Win-Win in Holgate

Sep 12, 2018

The following was addressed to Jon Coen in response to his Liquid Lines column last week (“Let’s Talk About Groins and Decent Swell, Too”).


Regarding your comment “But the ‘you’re going to destroy a one-of-a kind, historic surf spot’ is a tough sell in the face of ‘save my house’” – I’ve spoken to very few people who see this as an either/or situation. Most believe barrier island homes and surfing should go hand in hand, along with fishing, cycling, sunbathing and barbecues. 

Right now, we have severe erosion that is in part the result of a flawed, man-made effort to build new dunes. And we have surf that is the result of the man-made effort that is the deteriorating old wooden jetty. So I’m hoping the question for most people comes down to what needs to be addressed first and how can the ultimate design preserve both the homes, beaches and the surf. 

With the proposed groin, we can’t be sure what will happen to the surf, for better or worse. But we have a pretty good idea what will happen to a few homes if we get a series of bad nor’easters, much less a hurricane (just look at what happened on Merivale about 10 years ago). 

I don’t think we should roll the dice on the weather as the consequences for LBI overall could be disastrous. However, I think it is fair that the government entities be open to modifications of the groin over the next couple of years if the surf is negatively impacted. For that matter, the groin may have to be modified if the design doesn’t work exactly as planned to preserve the beach. 

LBI is special to all of us. We should be able to work together for a win-win solution, accepting that this may have to happen in stages.

Rand Pearsall



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