The town is partnering with the Peconic Land Trust (PLT) to study methods of improving, or even saving, one of the Island’s most important waterways.
The Town Board agreed at its July 19 work session to spend $21,125 from the town’s waterways fund on an engineering study of Reel Point with the PLT kicking in an equal amount.
The sandy peninsula reaching down from Big Ram Island creates the opening of Coecles Harbor from Gardiners Bay. The narrow passageway between Reel Point and Sungic Point also protects the harbor from storm surges and especially high tides.
To keep the mouth of the harbor navigable, the passage has been dredged over the years with spotty results.
In November 2013, the mouth of the harbor was dredged with the spoils placed on Reel Point. But by February of this year, more than 30 percent of the dredged spoils had washed away, Councilman Jim Colligan said.
Instead of more dredging, the town has decided it’s necessary to put in motion a “long term fix that is environmentally friendly,” Mr. CollIgan said.
A bid to do an extensive study of the situation from Lockwood, Kessler & Bartlett, an engineering firm headquartered in Syosset, was accepted by the town, with the understanding that the $42,500 fee would be split between the town and the PLT.
Matt Swain, the South Fork stewardship manager of the PLT, told the board the study could begin as early as September and take three to four months to complete.
After the engineer’s report is submitted, a decision would be made to embark on one of three strategies, Mr. Swain said, either a “soft” approach to mitigate the situation, a “hardened” approach, or to do nothing.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. said there might be immediate effects of the study if problems are identified that the town can take on to fix “in house.”