35 AM
Mr. Z you are fishing off the wrong side of the boat. Tapping into the aquifers for freshwater usage has nothing to do with beach erosion. There is no evidence that points to that and it's a silly claim.

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 22, 10 10:35 AM
This was a good report, published in 2003. Though it does not address our area in particular, there have been more than a few Lloyd Harbor studies done.
Note Chapter 1., Fig. 5 for a basic shoreline cross section.


You may note how fresh water keeps salt water at bay, especially at high tide, by limiting it's penetration, and depth into the aquifer. Removal of hydrogeologic freshwater aquifer pressure may be a factor, especially in ...more
By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Aug 23, 10 11:06 PM
I don't dispute that pumping freshwater for human consumption can result in salt water intrusion - but that has nothing to do with erosion of our ocean shorelines. Sand moves from east to west via littoral drift. Man-made structures such as groins, jetties and inlets disrupt this flow (and to a smaller extent, dredging activities and sand renourishment projects). You offer no explination as to how "salt water intrusion" is stripping away sand from the ocean beaches.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 10 2:27 PM
Fresh water keeps salt water at bay on the sea side ot a dispersion zone. Therefore, it very well could have an effect. Further reading, with better pictures:

By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Aug 28, 10 9:17 PM
Again, not arguing that point. I'm arguing that the water doesn't have an effect on erosion. You have yet to explain how these dynamics would effect littoral drift.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 9:47 AM
OK, picture a bear, or a tiger taking a swat with it's paw. It's going to do alot of damage, right?

It's kind of a similar principle when it comes to salt water encroaching on the dispersion zone, as freshwater volume and hydrologic pressure decreases. The freshwater may not be a mainstay against erosion, but it does help keep it at bay. Warranted, sand will drift from West, to East. Anyone who is a swimmer out here can tell you that. If you stand on the dunes, you can see the rest ...more
By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Aug 30, 10 11:11 PM
You have to factor in sea-level rise when looking at the amount of beach from season to season and yes storms are a big factor that have seemingly increased in size and ferocity.

