Any recent visitor to Clam Island County Park in Noyac has been beset by the arrival of about 1,000 feet of dense, black sand, dredged from the adjacent inlet and deposited upon the beach.
Clam Island has by no means been a picturesque beach in recent years; hours and hours of frequent beach driving turned it into a compacted strip of road, serving bored skeet shooters and fishermen alike, as they trudge themselves down toward Jessups Neck to pollute and take advantage of the nearby Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge.
The sudden arrival of the sand at Clam Island is suspect and has been poorly announced to the residents of the neighborhood that provides access to it. On the other hand, it seems that the residents of the other neighborhood, the one that had its lovely little inlet dredged to ensure navigability, are now benefiting twice, by bolstering an otherwise low-lying section of beach that would have allowed high tides to flow in as they wished.
If the goal is to prevent the flooding of the inlet and the adjacent waterfront homes, I’m afraid placing dredged sand along the shore is far from a solution. The inlet, after all, has a fast-flowing entrance just 500 feet away.
Other than that, the strip of land is called Clam Island for a reason. Applying dredged sand is yet another example of a half-assed and money-wasting attempt to prevent the inevitable. A worker with First Coastal, the ubiquitous firm overseeing the project, claimed the dredged material would surely freeze and remain faithfully frozen throughout the year once common beach sand was placed on top. As permafrost in the Arctic is melting the world over, this claim is hard to believe.
But what’s secondary to the wasteful beach buildup (I dare not say replenishment) is that this newly built isthmus will gift a mindset of entitlement to those who continuously abuse a beach that shouldn’t even be accessible to recreation in the first place. Access to Clam Island, once dictated by the occasional high tide, will be made wholesale, and the quality of a supposedly natural place will degrade even further.
East Enders should not rely on the Department of Environmental Conservation to select which course of action is best for our natural places; its track record is far too shameful for the open spaces we still retain (their inability to protect Eastern tiger salamanders at the Atlantic Golf Club is one example). Nor should we allow the mindless throes of a couple of dozen homeowners to continually dictate the healthiness of a county park, not to mention a national wildlife sanctuary that sits right next door.
But as with anything out here: too late.
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One fine body…