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November 06, 2013

Volunteers Boost Sandy-Ravaged Dunes


By Emily Toy

Although it was over a year ago, much of the Hamptons waterfront is still in recovery following Superstorm Sandy.

So with that in mind, last week about 45 volunteers from three organizations all gathered together to complete a re-vegetation of dunes at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.

About 30,000 seagrass plants were installed to help bolster dune structures behind, as well as to the east and west of the Tiana Beach pavilion. Seagrass was also planted at the rain garden at the south end of Lake Agawam in Southampton Village. The roots of the beach grass grow down into the sand, forming a web that anchors and reinforces the dune structures. The plants also trap windblown sediments, helping to keep the sand contained. Additionally, Southampton Town installed snow fencing along the beach to help stabilize and build up the dunes.

"Though we were fortunate in many ways on the East End, our shorelines took a battering during Hurricane Sandy and we're still grappling with the resulting damage and erosion," said Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who also serves as the town's liaison to the Parks and Recreation Department. "It's vital that we strengthen and nurture our protective dune systems, particularly along Dune Road, which serves as the barrier to our inland structures."

In conjunction with Southampton Town, the effort was spearheaded by Romi Sloan and Kym Smith, founders of the Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund. HHRF has mostly concentrated its efforts on helping hard-hit areas, such as the Rockaways.

"We decided because it was almost a year working outside of our area, we wanted to do something in the town where we live," Smith said.

HHRF partnered with NY Media, a Manhattan based organization comprised of individuals in the media industry who provide hands on hurricane relief services, according to a press release from town hall. Another participant in the effort was the Independent Group Home Living organization, which assisted in completing the project on October 28.

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