On Long Island, a Worthy Plan for Coastal Flooding

Sept. 12, 2014 by Steve Bellone in The New York Times

To the Editor:Re “A Beach Project Built on Sand,” by Robert S. Young (Op-Ed, Aug. 22) After Hurricane Sandy, the Army Corps of Engineers delineated the devastation on Long Island, saying “the dune and berm system along Fire Island is now depleted,” increasing “the potential for storm damage to shore and particularly back bay communities.”

As our first line of defense, it is important to bolster Fire Island, which hosts more than four million visitors a year and is home to New York’s only federally designated wilderness, with 17 communities of 4,500 houses nestled along its perimeter.

Mr. Young is among those who advocate abandoning the coast and allowing nature to take its course. Coastal engineers disagree with that approach. Suffolk public works officials on Wednesday won a waiver to speed up the hiring of surveyors to do as much as $2.8 million in advance map work needed to acquire damaged homes and rebuild dunes across Fire Island in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

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