Beach nourishment is a practical measure to protect Quogue’s beaches threatened by years of erosion, much preferable to armoring the dunes. This was the expert testimony given to Quogue residents by a guest speaker at a packed meeting in the village hall on Saturday, August 17. Mayor Peter Sartorius was in attendance.
Dr. Robert Young, Ph.D in coastal geology and director of a Duke University program for the study of developed shorelines, spoke at the invitation of Concerned Citizens of Quogue (CCQ), a non-profit organization incorporated in 2013 dedicated to protecting Quogue’s 2.7 miles of ocean beach and dunes [objectives shared by the Save the Dunes and Beach Foundation (SDBF) founded in 2006].
The title of Dr Young’s lecture was “Alternatives for Protecting Our Dunes and Beaches” and he analyzed the impact of various approaches with images from many areas facing similar problems.
His conclusions may be summarized:
- Rising sea levels mean beach erosion is a fact of life.
- Hardened structures like retaining walls, jetties, revetments and geo-tubes are demonstrably harmful in narrowing the depth of a beach and clearly increase erosion at the margins.
- Beach nourishment should be a group process. Shoring of sole properties can create drastic impacts to neighbors, cause accelerated erosion and damage to dunes and beaches, and often leads to litigation pitting neighbor against neighbor.
- Relocating properties or raising them is a choice often ruled out by cost and practicality. Many communities have demonstrated that a well co-ordinated program to replenish lost sand preserves the considerable amenities of beaches without damage to the environments.
- But beach nourishment has to be carefully designed and, approved by qualified specialists. Dr. Young illustrated the point with photographs where sand brought to the beach from offshore dredging also contained tar balls and rock sediment. The community has to appoint monitors.
- Beach nourishment is not a one-off solution. It requires an on going commitment. Natural forces determine how often renewal will be required to maintain the benefits.
Dr. Young concluded: Quogue enjoys “very fine beaches” worth every effort to preserve. Click here to learn more about Dr. Young’s work.