Sunday, September 21, 2014

Smith's Inlet article in the October 2014 National Geographic Magazine

From: Martin VanLith
Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2014 9:08 PM
Subject: Smith's Inlet article in the October 2014 National Geographic Magazine



Monday, August 25, 2014

ABCO and the NY times Editorial

From: MaryAnn Johnston <mryjhnstn@aol.com>
Date: August 23, 2014 1:07:43 PM EDT
Subject: ABCO and the NY times Editorial

All, 

Subject: ABCO and the NY times Ediotrial
This past spring, ABCO [Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization, Inc.] submitted lengthy comments regarding our concerns with the superficial scientific analysis and basic  scientific soundness and prospects for success of the Fire Island to Moriches Inlet (FIMI) plan, as well as the flawed scientific basis used for the larger proposed FIMP (Fire Island to Montauk Point)  proposed plan. We clearly understood the all too obvious and compelling reasons for a  knee jerk decision based on the destruction and heartache heaped on the vulnerable Mainland communities of Mastic Beach and Lindenhurst.  More importantly, we had hoped that any solutions proposed to protect these areas would actually be focused on those mainland areas.  We sincerely hoped that the wealth of substantial science now available would be used to comprehensively study impacts and allocated funds would be spent to provide realistic protection measures geared and actually implemented  to protect those mainland communities. 

Unfortunately, those communities were little more than a mere excuse to
 once again recommend an over-the-top knee jerk response. Predictably, one that the Army Corps and politicians have repeatedly employed for decades, with little regard for either Fire Island or the Mainlands' safety.  We understood all too well the political concerns, but advocated strongly that the Army Corps not forego an exhaustive environmental analysis of all alternatives, and protect those most vulnerable areas with more than a plan to place sand on a beach that time after time and year after year just continues to wash away. 

We were  also deeply disturbed and expressed concerns that the recommendations of several other interested agencies were apparently strong-armed  and diluted their dire concerns and  were urged to endorse a project they had previously labeled as ineffective, destructive of flora and fauna, or had no reasonable expectation for any long term success.

We also understood then and now, that  purely political decisions are rarely if ever reached based on any sound science, and the flawed FIMI plan is no exception.  Our comments and concerns were developed over 18 months, and were based on solid science, research,and the belief that the decision to place sand along the barrier island between the Fire Island Lighthouse and Moriches Inlet (FIMI) would end up simply being another enormous waste of valuable resources, and would provide virtually no protection for the Mainland, but would actually create conditions that could place it in real peril.

We believe that the natural processes at work for centuries along our southern coast's barrier islands are still capable of restoring the dunes, if only the ACOE does not continue to deplete the ocean sand deposits necessary for that process through ill advised dredging.  We strongly urged that the breach at Old Inlet remain open to clean our bays, and that the dunes and beaches destroyed in our public recreation areas at Smith Point, Moriches Inlet and the Robert Moses State Park be protected by an expeditious rebuild of those dune areas for protection of the communities on newly vulnerable mainland areas.  However, we expressed our disbelief that the Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) line was re-drawn and tailored to skirt around homes in the Fire Island Pines.  Clearly, the best solution was to draw the line based on science, and remove all structures that fell south of the line lying vulnerable to Atlantic seas.  Once again a political decision and massive money influence prevented a solution geared to protect both the barrier island or the Mainland and simply catered  once again to those loud special interest voices.

Yesterdays' NY Times editorial (below) echoes our concerns and speaks to the question all of us should have asked before the plan was approved...Nonetheless we should all now be asking  again..."What and who are we really pretending to protect...and why"

MaryAnn Johnston

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/opinion/a-beach-project-built-on-sand.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore-iphone
 A Beach Project Built on Sand

By ROBERT S. YOUNG
AUG. 21, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Your tax money at work - Beach Project Built on Sand

New York Times

 

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

A Beach Project Built on Sand

Photo

Credit Rob Pybus

EARLIER this month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $207 million plan to dredge millions of tons of sand off the south shore of Long Island and spread it along the beaches and dunes. The Army Corps of Engineers, which will direct the federally financed project, says it will stabilize Fire Island and reduce the storm surge hazard for the mainland.

In fact, the project will do neither. It is a colossal waste of money and another consequence of the nation’s failure to develop a coherent plan to address the risks from storms faced by states along the eastern seaboard and gulf coast.

