Our beaches are a centerpiece of our community, but climate change, sea level rise, and increased erosion and flooding mean that an understanding of coastal dynamics is key to determining the future impact of policy decisions in areas such as beach protection and replenishment, or retreat from the coast.
At a Dec. 16 webinar, which can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/492204755, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, Aram Terchunian, an environmental engineer, and Laura Tooman, CCOM president and member of the town’s Coastal Assessment Resiliency Planning committee, discussed efforts to protect Montauk's beaches, including the upcoming federal Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) beach project and the short-term beach stabilization project in downtown Montauk, as well as the viability of a future managed retreat from the coast, through which East Hampton Town might acquire shorefront properties while granting development rights credits to business owners to redevelop inland.
The severe impacts of Superstorm Sandy on other areas of Long Island "refocused our community on the vulnerabilities of coastal living," said Supervisor Van Scoyoc at the event, setting "in motion a series of responses to deal with the issues that arose out of rather severe erosion, particularly in downtown Montauk."
"We've developed our coastlines, and are only now beginning to see the impacts of that," he said. The coastal development along our south shore that serves as an economic engine and supports our local tax base is at risk of catastrophic loss due to storms. A long-term plan to relocate businesses away from the shore would help assure their long-term survival, he said. "We need to figure out how to make that path forward so it is incentivized."