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Letter: Fire Island protects the rest

Sediment overwash flows into the salt marsh in

Sediment overwash flows into the salt marsh in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness. (Nov. 10, 2012) Credit: National Park Service / Diane Abell

A critically important fact that was missing from the recent article on the impact of superstorm Sandy on the beaches and dunes of Fire Island was how the dune structure of the barrier island protects the low-lying areas along Long Island's South Shore ["Shifting LI shore," News, Aug. 28].

It's no surprise that where there were no man-made or maintained dunes, such as in Long Beach, the destructive forces of Sandy were greater and damaged more homes and businesses.

In fact, the economic justification for the U.S. Army Corps' emergency fill stabilization project is that man-made dunes absorb the power of the storm. The project will rebuild the dune structure on Fire Island all the way from Robert Moses State Park to Smith Point County Park.

Fire Island may be a wonderful place to live, work and visit, but first and foremost it is a barrier island that serves as the first line of protection against hurricanes and nor'easters. Let's be thankful when the island's sand dunes do their job and hold back the full fury of those storms.

Suzy Goldhirsch, Seaview

Editor's note: The writer is president of the Fire Island Association, which represents property and business owners.