That failure was underscored in a report last month by the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which evaluated efforts by the Army Corps and other federal agencies to reduce those risks. The take-away from the National Research Council was alarming: There is no national plan to manage the coast. No plan for storm-damage reduction. No plan for how best to allocate federal funds. And no plan for how to respond to coastal hazards and rising sea levels over the long run.

This leaves governments reactive rather than proactive. Most money is provided only after a disaster occurs, and is to be used in the areas affected by that one storm. In some cases, government officials and politicians want to be seen doing something, anything, to protect valuable coastal properties. Unfortunately, science and reality have been ignored in the plan to rebuild storm-damaged beaches and dunes along 19 miles of Long Island’s South Shore, including Fire Island National Seashore.

Scientists from the United States Geological Survey have been studying the evolution of Fire Island for more than a decade. They have examined how the sediment moves, where it comes from, how the island’s shoreline changes and the way ocean waters move in front of and behind the island during storms. The results of these studies have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

In its evaluation of the Army Corps’ draft Fire Island plan, the Geological Survey pointed out that the project’s justification and benefits were seriously flawed. The project will not reduce storm surge or storm hazards for properties across from Fire Island on the mainland, even though a significant portion of the cost justification for rebuilding the beaches and dunes came from protecting private property and infrastructure on the mainland. Why else would you spend so much to pump all that sand on the island?

The Army Corps’ environmental assessment made a broad assumption that Fire Island had been “damaged” by Hurricane Sandy and required repair and stabilization. But significant work over the years by coastal scientists at the Geological Survey has laid out a very clear picture of the long-term evolution of the island. Fire Island is a barrier island that does not require this project to “stabilize” it. The island and the national seashore have been relatively stable since colonial times.

Significant post-storm recovery of the island’s beaches has already occurred since Sandy. Natural reformation of the sand dunes will take longer, but nature is already repairing the island. Free of charge.

Fire Island is blessed with significant near-shore sand that has maintained shoreline stability over the years. This is the very sand that the Corps plans to dredge to build artificial dunes. The impacts of changing the natural flow of this sediment to the beach are unknown, but surprises are possible.

 

Dredge-and-fill projects like this are not environmentally benign. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service warned that the plan, in the short term, would hurt fish and wildlife and their supporting ecosystems, and would have long-term consequences on habitat and the island itself.

Of particular concern to some scientists and environmentalists is the habitat for piping plovers. These birds are listed by the Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened nationally and endangered within the State of New York. Storms like Hurricane Sandy actually create fabulous habitat for these birds in the storm deposits that sweep across Fire Island. But the proposed dune building will interrupt the development of that habitat.

Fire Island National Seashore is a perfect example of a place where storm impacts should be viewed as a natural event. Storms are an important part of barrier island sustainability. The waters that wash over the island also pile sand on top of the barrier, adding to the overall elevation of the island itself. The Corps’ proposed dunes will block that process.

It is hard to understand why this project was allowed to move forward without a more detailed investigation in the form of an environmental impact statement. The Corps relied on old science or no science to build a case for the benefits. The scientific criticism provided by other agencies was overwhelming but went largely unaddressed. Instead, the Corps will bury a national seashore, a state park and a county park in sand under the illusion that some properties in low-lying areas on the mainland might gain a small bit of protection.

This is the new post-Sandy model. We now favor political expediency over science, and action over a thoughtful evaluation of its long-term consequences.

Robert S. Young is a professor of coastal geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on August 22, 2014, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: A Beach Project Built on Sand. ||



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pattersquash "The Duck Shack"

 

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/pattersquash-duck-hunters-plan-to-build-new-island-clubhouse-1.9073296

Pattersquash duck hunters plan to build new island clubhouse

Originally published: August 15, 2014 8:13 PM
Updated: August 15, 2014 9:35 PM
By JOAN GRALLA  joan.gralla@newsday.com

The Pattersquash Gunners Association is debating its future after the historic hunting group's clubhouse washed into Bellport Bay in the March nor'easter. (March 9, 2013) (Credit: Doug Kuntz)

The Pattersquash Gunners Association, which lost its historic Pelican Island clubhouse to a nor'easter in February 2013, hopes to start building a new cabin this fall, officials said.

"It's going to be a little bit smaller, but we want it to look exactly like it did before. . . . It's going to look like we picked it up and put it back exactly where it was," said Pattersquash president Frank Miller.

The replica of the duck hunters' 1920s-era clubhouse will be built on Quanch Island, a couple of miles west of the original location, he said.

