Here on Long Island, our precious coastline is a big part of our pride and recreation, weather it’s the scenic beauty of the North Shore bluffs or the pristine sand coast of the South Shore beaches and bays. We’ve got it all. However, our shores are constantly under attack with Nor’easters, hurricanes, tidal surges or even bad wind storms. During these storms, immense power rips away at the bluffs, sand dunes and beaches, compromising our land and homes.
Beach restoration has been a hot topic for many of our communities close to the water. I will address two properties, one on the North Fork and one on a South Shore Bay. Both had been battered with hurricane Sandy, with pre and post Nor’easters.
NORTH SHORE BLUFF:
This property sits high on a bluff which has previously suffered from numerous storms and erosion. Past attempts were made to stabilize the bluff without success. For this property the DEC approved a boulder embankment to stabilize the bottom of the bluff but the slope was still eroding from the top down. We were brought in to stabilize the slope with a network of jute netting and native vegetation, consisting of American Beach Grass, Rugosa Rose, Beach Plum and Bayberry to reflect the existing plants on the adjoining embankment. Within one year the roots took hold, the natural indigenous habitat was restored and the slope is on its way to a full recovery. This has held up well in the past two Nor’easters with no erosion or slippage of the slope.
SOUTH SHORE BAY:
On this property we have a different scenario with the lower elevation and less slope to the shoreline. This south shore property was hit hard with tidal surges from past storms. A previous homeowner had cleared and planted a lawn along the shoreline which did not hold up well in the aftermath of these storms. To restore this eroded area we added a sand and soil mix with jute matting and some boulders to strengthen the area. The DEC does not permit a retaining wall of any sort so we had to slope the area gently and re vegetate. We added American Beach Grass, Bayberry and White Potentilla which fare well with this deer inundated area. The existing vegetation on either side of the eroded area was kept in a natural vegetated state with native grasses and shrubs which absorbed the tidal surges from Hurricane Sandy. Very little erosion was present in the adjacent area that was left natural while the cleared area with lawn was carved away by the storms. This made for a good case study on the effects of removing native vegetation and over development of a shoreline. Two years later the shoreline is stable and the plantings have spread their root system throughout the sandy mix to strengthen the shoreline and blend seamlessly with the adjoining natural habitat.
With a professional plan to restore Mother Nature we can revive and care for our waterfronts so we can retain the soil, sand, and vegetation. This protects our parks, beaches, property values and the overall beauty of this magnificent island we call home.
If you want advice or guidance on restoring your waterfront property please contact Goldberg and Rodler and we will connect you with one of our designers to schedule a consultation.
Written by Rick Schneider