After reading Kyle Campbell’s article on beach nourishment in Quogue, I thought it germane to contribute a longer term observational viewpoint. I reside in a beach house that my parents built in Quogue in 1937. Indeed it was from there that I was evacuated by my mother during the eye of the 1938 hurricane before the cottage next door was destroyed by the tidal wave.
Quogue is a very unique situation, along with East Quogue and Hampton Bays, being west of the Shinnecock Inlet. For 75 years our tax dollars, along with everyone else’s, have been keeping the Inlet open as well as repairing it, extending it and dredging it to effect that its jetties have diverted the East to West “littoral drift” sand flow that naturally should have accrued to our beaches had Nature been allowed to take its course. This sand has been diverted miles offshore, not to return to our protective barrier beach.
The Little Pike Inlet break of 1993, whereupon 124 houses were lost, tax revenues escrowed to the severe detriment of Westhampton Beach and a huge settlement with the U.S. government plus the formation of Westhampton Dunes stands as example to what a dangerous affair a breakthrough can be. Albeit the LP Inlet was before a bay, such an event in Quogue would invade the village with a torrential rush of water over flat land.
In the times of Mayors Harvey Cooley, Malcolm McLean and other old timers any break or weakening of the dunes was immediately repaired by the village.
Now restrictive State regulations have greatly reduced the scope of protective dune maintenance even as the inexorable reduction of both beach and dunes has eliminated the three great, high dunes, hundreds of feet in breadth, extant in years past, to one low vestigial dune in the Eastern sector of Quogue Village which was twice breached by hurricane Sandy last year.
That dune maintenance and enhancement should be out of hand rejected is irresponsible, in my opinion, especially since dredging would return to Quogue its share of the lost littoral drift diverted by the Shinnecock Inlet. We are not New Jersey but a unique regional situation severely influenced by a man maintained inlet which is necessary to the community as an ocean transit for sport and commerce.
Having been a surfer myself since 1965 and an ocean Hobiecatter I can attest that good breaks come and go with the seasonal and storm shaped meanderings of the near and far bars and that other breaks can always be found. Some of the best are due to jetties, groins and bar replenishments due to bay dredging. The notion that offshore dredging destroys bars for surfing is simply not the case.
The reality that the next hurricane or severe nor’easter could possibly destroy Quogue is not so outlandish with our Eastern dunes being the lowest and least effective in living memory.