The modest two-bedroom shack was swept off its pilings and washed into Bellport Bay by stormwaters that barreled through the Fire Island breach that superstorm Sandy carved in October 2012.

"The only trace of the club that's left on the island is the osprey nest" the duck hunters built, Miller said.

The club, with about 60 members, hopes to finish building the new shack next spring. This is the third time the group will rebuild its clubhouse.

"In the 1938 hurricane, it got washed away, but we got it back," said Dick Richardson, a former president, who was 14 when he joined in 1949. "There was a fire in 1983, and we rebuilt it then."

The new shack will cost about $40,000. The members raised that sum from donations and a fundraiser held Thursday night at the Bellport Country Club that drew more than 300 people, Miller said.

"It's quite obvious by the amount of support we had last night, people don't want to lose their heritage," he said.

Only residents of the Town of Brookhaven can join the club, and Brookhaven is leasing Quanch Island for the new cabin, said Edward P. Romaine, town supervisor.

Saluting the group's historic role, he said, "The cabin serves as a safe, warm haven during the winter hunting months."

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has reviewed the group's plans and requested minor modifications.

 

 

 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Newsday Article about Bobby Stirling's stolen bike

With more than 3 million people living on Long Island you would think that the only daily newspaper, Newsday, would be able to find better reporters. I've often read an article about a Town meeting that made me wonder if I was at the same meeting. 
 Below is a link to an article in Thursday’s Newsday (7/31/2014) about Bobby Stirling's bike being stolen. Nowhere in the article does it mention that Bobby is disabled. They also have the Post Morrow boatyard in Bellport instead of Brookhaven. And, under "Bellport Links," they have a picture of Sam Newey at his boatyard here in Brookhaven, NY. 
Note:  Newsday misspelled family surname.  It is Stirling, not Sterling.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oaklawn Cemetery Volunteer -- Grounds Keeper Bob Brown

Brookhaven hamlet is blessed with many volunteers.  A recent trip to the Oaklawn cemetery discovered 88 year old Bob Brown working quietly away.

 

 

William S Gerard grave monument (under repair by Bob Brown) Oaklawn Cemetery, Brookhaven, NY (18 July 2017)

Friday, July 4, 2014

LI Trash Piles Up - Considering Shipment by Rail

From: Richard Thomas
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 12:12 AM

Subject: LI Trash Piles Up - Considering Shipment by Rail

 

There was an article in this morning’s Newsday about a garbage transportation crisis on Long Island.

 

Omni Recycling of Babylon can’t find enough trucks to get the garbage off Long Island.

 

Why can’t they find enough trucks?  

 

Well, it’s because of the success of the Brookhaven Rail Terminal.

 

What to do?  What to do?

 

After puzzling over their problem for a while, they came up with a solution:

 

                Load the garbage onto railroad cars instead.

 

So they are proposing loading the garbage into railcars “at a rail spur for freight.”

 

Progressive Waste Solutions, which handles garbage from Southold and East Hampton Towns, says its transfer station in Yaphank is filled to capacity.

 

See attached.

 

Then there was this follow-up story this evening.  (See below.)

 

Another firm involved is Eastern Resources Recycling of 88 Old Dock Rd, Yaphank.  (That’s where a body of a 42-year-old Rocky Point man was found in the trash in August 2012, two days after his birthday.)

 

Although the DEC seems to be open to a plan to use railcars, there is disagreement regarding what location to use to load the garbage onto the cars.

 

(I guess it will have to be someone near the overflowing transfer stations, like the one in Yaphank.)

 

In choosing a site, they have to recognize that:

 

. . . the looming LIRR strike is a factor because it would effectively shut down all but the Brookhaven rail terminal, carters and rail sources say.

 

Even though this crisis developed just a couple of days before Independence Day – what unfortunate timing – and thus requires an immediate emergency decision, the DEC did not allow itself to be pressured into saying Brookhaven Rail can move the garbage.

 

Not today anyway.

 

It isn’t clear how they get the garbage to the transfer stations or propose to get it from the transfer stations to the railcars.

 

I’m pretty sure they are using trucks.

 

I guess you need a different kind of truck to get off Long Island than the kind of truck used to move the garbage from East Hampton to Yaphank.

 

If the truck can make it all the way from Southold to Yaphank, or all the way from East Hampton to  Yaphank, you would think the truck could go a bit farther, --- to New Jersey maybe. 