What you state about looking from the top of the dune out into the ocean that used to be dry land is correct. However, it's not because of erosion so much as it's because of the natural processes of the sea and barrier islands. Barrier islands move landward over time (you can find saltmarsh peat and shells ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 10 11:06 PM
OH MY GOD! there's Timmy Bishop! we knew he was some where out there.
his eyes are open, his mouth is open, but we don't here his voice on the issues or see any results.
is he really blaming erosion on the W BUSH administration?
By uncleronk (136), southold on Aug 20, 10 9:36 AM
guess what folks, the ocean makes a poor neighbor. Let nature take it's course, in the final analasys the ocean will do whatever she wants and all man's efforts will prove to be futile.
By bigfresh (4542), north sea on Aug 21, 10 10:18 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you Tim for working hard saving our beaches. You are out there and working hard for us.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 21, 10 11:39 AM
Shocking. Tim Bishop, in a private meeting at a bank - fitting as most of his money comes from hedge funds and corporate elites. Oh and shocking again, he is patronizing well heeled Sagaponack part-time -.its as close to the locals as he'll ever get again. Oh, and would you look at that, his answer is to create a special tax district. What a bloated hack. If there ever was an argument for term limits its this guy. His tendency to vote along with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed 99% of the time has ...more
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 21, 10 12:37 PM
And another thing. A winner, a real achiever - someone with ideas, a plan a vision - a LEADER doesn't continue to mention an administration from 2 years ago.
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 21, 10 12:43 PM
Hey Package... all you have are the Fox "news" talking points. Bishop sits on the sub committee for the Army Corp of Engineers, he is now a ranking member, and he is in the majority.
We need this!! Let's not fool ourselves to thing that a Freshman in the minority is going to do better than Bishop on this issue.
Vote for Bishop!! He fights for the East End.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 21, 10 12:45 PM
I could've said the moon was made of cheese and you would have had the same response, but last I checked fox hasn't mentioned Sagaponack, Bishop or any of my specific charges you cannot refute. Checkmate and you had better start begging people to vote for your pal.
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 21, 10 12:48 PM
“Dealing with the Army Corps is a mixed blessing: they have the deepest pockets, but they also have far and away the most laborious process.”
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 21, 10 12:49 PM
The left/right bickering on here shows why nothing gets accomplished in our sad government.
Why does it always have to be a foolish partisan argument that never address the subject of the article?
Get a clue people, both sides are in it for themselves, no fort any of you blind sheep following them.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 21, 10 2:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
FYI...The Army Corp of Engineers is the ONLY option to stem longshore drift (lateral drift) of sand on Long Island.
This is issue is vital to all of the East End. Our beaches drive so much of our economy and they MUST be protected while we still have them
Tim Bishop knows this and is fighting for our beaches, our economy, our way of life and OUR JOBS.
Thank you Tim Bishop for doing the right thing.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 22, 10 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Littoral Drift.... not lateral drift.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 22, 10 9:29 PM
Nature...Thank You.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 22, 10 11:34 PM
Bishop and his ilk have been telling us that the government is the only solution. I have news for you. There is no-thing...NOTHING at all the government can do more efficiently, with more expertise and with more knowledge that private citizens. No way, no how SH Native.
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 23, 10 11:05 AM
That may be true, but they control the money needed for such operations.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 23, 10 12:39 PM
Package-Utterly simplistic!
This is a longterm plan involving multiple municipalities from different levels of government. We need leadership from the Federal government in cooperation from the State of New York, Suffolk County, and every Township and Village on the south shore of Long Island. We now have a Congressman who sits on the sub-committee for the Army Corp of Engineers who believes in saving this important resource. Tim Bishop understands how vital our beaches are to our economy in ...more
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 23, 10 1:21 PM
aha! there it is...spoken differently and by obama it comes out as "its very complicated". spoken like a true elite. don't worry, it's not all that complicated. mother nature erodes coastlines, rich people build on coastlines, your friend needs rich people's money, your friend, in order to get rich people's money, will act like he can control the effect of the forces of nature. Funny that the whole freshman argument didn't matter when we elected a shady attorney from chicago with no experience ...more
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 23, 10 3:01 PM
And Tim Bishop understanding how important beaches are to our economy doesn't exactly make him a Rhodes Scholar...what the heck is that? It's nothing more than proof that he has been concious during his lifetime out here, you know as a provost.
By package4 (39), hampton bays on Aug 23, 10 3:04 PM
Bigfresh is right, we can't change what the ocean does in the long run, but there is some stuff that works short-term, and if Tim Bishop is working on that, why beat up on him? Unless of course you just want to beat up on him no matter what.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Aug 25, 10 12:18 PM
clam pie....yuck, anyway, In real life, you don't get points for a pricey photo op in which you had to inconvenience and waste the time of good citizens. There is nothing valiant or honorable about Tim Bishop and his years of trying...trying is sweet if you are at summer camp. But you nor anyone else on this site in this village nor on this planet can point to a single thing that Tim Bishop has done. Not one. He flaunted around with Mr. FX and was the big man at the fireworks party...but when ...more
By HW Jablome (21), southampton on Aug 27, 10 4:20 PM
Hey, didn't the Army Corp. of Engineers have responsibility for the New Orleans Levy's, West Hampton Dunes and any other failure of man made structures that resulted in significant damange and/or death?
By HW Jablome (21), southampton on Aug 27, 10 4:31 PM
The beaches will always be there, although the milion dollar homes won't. The erosion problem is due to the overbuilding right on top of the dunes. Let nature take its course and don't allow anyone to rebuild on the dunes. The beaches belong to everyone, not just those with mega money.
By Walt (288), Southampton on Aug 27, 10 9:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
The homes on the oceanfront are Multi-Million dollar homes. The erosion has nothing to do with the building on the barrier beach, get real Walt. How do those homes cause the storms which have caused the erosion?
No one is allowed to build on the dunes already, all new construction has considerable setbacks from the dunes.
The beaches do belong to everyone, except where they have been sold to private individuals. Such as the beach in front of the Atlantic Bathing Corporation in Southampton.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Aug 28, 10 6:53 PM
For the last few decades (at least) no one has been allowed to build forward or ontop of the primary dune. There is a law in Southampton Town and NYS that states you can't build within a certain # of feet from the crest of the duneline.

There is one notable exception to this: those two big ugly derlict houses just West of Tiana, where the primary dune was bulldozed to construct the houses (somehow the courts sided in their favor). A storm before construction was finished and promptly ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 9:45 AM
"The beaches do belong to everyone, except where they have been sold to private individuals. Such as the beach in front of the Atlantic Bathing Corporation in Southampton"

ICE, virtually all of the beaches in the Town of Southampton are privately owned (except for explicit public beaches of course). Every mansion you see owns the sand going down to the water. The Dongan Patent allows for the public to use this beach via an easement that the Trustees hold. In Southampton Town no one can ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 9:50 AM
You should read the document before citing it erroneously. The Dongan Patent coveyed no easements whatsoever, it was a land grant which gave the Undertaker's their new name Trustees as well as all unallotted land within the boundaries of the Town including the land under the bodies of water as they existed at the time.
In the case of the property which I pointed out, which is opposite Lake Agawam, that property was allotted to private ownership prior to the Patent being issued and because of ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Aug 30, 10 3:42 PM
Dongan Patent grants the right for the residents of the Town of Southampton to access all waterways, the ocean being one of them. Ipso Facto, it allows for the Trustees to obtain and hold the easement in the interest of the residents of SH Town.

And where is your proof that an easement does not apply in front of the Atlantic Beach Club? I'm sure a lot of land was in private possession before the patent, but it doesn't forbid the residents of the town from accessing the water.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 4:19 PM
If what you were saying is true, every vehicle that traverses this stretch would be tresspassing and there would be signs warning of such.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 4:20 PM
I haven't been there lately, but there used to be such signs. Residents of the town accessing the water from public access points is one thing, them crossing private property to do so, is totally different. As I said before you should read the Dogan Patent before citing it. It says none of what you have claimed it does. The beaches are for the most part owned by the Trustee's in "trust" for the people of the Town of Southampton. Your easement doesn't exist as no one needs an easement over their ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Aug 30, 10 8:48 PM
I know them both well. The Trustees have an easement over every single parcel in the Town of Southampton (villages included) between the foot of the primary dune and the mean high water mark. This easement is what allows people to drive from along the beach from Town Line Rd. to Cupsogue Beach.

