Global warming, climate change, oceans rising, and increasing coastline erosion and inundation are all operating together to make it very risky to build or live on or near coastal shorelines throughout the world. At home on eastern Long Island, this dynamic and destructive situation has become more obvious as each year passes and the accumulating circumstances ramp up their impacts on our beachfront communities.
Recently, the Express News Group’s editorial board published an excellent editorial on this subject, titled “Sound The Retreat” [Opinion, December 11-12]. The editorial was spurred by the Southampton Town Trustees’ vote to grant permission to the Round Dune complex in East Quogue to fortify the shoreline in front of the buildings.
Realistically, this area has been an erosion hot spot for many years. It must be added that everyone in a position of authority has ignored this increasingly desperate situation and allowed it to reach a critical point.
Now, without any study or long-term plan, our politicians have authorized the placement of a geocube fortification along the shoreline, thereby setting a precedent for all future areas with similar conditions. As time goes by, there will be more and more like cases, due to the Global Big Four ramping up their effects.
Ostensibly, this wall is “temporary,” pending a more comprehensive solution in the future. But it is common knowledge that no judge would require removal of a structure that keeps the ocean from overwhelming the buildings behind it. This surely blunts the desire to come up with a better plan.
Meanwhile, the wall increases downdrift erosion in this area to a marked degree, endangering other structures and the shoreline. In addition, loss of beach and the hard structure will limit or eliminate “pass and repass” along the beach, which is the Trustees’ bound duty to uphold.
The editorial lays this all out in very clear terms. Its conclusion is that, across the board over the years, the only practical solution is to move buildings that are in jeopardy back out of this environmental war zone.
The editorial is 100 percent right!
Our beaches are our most valuable asset, along with healthy drinking water. Our politicians have to come out of hiding and address our needs. Granted, it is a very difficult set of problems. But now is the time to get started, as, during the coming decade, conditions are forecast by the scientific community to get markedly worse.
Mr. Havemeyer is a former Southampton Town Trustee — Ed.
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