Get Inlet Dredged

Oct 04, 2017

To the Editor:

Somewhere along the line I’ve lost track of what I thought were finalized plans to dredge the inlet at the southern end of the Island. At some stage I thought that the Army Corps of Engineers had approved the project and contracts would be going out to bid.

If my memory serves me correctly, a plan was in place to dredge sand from the inlet to allow safe ocean access for fishermen and recreational boaters. Another benefit of the plan was that sand would be used to shore up southern beach areas where erosion from recent storms has restricted beach access, and created a dangerous situation for some houses.

Recent storms (i.e. Jose, Irma) have made it clear that another problem may also be a result of sand buildup closing up the inlet. We’ve all noted the Boulevard flooding from the bay during the latest storms, and it’s been thought that receding bay tides are blocked by the major buildup of sand in the inlet.

I could be wrong, but my recollection of the current project status is that it’s been shelved due to environmental concerns regarding the bird sanctuary in the area just south of the Holgate parking lot.

If that’s true, it should be understood that most of us on the Island are sympathetic to protecting all wildlife in the region. However, compromises can and should be made by both the environmentalists and those concerned that the southern end of the Island could eventually be washed away (including the bird sanctuary) if the dredging project doesn’t get underway soon.

As I’ve said, I may be misinformed, and maybe the project is, in fact, still a go. However, if it has stalled, we need our political leaders to bring the necessary parties together and set a firm date to get things going before much of the Island (including birds) is washed away or seriously flooded.

Jim Eller


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