 

Then all that garbage wouldn’t be piling up on Long Island.  It would pile up in New Jersey instead.

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

newsday.com

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/no-pact-on-garbage-removal-plan-1.8660926

No pact on garbage removal plan

July 3, 2014 by SARAH CRICHTON / sarah.crichton@newsday.com

Brookhaven Rail Terminal located at 205 Sills Road

Efforts to resolve a garbage stockpile before the long weekend failed Thursday after agreement could not be reached on a site from which the trash could be loaded on to railcars to leave Long Island.

That standoff means the piles of trash will continue to grow. In the towns of Southold and East Hampton alone, more than 900 tons of garbage is likely to be generated for collection and transportation this weekend -- a peak tourist time, carting industry sources say.

As a proposed quick fix to take it off the Island using sealed railcars awaits emergency authorization from the state, the governor's office intervened Thursday, scheduling a conference call Monday morning involving all the parties -- representatives from the affected garbage collection and management firms, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and New York & Atlantic Railway, the Long Island rail freight franchisee.

New York & Atlantic has concerns over selection of an appropriate rail-truck depot site at which to load the garbage onto railcars.

Load-site options

Several sites are under consideration, sources said:

An MTA-owned Hicksville transfer station in Nassau that could take 10 railcars' worth of garbage a day off the Island, but requires all the waste to be trucked to Nassau.

A passing track adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road commuter train station in Yaphank where New York & Atlantic could provide at least a dozen cars a day.

A privately owned rail spur in Medford, but sources said negotiations had yet to begin with that land owner.

The privately owned Brookhaven Rail Terminal site at Sills Road in Yaphank.

This last option -- a facility that provides distance from the main LIRR track and is in an industrial area away from residences -- is under a cloud after allegations by the Town of Brookhaven that its operators are illegally mining sand from an adjacent property on to which they hope to expand their facility.

Eric Jakubowski, chief commercial officer at Anacostia Rail Holdings, New York & Atlantic's parent company, demurred when asked to name which site his firm deemed most appropriate yesterday.

"The New York & Atlantic Railway has only recently become involved and we're working with a number of partners to try to clarify the best options," he said by phone from Chicago.

"A specific loading site has to be confirmed and that may wind up being a privately-owned site if it's shown that's the best site to handle the volume expeditiously," he said.

While the garbage companies say a private site would cost more to remove the backlog, time is of the essence because it's estimated it could take a month to clear the current stockpile. In addition, the looming LIRR strike is a factor because it would effectively shut down all but the Brookhaven rail terminal, carters and rail sources say.

The garbage -- estimated at between 10,000 to 12,000 tons as of Thursday -- is stockpiling at town transfer stations on the East End and at several collection and transfer facilities in Suffolk, including two owned and operated by Progressive Waste Solutions, a publicly-owned Canadian company.

A spokesman for Progressive on Long Island, said he was hopeful of a breakthrough next week, but declined further comment.

Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the state DEC -- which regulates garbage -- said in an emailed statement: "DEC is actively working to help find a solution to the backlog of waste on eastern Long Island."

Michael White, attorney for Omni Recycling of Babylon, which is coordinating the effort on behalf of the affected garbage management firms, was disappointed at the failure to reach a decision Thursday. "This is an unfortunate delay, coming as it is over a peak garbage-generating weekend on the East End, but I'm optimistic an agreement can be reached," he said.

Who's responsible?

State environmental law and regulations hold the generator of solid waste responsible for its proper disposal. But if the waste en route passes into ownership of a permitted interim facility, those facilities assume the legal responsibility. That puts the onus in this crisis on Progressive and Omni, as well as Yaphank-based Eastern Resource, also a transfer station operator on the East End.

The three firms had until recently used a network of flatbed-trucking companies to haul their baled garbage off the Island. Representatives of both Progressive and Omni said Thursday they continued to work to make use of available trucking firms, but a dearth of flatbeds -- caused in large part by the success of the BRT operation in Yaphank -- meant there remained insufficient long-haul trucks available on Long Island to clear the mounting garbage backlog.

Toll increases on metro-area bridges have increased the price of road freight to the Island dramatically in recent years -- and owing to the damage they make to roads, trucks crossing onto the Island are limited to 80,000 pounds of weight unless they get special dispensation from the state transportation department.

A U.S. Department of Transportation matrix estimates one railcar can move roughly the equivalent amount of freight as four 18-wheelers.