Port Jefferson Beach Restoration

While our pristine beaches along the Gulf Coast are being ruined by toxic crude oil spills, our coastlines along the shores of Long Island are being eroded by storm surges and improper planning. Sadly, due to significant storm damage to the beaches in Port Jefferson this past years, it appears that the East Beach may only be open for limited public bathing or closed all together for the summer season, couldn’t be worse timing! It angers me that the state of our local beaches has gotten to this stage. One of the main reasons why I moved back to Long Island and Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson was for the beaches. For the past few years, the focus has been on the development of the Port Jefferson Harborfront Park, which was desperately needed, but during that time East and West Beach were unfortunately neglected and fell into the state that they are in today. Mother Nature will always do her thing, and as a coastal community, we need to accept that and work with nature instead of against it. Thankfully our local representatives are working on a beach remediation project to shore up our coastline and protect us from future beach erosion. This large-scale restoration project will involve parking lot reconstruction, removal and relocation of beach access points, removal of submerged hazardous debris and dredging.

Hopefully this project will be well planned out, designed and executed to last another 40 years and not just a quick fix. It should be done in a more natural eco-friendly way to work with nature and not just a matter of dumping blocks of cement in the water. I’d like to see the Village and its residents approach this project as a ‘Coastal Restoration’ instead of just a parking lot on the beach. It would be nice to see the landscape, facilities and amenities at the beach have a more natural aesthetic appeal that would enhance our historic Seaport Village by hiring the same architectural design firm, Quennell Rothschild & Partners and lead designer Beth Franz that helped developed the Port Jefferson Harborfront Park.

Since dredging is in the plans, restoring the dunes with natural beach grass is critical. While doing some research, I came across Geotextile Tubes which are weather resistant large, sand filled fabric bags of lengths up to several hundred feet used to create a number of shoreline protection structures such as dune cores, groins, jetties, breakwaters, and coastal barriers as well as providing a means of dewatering and containing dredge materials.

The beaches and wetlands are our crowning jewels and act as our protective barriers from storm surges. We need to respect them and take better care of our precious coastlines before they are gone forever.

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