Goldsmith Inlet, which empties into the Long Island Sound just north of Peconic, is considered by its neighbors to be one of the most beautiful spots on the North Fork. But it has been plagued by high bacteria levels for years, due to poor tidal flushing and to the high density of housing and aging cesspools surrounding the inlet, and the freshwater Autumn Pond to the west, which drains into the inlet through a culvert.
This Saturday, a consortium of environmental groups is holding its second annual community forum, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Peconic Community Center on Peconic Lane in Peconic, to update the public on what can be done to protect Goldsmith Inlet in the upcoming year.
The constantly changing dynamics of the entrance to the channel have added to the complexity of issues there. It has been dredged on an emergency basis for more than half a decade until, in the winter of 2012, it was dredged more deeply and narrowly than usual in the hopes of helping keep the inlet open through the year. This helped lead to extensive erosion that made it necessary this year for Southold Town to build a rock wall to shore up Mill Lane, which runs along the west side of the inlet.
Though advocates for the inlet’s health have in the past blamed a single rock jetty on the west side of the inlet for the annual clogging of sand, homeowners to the west have refused to consider removing the jetty, which also helps keep sand trapped in front of their waterfront homes.
Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet, which has been working to protect the health of the inlet, is not taking a stand on the contentious jetty issue, but has instead focused on improving water quality within the inlet. The group helped get the county’s attention and funding, which last year allowed Cornell Cooperative Extension and Southold Town to launch a joint Suffolk County-funded study to try to determine the tidal flow at different points within the channel, and begin DNA testing of the coliform bacteria in the pond and the inlet.
When completed, that study will help augment a management plan for the inlet adopted by Southold Town in 2009.
At this Saturday’s meeting, members of Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet, Group for the East End, Southold Town and Cornell Cooperative Extension will answer the public’s questions on how they can help save Goldsmith Inlet.
For more information on the meeting, call Allen Kraus at 917-626-6802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.