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Jun 2, 2012 9:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Inlet Will Be Dredged This Winter

Jun 6, 2012 10:21 AM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge the channel of Shinnecock Inlet this coming winter and use the sand to re-nourish the beach just west of the inlet, where severe erosion during Hurricane Irene last summer weakened the protective barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and Dune Road businesses and the commercial fishing port there.

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s office announced on Friday that $5.1 million in federal funds has been appropriated for the project, enough to cover the entire cost. Bids will be sought from dredging companies this fall. The project will take approximately two to three weeks to complete once a dredge arrives in the area.

About 128,000 tons of sand will be removed from the navigation channel leading from the inlet fairway through the outer sandbar offshore of the inlet mouth. The sand will be pumped through hydraulic pipes to the beaches west of the inlet jetty, where erosion has scoured away sand and decimated once broad protective dunes.

“This is really fantastic news,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said. “In times like these, when federal monies are so limited, the ability to prevail in securing this level of funding is a testament to the good work of our congressman.”

The stretch of beach west of the inlet has long suffered from a narrow beach, an effect of the inlet jetties interrupting the natural westward flow of sand along the beaches. The Army Corps and Southampton Town have intermittently trucked in sand to bolster the dunes that separate the ocean from the small collection of Dune Road businesses that sits on the bay shore. But erosion during Hurricane Irene heightened the ever-present danger posed by severe storms. The storm caused exaggerated erosion to the dunes immediately west of the inlet, where several restaurants and the town’s main commercial fishing dock are located.

“The beach west of Shinnecock Inlet has become dangerously eroded, and securing this funding for a dredge of the inlet will protect the marine infrastructure and restaurants in the area and the more than 500 jobs they support,” Mr. Bishop said in a statement accompanying the announcement that the funding had been secured. “At the same time, it will ensure continued safe access to New York’s second-busiest fishing port.”

The inlet channel was last dredged in early 2010. The sand from that project was pumped onto Tiana Beach and its neighboring beaches, a mile and a half west of the inlet.

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Thank You Congressman Bishop!
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jun 2, 12 10:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
I can understand the State of New York paying for the dredging of the inlet because" We the People" of NY have a voice, but to use Federal dollars is irresponsible being that the US Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, is predicting a federal government budget deficit of around 1.1 trillion US dollars for fiscal year 2012. The 5.1 trillion dollars that Bishop got is just adding insult to injury. The taxpayer will not forget come election time Mr. Bishop. Federal spending is out of control. Wake ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Jun 3, 12 12:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Shinnecock Inlet is the gateway to a port engaged in interstate commerce; boats from the entire east coast use the inlet to get to fish packing facilities and to fuel and provision their boats. Anything that can be done to continue and grow this interstate commerce is indeed a federal matter.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jun 3, 12 11:38 PM
Some people just complain for the sake of complaining.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jun 4, 12 12:50 PM
Johnny Nova, thank your for your concerns.

Please recognize, also, that if projects like the dredging of the Inlet are not financed, that commerce will suffer, and the deficit may get worse due to this, and diminishing tax revenues.

Federal spending is indeed out of control, but to allow the Inlet to clog up, and cause sinkings and deaths, may not be the best solution?

PS -- This issue is larger than the current election debate IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 4, 12 6:14 PM
Fish packing facilities? Where? I thought they shut down 100 years ago.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Jun 5, 12 1:20 AM
The Shinnecock inlet has been a federal waterway since at least 1960 when . It is part of the intercoastal. Why shouldnt the Feds pay for some of the dredging?
By prometheus (13), HB on Jun 3, 12 9:29 PM
prometheus, apparently the federal government is sharing the cost of this dredging, according to the article and other sources.

Speaking of the Intercoastal Waterway, does everyone know where the buoy lighting ("Red right, returning to port") changes between Key West, Florida, and Boston, Massachusetts?

Yup, at the Shinnecock Canal!

Speak about "returning to port," the Shinnecock Canal is "home" all the way from Florida to Massachusetts.

Check out your charts.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 4, 12 6:04 PM
i think you need new charts, you're way off
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 5, 12 6:12 AM
Now if the people at the NYS DEC would come up with some reasonable regulations that allow the Hampton Bays Commercial Fishing Fleet to catch some fish we may be able to create some jobs and take advantage of the safer inlet. Today's regulations don't allow these hard working men to make a living, pay off the investment on their boats and catch the fish that are near our shores. Out of state boats come here to catch fish then return to their home ports to land the fish because their home ports don't ...more
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Jun 4, 12 12:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Kudos to Congressman Bishop!!!!!!!!
By Summer Resident (251), Manhattan on Jun 9, 12 2:22 AM
Athough Dredging is great and Im happy that these fishermans livelyhoods are finally being attended to...
This is politics at its most dispicible. Montauk Inlet - the largest commercial inlet in the State of NY- Where are you Mr. Bishop. You had no problem letting our inlet shoal up. Out of site out of mind.
By Old School Montaukette (10), Montauk on Oct 3, 12 3:40 PM
1 member liked this comment