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"
By ROBERT S. YOUNG
AUG. 21, 2014