An op-ed in the New York Times last week really hit home my thoughts on the post-Sandy recovery projects in the New York area especially in regards to the situation on Fire Island, a place that I hold dear. The plan in place now pumps millions of tons of sand and places it in locations along the beaches of Fire Island.
The piece correctly argues that this project is a massively expensive waste of money, time and sand. As the author says, “Natural reformation of the sand dunes will take longer, but nature is already repairing the island. Free of charge.”
This is in line with my long-standing opinion that the shifting of Fire Island is not a problem that needs to be fixed, rather it’s how we build on these ever-shifting barrier beaches that needs to be fixed.
The government however seems determined to spend millions of dollars in the effort to actively alter the environment so they can appear to be proactive. This is unfortunate for the environment and for taxpayers.
The author of the Times piece is Robert Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University (located in the heart of Appalachia). Their website has a lot of great information and descriptions of projects and research about shorelines on the East Coast.