That’s roughly the distance from the edge of an eroded dune in Gilgo State Park to the eastbound lane of Ocean Parkway. That’s the same lane that had sections destroyed by superstorm Sandy in 2012. And the same lane that was threatened a year later, when a nor’easter washed away post-Sandy repairs and brought the Atlantic Ocean within 15 feet of the vital barrier beach roadway.
Now, as on those two previous occasions, the proposed solution calls for dredging the clogged Fire Island Inlet and putting that sand on the beach at Gilgo. It will cost millions of dollars, as it did then. It will work now, as it did then. And it will wash away, too, more evidence of our region’s shortsighted thinking that keeps bringing long-term costs.
But the sand will last longer if officials finally deal with a major cause of the erosion in that part at Gilgo — the remnants of an old Coast Guard station just to the east. Huge chunks of asphalt and concrete, old bulkheading and the remaining parts of the foundation act like a groin, stopping the natural westward flow of sand. It’s the problem all over Long Island — hard structures, old and new, impeding nature’s way of replenishing our coastal defenses.
The station must be removed. The staff of Sen. Phil Boyle, whose district includes the park, is trying to determine which agency is reponsible for the property, which the feds gave to the state in the 1930s. The state needs to finish the demolition and remove the debris. That will extend the life of the latest repair — and hopefully buy time for some serious and enlightened discussion about the long-term protection of Ocean Parkway.