The village of Port Jefferson has been waiting to do renovations on for more than two years, since successive storms caused havoc to the area.
The on a beach that had been eroding sand into Mt. Sinai harbor for years. Then Hurricane Irene blew through last fall .
Village trustee Lee Rosner has been spearheading the project to restore the beach for some time now.
An avid swimmer, Rosner said that the damage to Port Jefferson beaches is evidenced by where the sand has been deposited in the Sound.
“If you want to find where some of the sand might have gone, try swimming as I do from to East Beach,” he said in an interview last year. “There are places now even fifty feet out where it is too shallow and sandy to swim.”
In addition to storms, the Mt. Sinai jetties, which according to Rosner were built a hundred years ago, have been eroding for decades and sand from the Port Jefferson beaches washes away into the neighboring harbor and to Cedar Beach.
At a recent village board meeting Rosner said that getting the jetties repaired has been a difficult task as Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County haven’t had the resources needed to even start planning a project.
“We were meeting with the town and county on regular basis,” he said. “We’re all partners. The Town is the lead agency. They own the jetty.”
Sand continues to fill in from Port Jefferson beaches into Mt. Sinai harbor.
Rosner said a project to dredge the harbor and bring sand back to Port Jefferson beaches would be costly and neither municipality has the money right now to do it. In an earlier interview about storm damage he said that dredging has been tried in the past.
“In 2006, there was a dredging done of Mt Sinai harbor inlet and Cedar Beach and sand was moved to re-nourish the Port Jefferson beach,” said Rosner.
Storms have shifted much of the sand back to Cedar Beach and into Mt. Sinai harbor.
As of now, the village is waiting to repair its own beaches but it still needs NYS Department of Conservation permits to come through before work can be done. Rosner estimated that the approvals could come in within the next two weeks but there’s still one piece of the puzzle remaining.
“The wild card is really the Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.
The Army Corps of Engineers has put the project out to bid for the village and Rosner expects they will get something back in about a month.
“Contruction itself is not that long,” he said.
Work is expected to take between four to six weeks to complete.
As for beach erosion shifting more sand into Mt. Sinai in the east, Rosner and Mayor Margot Garant say the village has addressed the issue.
“There are some things we can do to stabilize the beach behind the jetty,” Rosner said about preventing more sand loss.
In the meantime, they will work on restoring East Beach for village residents to enjoy. Hopefully in time for the summer season.
“The jetty part will have to follow,” Garant said.