City to fight erosion of dunes

With another winter approaching, city officials plan to build up protective structures along Plum Island’s Reservation Terrace to help stem erosion and flooding in the neighborhood.

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Last winter, a string of nor’easters brought high surf and astronomically high tides to Plum Island, and the Reservation Terrace neighborhood was hit with serious flooding and washover that eroded sand dunes and came dangerously close to residents’ homes.

The city responded in the spring by constructing a berm between the dunes and the road using sand dredged from the beach surrounding Captain’s Fishing Parties & Cruises, as well as some sand purchased by neighborhood residents. The berm runs along Reservation Terrace, between the road’s intersections with 63rd and 73rd streets, and includes a barrier made of large rocks and wooden poles to hold the sand in place.

But after sustaining more than half a year’s worth of weather, the berm is showing signs of wear and is starting to become less effective, according to Wayne Amaral, deputy director for the Department of Public Services.

To deal with the problem, the city is preparing to add an additional layer of concrete blocks to reinforce the berm and hold it in place.  Earlier this week, the City Council approved a transfer of $22,500 from the city’s legal settlements fund to pay for the project, and Amaral said work on the berm should start within “one or two months” from now — hopefully before any severe storms hit the island.

Amaral said the additional support will mirror the current height of the berm and will not make it significantly taller, but will make the berm a stronger barrier against floodwater during serious storms.

“This past winter we had water sitting out there days after the storms,” said Amaral. “Now water is going between the gaps between the blocks, and the poles are starting to give and rot away. I think this might help relieve some of that.”

Mayor Donna Holaday highlighted the dramatic changes that storms have brought to the Plum Island dunes over the years, creating a much flatter landscape that leaves seaside homes less protected. Read full article.