Need An Outside Look - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1280739

Need An Outside Look

Need An Outside LookThe latest hearing in Quogue [“Quogue Holds Final Public Hearing On Erosion Control Taxing District On Saturday,” 27east.com, May 29] makes clear there is a need for a truly independent assessment of the alternatives proposed for managing the Quogue beach.

The article references the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s award to the Sagaponack/Bridgehampton project (actually, it was one of four Best Restored Beaches in 2018) but fails to mention that the award depends on information submitted by the project participants, two of which—Coastal Science and Engineering and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock—are corporate members of ASBPA.

Although the award is evaluated by an independent panel, the review is based on the self-submitted information. In this case, the numbers quoted as being from the ASBPA—zero loss of the 2.5 million cubic yards of sand—were, in fact, measured by the project managers, First Coastal and CSE, using a monitoring program that includes the use of proprietary software developed by CSE.

In short, there has not been an independent study of the Sagaponack/Bridgehampton project, only a self-evaluation by the contractors.

Sophisticated, widely available computer models, such as S-Beach, do exist, which can model the beach in Quogue and determine what effects a nourishment project (or other measures, such as the bypass project) would have on the entire village beach, and also the effects from the dredging in the offshore borrow area. In fact, such studies were done for the Sagaponack/Bridgehampton project and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Fire Island to Montauk project. They are required by law in certain states where beach nourishment is widespread, including North Carolina.

It would help the trustees and residents of Quogue to make an informed decision if such a simulation were run by independent experts from academic institutions such as Stony Brook or the Stevens Institute of Technology. The creation of the erosion control district will cede important village powers to manage the beach to a small group of its residents.

No matter what their position on the various alternatives, I would hope that all residents would agree that before turning over management of a significant portion of the Quogue beach to a private entity, a truly independent assessment must be completed.

William HorakQuogue

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