Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The breach on Fire Island at Old Inlet opened by Superstorm Sandy is blamed by some for Long Island flooding and credited by others with improving Great South Bay water quality (FINS).New York State and federal agencies have begun the process of preparing to close the breach on Fire Island caused by Sandy amid renewed debate over whether it’s caused flooding on the South Shore.The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requested Thursday that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) take the preliminary steps to seek out a contractor to fill in the breach—but they haven’t officially OK’d its closure.“If the breach does not close naturally, the closure process will be much further along,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. He said the request will allow the state and feds “to act more quickly to close the breach if that is deemed necessary.”The breach falls within the remote eastern half of the barrier island in part of the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area—the only such federal preserve in the state—known as Old Inlet, which has opened and closed repeatedly throughout history.The south-facing portion of the breach facing the Atlantic Ocean has widened by more than 1,000 feet since the Oct. 29 superstorm—108 feet on Nov. 3 to 1,171 feet on Feb. 28—and the side facing the Great South Bay more than doubled from 276 feet to 616 feet during the same time period, according to the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS).“It’s not a final decision to close yet but having everything in place so that when a decision is made we have everything ready to go,” said FINS Superintendent Chris Soller, who believes the breach may still close on its own this spring.“It will probably be months rather than weeks,” said Chris Gardner, an ACE spokesman, referring to the time it takes to procure and haul in the required heavy machinery. “There’s a variety of different factors at play. Most importantly there’s not dredges working in the area that we can draw upon.”DEC, ACE and FINS, a unit of the National Park Service, together agreed to begin procuring a contractor under the Breach Contingency Plan, which was used for the first time after Sandy since being inked in 1996 following bungled breach repairs at Westhampton Beach.The plan was used to close two other breaches—one at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Beach and the other at Smith Point County Park on the other side of the Moriches Inlet—shortly after Sandy. The third breach has been closely monitored but left to close on its own because it falls within the federal wilderness area.A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who called a news conference this week blaming local flooding on the breach and demanding that it be closed immediately, did not respond to a request for comment on the DEC’s announcement.Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, contends that there is no proven link that the breach is causing flooding along Suffolk’s bay front. But, it is proven to be flushing the polluted Great South Bay.“We need to base decisions on fact, not fear,” she said. “I’m very frustrated that science somehow went out the window here … we shouldn’t substitute political science for good marine science.”
Former Tipp hurler Conor O’ Brien thinks Jason Forde has a great case for getting his one match suspension overturned.Forde was originally handed a two match ban but it was halved on appeal – and the offence lessened to ‘contributing to a melee.’The Silvermines club man’s appeal hearing is expected to be heard early this week, before Tipp’s opening round of the Munster Championship against Cork next weekend. Conor O’ Brien says he hopes Forde will be good to go for Sunday.
A new sea route and slow adventure experience could be on the way to the north west, as two new eco-tourism experiences were considered by local authorities in Donegal and Derry.A number of special meetings have taken place recently in the River Watch Visitor Centre in Derry which have brought together project partners from across the globe involved in the promotion of Slow Adventure experiences, through the SAINT (Slow Adventure in Northern Territories) and Cool Route tourism initiatives.The COOL Route Project – Cruising Oceans on Latitudes above 51 Degrees North – investigates all aspects of the potential to establish a yacht cruising route along the western offshore areas of the Northern Periphery Area, stretching from Co. Cork in the South of Ireland, to the UK (Northern Ireland and Western Scotland) and onwards to the Faroe Islands and Norway. As an ecotourism product, exploiting the natural resources of the area in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally viable; this new sea route will be marketed internationally and will have a common branding, booking and information system. The SAINT Project has eleven partners across seven countries all working to develop new visitor experiences which will result in the creation of a transnational Slow Adventure Brand. The aim of the SAINT project is to encourage more tourists to come to the areas to enjoy and experience the outdoors and engage with remote, wild and nature-rich places.Donegal County Council is delighted to be working in partnership with such a wide range of destinations, with representatives from Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Northern Ireland all sharing their research and experience. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Alderman Hilary McClintock, said the Slow Adventure concept had particular relevance for local companies. “Both the SAINT and Cool Route projects are innovative and exciting in their approaches, and have a wealth of experience to pass on to local businesses. “This partnership approach to tourism offers the opportunity to learn from examples of best practice and new ideas based on the first hand experiences of companies from around the world”.“These businesses all have the shared objective of creating new and effective ways to enhance the tourism offering of their region and the creation of a strong multi-national brand and we can really benefit from sharing their insights. I would really encourage local tourism businesses to find out how they can get involved.”The partnership will now continue its work over the coming months aiming to use the knowledge and resources shared by the partners to develop new tourism initiatives tapping into the unique resources and features of the region. Over the coming months the partners will continue working on opportunities around project collaboration and maximising the business opportunities for SME’s in the region around Slow Adventure and Marine Tourism. The Cool Route and SAINT Projects are funded through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, under the Interreg IVB NPA Programme.‘Slow Adventure’ tourism plans for Donegal was last modified: November 14th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)