On the morning of December 10, 2012, Congressman Tim Bishop
, Suffolk Country Legislator Jay Schneiderman
, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele
, and local Southampton officials, paid a visit to the Shinnecock Inlet Dredge to observe its progress.
The dredge will repair the areas around the inlet that were damaged by the recent Hurricane Sandy as well as Tropical Storm Irene. It is part of WOSI (West of Shinnecock Inlet), a federally funded U.S. Army Corps project dedicated to replenish the beaches and dunes of damaged areas between Fire Island and Montauk Point. WOSI plans to replace a total of 450,000 cubic yards of sand in these areas.
"Not only are we improving coastal storm risk reduction by placing much-needed sand in areas west of Shinnecock Inlet, but the sand we're using is being dredged from Shinnecock Inlet, which helps improve navigation as well," New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen said of the dredge's multiple benefits.
The recent destruction of dunes in areas surrounding the Shinnecock Inlet has had deleterious effects on Southampton fishermen as well as recreational boaters, as they are not able to safely navigate the financially invaluable Shinnecock Canal. The port at Shinnecock Inlet is home to New York's second-largest fishing fleet and also home to endangered species such as piping plovers. According to Senator Ken LaValle
, such projects as this allow barrier beaches to be restored to good condition, thus allowing for boats to pass through the canal and for such species' habitats to be restored.
"This dredging project is an example of government working at its best. We are fortunate to have representatives at the County, State, and Federal levels who understand the critical protection provided by the barrier island and the environmental significance of the Shinnecock Inlet and Port to the local economy," Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst
said of the project's impending success. "Together they have made every effort to ensure this rebuilding effort took place as quickly as possible."