August 02, 2006
Bishop, Town Fight Erosion
Homes in danger of falling into the water. Gas lines threatened. A major road at risk.
Those were the conditions that Congressman Tim Bishop viewed recently when he took a trip to Southold to witness devastating erosion that is threatening area residents.
After touring the area, Bishop pledged his support to finding answers.
To that end, Bishop sent a letter to the United States Army Corp. of Engineers, asking for federal assistance in the effort to protect private and public property located along County Road 39 in Southold, where the erosion is most severe.
"Having seen this situation firsthand, I am convinced that we need urgent assistance," Bishop said. "This is not simply a matter of a few homes. Gas lines, water mains, and a major road are threatened. We need all levels of government to pull together, which is why I commend our local officials for staying on top of this situation."
To that end, the Southold Town Board passed a resolution on July 11 asking all parties of authority including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation "to come in and do a study, to give us our options on corrective measures," said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell. The supervisor said the town also plans to ask the New York State Department of Transportation to weigh in. "They have what we consider vulnerable assets there – namely, the state road," said Russell.
Damage to the area has been sparked by winter storms that have devastated the shoreline of Hashamomuck Cove. Waves have begun to crash into gas lines near County Road 48, said Bishop, presenting a threat to residents, who also live in fear of their homes falling into the water.
"Following years of constant hammering by winter storms, the small strip of land between Hashamomuck and County Road 48 is disappearing at an alarming rate and threatening residents living along the water as well as access to the east end of Long Island," wrote Bishop. "These are homes that are imperiled. The country experienced its most active hurricane season in history last year, and with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists predicting another intense storm season, it is imperative that we prepare coastal communities such as Long Island with the tools to deal with impending weather disturbances."
Bishop said he was shocked at the level of erosion: "I wasn't aware of the problem until I went out there. It's amazing," he said.
Russell plans to meet with representatives of the state this week to further address the issue.
Bishop and the supervisor have been joined in their efforts by County Legislator Ed Romaine. "Hopefully, we can bring together several levels of government to solve this problem," said Bishop.