Southampton: South Shore Beach Nourishment Plans Are Working

Replenishing Southampton's ocean beaches in October, 2013
Replenishing Southampton’s ocean beaches in October, 2013

Southampton Town reported this week that, based on the town’s third annual monitoring update on the town’s beach replenishment project along the ocean shore, there is now more sand along the 6 mile stretch of beach from Flying Point Road in Water Mill to Town Line Road in Sagaponack than when the project began three years ago.

The town reported that more than 310,000 cubic yards of sand has accreted along that stretch of beach, after a survey conducted by the town’s engineers in July.

“The survey just conducted by our project team in July 2016 shows that the beach is now wider than originally constructed, the dunes have grown materially and the project has performed above everyone’s high expectations,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in a press release Aug. 25.

Between October 2013 and February 2014, more than 2.5 million cubic yards of sand were dredged from one mile offshore and placed along the oceanfront. The $25 million project was funded by oceanfront owners through special taxing districts, and the beach was widened by 150 feet.

The project was engineered by Coastal Science & Engineering of Columbia, South Carolina and directed by First Coastal of Westhampton Beach.

“Bridgehampton, Sagaponack and Water Mill have more sand in place this summer than the day pumping finished in February 2014. It is also clear from the success of our project that everyone benefits from wide beaches,” said Jeff Lignelli of the Bridgehampton-Water Mill Beach Erosion Control District Advisory Board.

First Coastal coastal geologist Aram Terchunian said this news means “the project is performing above expectations, increasing the value of the beach investment.”

“The wider summer beach will feed the dunes and provide better storm protection and the healthier beach will provide more habitats for threatened and endangered species, as well as people,” he added.

Tim Kana of Coastal Science and Engineering said that many factors affect performance.

“The project is performing well because it covers a relatively long segment of coast,” he said. “The sand quality was excellent. And the historical erosion rate along the Town of Southampton beaches has been moderate. Timing after Sandy helped but if the erosion control district had not nourished the beach, conditions today would likely be dramatically worse than before Sandy. Nature does not always give back all the sand lost in a big a storm, as some South Shore communities have discovered.”

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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