Tuesday, April 10, 2012

East Hampton: The Sad Ruins of Georgica Beach

Before: Georgica Beach, 2010, facing west

After: Georgica Beach, April 2012

facing west

Eroded dunes (facing east)
UPDATE April 2015: The Army Corp and town have done a great job of restoring the beach to it's former glory. Yet, mother nature has a mind of her own. Erosion of the dunes continues with each storm. The beach, with the help of people will be fine, the mansions on the water, however, are fighting an uphill battle.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, in this case they are all sad. As you can see above, a beautiful picture of Georgica Beach before Tropical Storm Earl during the summer of 2010. Earl really set the groundwork for what has been a continual deterioration ever since. During Earl the tide reached the parking lot (as you can see from earlier A. Fine Blog post), and it looked like it was a one storm deal. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, nearly a year later, Hurricane Irene came ashore, barely a hurricane, and just to the West, but for Georgica Beach it was a devastating blow. The beach looked beat up and the dunes were being eroded, but in the time since, it seems, every high tide is etching away at what is left of the beach. Large jetties that haven't been visible in my lifetime now are. The shipwreck of the Brig Mars (1828) has been unearthed and juts as a hazard in the shallow water. Plain and simple, this is one big mess!At one point, a homeowner to the West of the parking lot tried to put up a fence with metal posts to claim the dune that was no longer there. That lead to various summonses and a trip to court. Yet, all it took was yet another high tide, and nature swiftly settled the debate. The post, the fence, washed away.

Where do we go from here? The town plans to rebuild the 30 feet of roadway that was washed away by the last storm, but what of the beach? I've heard more rumors than real information. "The beach will be open in time for the summer season", "the Army Corp of Engineers on the way" are just a couple of them. If you have real information, please do share. In the meantime, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you, another big storm and a couple of houses there are in serious peril, and the sea will claim even more of the beach. Hopefully the battle to save the beach will be waged and won. Clearly, mother nature has other plans.

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