VILLAGE OF MASTIC BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A federal judge has put a halt on construction of new dunes on Long Island’s south shore, in an attempt to protect an endangered species of birds.
But local homeowners say the “dunesday” scenario will mean more floodwaters.
“Behind me, all the dunes, all along here and all down that way, it used to be all built up,” Mastic Beach resident Anne Snyder said as she pointed out where the dune project is to take place.
As TV 10/55’s Richard Rose reported, Snyder is one of the angry residents now blasting the Audubon Society for blocking new dunes meant to replace those washed away on Fire Island by Superstorm Sandy two years ago.
A federal judge stopped the work set to begin because the society believes a tiny bird that nests along the shore, the piping plover, would be unable to get around the bigger dunes.
“I’m kind of hurt also that the government, the Audubon Society would put piping plovers ahead of human life,” Village of Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi said.
Biondi says without the dunes, storm waters now routinely overwash the barrier island, cross the Great South Bay and flood his village.
But the Audubon Society says the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers’ plan to build 15-foot dunes at Smith Point County Park and Robert Moses State Park would make it impossible for the tiny birds to get to their nests.
A spokeswoman added, “We believe a 4-foot dune would be appropriate, but we are happy to sit down and talk with anyone to expedite this.”
Local homeowners Bob and Judy Mitterando fear a long legal battle, saying they can’t afford to repair their Sandy-damaged home again.
“We don’t even need a hurricane any longer. All we need is a nor’easter. A full moon and a nor’easter is going to put us underwater again,” Bob said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says its higher dune plan was worked out with federal wildlife officials who oversee endangered species.
On October 8, a federal judge will begin deciding if the dunes and piping plovers can coexist.
You Might Also Be Interested In:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]