The Dongan Patent provides legal access to the water for all residences, which enabled the creation of the easement the Trustees hold over the beach. As I previously stated, anyone can drive across ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 30, 10 9:37 PM
"As a former employee of the Southampton Town Trustees, I know what I am talking about"

That statement alone would lead me to believe that you don't know what you are talking about! The Trustees don't even fully understand their position and limitations. If you doubt this just look at their history of litigation and the number of times the lost due to trying to overstep their jurisdiction. They are currently playing with fire in the case against The Village Westhampton Beach Dunes.
I ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 2, 10 2:37 AM
Then prove me wrong and show me how the Trustees got an easement over every inch of ocean front from Town Line Rd. to Cupsogue Beach.

Yes, the Trustees have lost quite a few legal battles but there are other factors (like their Town Attorney who doesn't take them seriously and Judges who rarely have an adequeate understanding of environmental laws).

And furthermore, I dind't state that the Dongan Patent set the legal precedent. I said that the Dongan Patent allows for access to ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 2, 10 10:34 AM
Dude go read your comments, your saying you didn't say what is plainly written in the above comment.

"I'm not stating that the Dongan Patent says there is an easement, but it is the legal precedent that allowed the Trustees to create the easement"

You sir are twisting your own words.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 2, 10 5:22 PM
Back a few posts, HW Jablome says no one can name anything Tim Bishop has done. I think HW needs to get out of the shower or wherever he's been for the past couple of years. What's Tim Bishop done? Ask the veterans who now have better care, better hospitals and better treatment through his efforts. Ask the property owners who've been saved property tax increases because of the education funding he obtained. Ask the people who have jobs at construction projects he spearheaded. Tim Bishop supported ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1957), Quiogue on Aug 31, 10 11:35 AM
Turkey, weI don't take your word for it. If you can find 1 veteran anywhere on the planet that enjoys improved healthcare because of Tim Bishop, I will eat this article in the public square. In nothing but tighty whiteys. If you can find a single property owner who is feeling thankful beause of the efforts that Tim Bishop has had on her property taxes, I will drink Catena's coffee for 1 year. If you can find a single solitary citizen that has been helped by Congress not giving themselves a raise ...more
By progessivesrtoast (21), the springs on Aug 31, 10 1:55 PM
Oh, I forgot. You mentioned something about fish. Have you noticed the national debt, the unemployment rate, the trade deficit the immigration problem, the radical islamo fascists that are trying to eliminate you and your way of life, states that issue iou's instead of tax refunds, our negative national mood and the all out assault on working people? Frickin' fish? That's what you got?
By progessivesrtoast (21), the springs on Aug 31, 10 2:01 PM
Some people out here care about fish. Are you really from Springs? Doesn't sound like it, when you're dissing fish like that. As far as the rest of it goes, it's all in the public record, and you don't diminish it by trotting out a lot of old fraternity pranks that you'll do if it's true. It is true, but save us the dramatics.
By Turkey Bridge (1957), Quiogue on Aug 31, 10 3:39 PM
Turkey, let's try to be intellectually honest here, repeat after me "Yes sir, Mr. Progressivesaretoast, all I really have is some silly stuff about fish. I tried to support Tim Bishop but its not easy, all I know is that he's a liberal and I'm a liberal so I will support him." I love it.
By progessivesrtoast (21), the springs on Aug 31, 10 3:56 PM
Have you all, Bishop included, checked our GEOLOGY? Er are the terminal morain of a series of 4 glacial periods that have repeated on a 100,000 year glavial ice, 20,000 year interglacial /little ice. The seas rise and fall 350 feet, maybe more, every cycle. Right now, the sea level here on LI is pretty stagnant, Continental rebound just about matching the small rise in local sea level. As a result, things are silting in and eroding away. The habatit is failing as it is not being" renewed" by rising ...more
By Lost Tribe (66), East Hampton on Sep 1, 10 5:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Very astute Lost Tribe, and might I add, ;lasdkfj083j3;a3lkjfg-b b'IJHVA-BUU31290JM89187)^(*^%(&^VB08 gbiuh64+8694
By isthisguyserious? (15), hampton bays on Sep 1, 10 8:28 PM
Last time I checked, the "purest" sample of the Earth's atmosphere is on the southernmost continent, Antarctica, due to the circumpolar current.

The Central American isthmus is what removed current flow from the Pacific, to the Atlantic, when the South American connection was made about 3 million years ago. Significantly altered the planet's climate, too.

The CO2 levels in the monitored samples by the British, and others in Antarctica has increased at a steady rate since measurements ...more
Sep 2, 10 11:55 PM appended by Mr. Z
Of course, the pile will only be as deep as "business as usual" proceeds...
By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Sep 2, 10 11:55 PM
Almost forgot:

By Mr. Z (11551), North Sea on Sep 3, 10 12:04 AM
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