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Councilman offers Reel Point update

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Spoils from the dredging have been used to help shore up the land that storms have eroded.

Highway Department workers have done some initial work on the northern most pile of sand at Reel Point, spreading sand along the spine and raising the elevation, according to Councilman Jim Colligan. The other pile of sand is to be moved to shore up areas long the spine of the spit of land that juts into Coecles Harbor.

Since dredging took place in the fall, there has been a moderate amount of scouring of the eastern shoreline and some sand has been moved southward to the southern point and into the channel, Mr. Colligan said.

The actual spit has moved about 35 feet south of the markers on the tip of Reel Point since the dredging, he said.

Shelter Island Town officials are awaiting word from the Army Corps of Engineers about that unit getting involved in the project that has three phases.

Phase 1 would  use 3-inch to 10-inch cobbles along the eastern shoreline, approximately 18 inches deep and 60- to 70-feet wide along the shoreline, Mr. Colligan said, describing that move as “critical to the overall project. It represents a major stabilization effort that would help diminish damage of storm wave action and would greatly slow the movement of sand from north to south into the channel.

Phase 2 would deal with shoring up the western side of Reel Point using sand to widen the site. The third phase of the process deals with the spine that would be elevated to about 15 feet, with use of beach grass and other vegetation to stabilize it against wind erosion.

Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. has estimated it would cost $4.1 million for the materials with some of the work handled by the town crew.

While the initial involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers had been geared to building a barrier the would break up wave action headed for Reel Point from Rhode Island shores, the need for money for earlier phases of the project have emerged.

Army Corps of Engineers representatives who visited the site a few months ago expressed interest in the project, but said then it could be two or more years before funds might be available.

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