Using Hurricane Sandy Emergency Funds To Close Fire Island Breach Says LI Conservation Group

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Upcoming Vote to Artificially Close Breach at the Old Inlet Would Prevent The Bay From Cleaning Itself, says members of Save the Great South Bay

“Why are we undoing the one thing that Sandy did that is actually helping the environment –the breach at the Old Inlet – despite all the science?"

Save The Great South Bay, a Long Island advocacy group composed of marine biologists, fishermen, baymen, boaters, restaurant owners, and local citizens, have been campaigning to prevent the closure of a breach at the Old Inlet. The breach, created by Sandy, according to data collected by The Nature Conservancy, Stony Brook University, and independent marine biologists, has shown that the reopening of the Old Inlet is flushing the bay, bringing in clean water, fish, and other marine life.

In the next several days, The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Conservation, Joseph Martens, will decide whether or not to close the breach of the Old Inlet. Senator Schumer is on record, since November 19th, that the breach should be closed. While this is but a small line item in the number of projects The Army Corps of Engineers will be taking on in the $4.5 bil allotted to rebuild the shorelines, they seem inclined to fill the breach as well.

“Why are we undoing the one thing that Sandy did that is actually helping the environment –the breach at the Old Inlet – despite all the science, while no one is paying attention to situations like Bay Park, where many millions of gallons of semi treated sewage is killing everything, and will be for a long time? What are our priorities? We can save The Great South Bay and other waters. But we need a sustainability plan. We owe it to future generations to fix the bay.”

Stuart F. Gruskin, New York State Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer The Nature Conservancy, is one of the many experts Save the Great South Bay sites to makes its case. In a January 18th letter to The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, he writes,

“At a standing room only public meeting on December 1, there was overwhelming public opposition to the artificial closure of the breach. The general public, and many different constituencies, recognize that in this case nature has provided us with an important benefit, and there are compelling reasons to take advantage of that.”

The full letter, with detailed information about the breach at the Old Inlet, can be found on the group’s Facebook group, accessible through or by searching for "Save the Great South Bay" on Facebook. There are many other research documents here as well.

Those wishing to join the Save the Great South Bay group are encouraged to go to The breach and getting the NYS Department of Conservation to make the right decision is issue one, but revitalizing the bay will take a lot of collective effort over a long time.

About “Save the Great South Bay”

Save the Great South Bay is a group of concerned citizens who grew up by the bay, live by the bay, clammed, fished and swam in its waters, took a ferry or a clam boat across to Fire Island, sailed or boated on it. The group was formed to save The Great South Bay of Long Island from further neglect -- seepage from septic tanks, lawn fertilizer, and road run off – while simultaneously reintroducing clams, oysters, fish. and healthy marine habitats.    We believe that a clean bay is good for the economy and is our legacy for future generations. Learn more about its efforts at

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Marshall Brown
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