FIA in OB
By Jeanne Lieberman
Island Association held its summer meeting at the Community House in Ocean
Beach July 28th to discuss one of the largest Public Service Works
projects to take place on Long Island, concerning the economy the environment
and the planet.
Nager, of the Ocean Beach Association called the meeting to order saying “FIA
is the backbone of this island to protect this wonderful land we live in”.
Beach Mayor Joseph Loeffler added “This organization is about you…its a
tremendous organization and we are always happy to have them”.
Congresswoman Ginny Fields, NYS Assembly, Fire Island District, said she is
meeting with all Islip officials, Federal, State, City, Town and Village to come
together to make government work.
Stoddard, Fire Island Association. “We really do need a large amount of people
for support. Thanks to Tim Mooney of the Fire Island Taxis for making it easier
for members to attend”.
was Congressman Tim Bishop, now in his third term, whose district includes 1000
miles of coastline. His goals: first to “drive this project over the finish
line (after 44 years), to drive the consensus which will be difficult due to
the vast complexity of this multilayered project consisting of two federal
agencies on the Cabinet level, two state , a city, five towns, seventeen
villages” and so on. “The conclusion will not be all things to all – but
we are looking for the ‘sweetspot’ to find where opinions converge” He
continued “At the May meeting , the first time on Fire island, we laid out what
was needed from each other…. The issue is complicated by the forthcoming
election which will probably insert new people into the process.. The August
meeting in DC will begin to close in on the way to move forward, how to
implement the recommendations of one of the largest Public Service Works
projects to take place on Long Island concerning the economy the environment
and the planet”. He added he was “impressed with everyone involved”.
Vietri, Director of Policy & Planning, North Atlantic Div. USACE,
like it is!
the discussion was the firebrand, loved/hated, blunt Joseph Vietri who stated
the ACE was concerned with national economy and diminishing storm damage The
project was defined by Vietri thus: The alternatives
being considered range from Non Structural (house elevating, relocations) to
environmental restoration (salt marsh creation, endangered species habitat
creation) to of course Beach Fill. Current Beach Fill plans being evaluated
would build a Dune 15 high and over 200 feet of beach the length of Fire Island
with the exception of the large Federal tracts and the Wilderness Area. Other
plans include Breach Contingency Response, management measures and Sand
bypassing at the inlets.
with 3 departments: Environmental Protection, State Environmental Conservation,
and an end to the spending with its restoration of natural processes, letting nature take its
course. “It’s a challenge to find where intervention is needed. It’s OK for
some, not other parts of the 83 mile shoreline…whatever plan will not eliminate
risks. There are new flood maps, sea level continues to rise, there are multilayered
levels of protection. Its not about Fire Island its about Long Island and any
plan has to deal with 200 miles of coastline.As we continue to
develop there is degradation of shorelines which interferes with natural flow
of sediment. In a 30 – 50 year solution NECP will reduce financial
outlay, relocating people out of flood areas, elevating homes, etc…The Regional
and National level to take an increasing role shepherding the process through 2
months to focus.on getting the all the issues agreed on, to set aside
differences. The State and DEC want to reduce level of protection over time
with no more investment after 30 years.
admitted “Fire Island is a unique challenge” revealing that other parts of the
world have been solved while we continue to work on this.
your last chance, no other shore/storm protection project is being done in the
future. Man has left a huge imprint with marinas, homes, beach scraping (about
which he does not approve). We’ve directly altered the national environment now
we have to manage it. The day you see me buying a home out here is the day the
project is going through”, concluding with “we’ve all managed to remain friends
and that’s the biggest challenge”.
meeting continued with the Superintendent’s report by FINS Sean McGinnis,
Acting Supt FINS who wants to protect the environment and Chuck Bowman’s status
report on Community Beach Projects.
government by all regulations of every agency. Our job is to fit them all
together: beach enlargement/scraping/houses/driving conditions. Thanks to Sean
McGinnis and the FINS staff, Congressman Bishop, Sen. Schumer, Scully of the
will be a public hearing August 18th in Brookhaven”