Environmental impacts in creek not worth risking human life

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and his deputy in Town Hall, Jill Lewis, have been beating a steady drum since March on the importance of getting the virtually impassable Wading River Creek dredged as soon as possible.
Their perseverance is paying off, as state and federal officials appear poised to approve a rare July dredging project at the creek. Best of all, the town is paying only $12,500 toward the $100,000 project, with the state and federal governments picking up the rest. Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his staff played an important role in lobbying various governmental agencies to get this project online, according to the supervisor.
Getting these approvals was no easy feat, given the strict and highly debatable regulations confining the dredging of creeks and canals to the winter months in an effort to protect marine species that breed along the shoreline in the spring and summer.
But those restrictions can create dangerous problems for us.
Winter is just the time of year when dredging work is most likely to be undone by extreme weather conditions because relocated sand does not have a chance to harden before the storms roll through. In the case of Wading River Creek, December dredging projects often prove to be a waste of time and money as the riled waters of stormy winters reverse the work. Residents and authorities are left with the same safety and economic issues