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Group Calls for Longterm Plan for Protecting Coastal Communities

Save the Great South Bay members advocate keeping the new Fire Island breach open and wants greater attention to coastline issues.

The newly formed Save the Great South Bay group, founded just two months before super storm Sandy decimated the south shore of Long Island and Fire Island communities, is calling on lawmakers to develop a broad, large-scale plan for protecting the coastal areas of Long Island.

The group, which has more than 500 members, is planning several activities this year to increase awreness of the bay's status and recently participated in a public forum on what to do regarding the new breach at Fire Island’s Old Inlet caused by Sandy, according to a press release.

The two-and-a-half hour meeting held last weekend in Bellport was keynoted by Dr. Charles Flagg of SoMAS and featured presentations by Kevin McAllister of the Peconic Bay Keeper and Joseph Gagliano, chairman of the Bellport Village Waterfront Commission.

The focus of the meeting, sponsored by SUNY Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, was focused on advocating to keep the breach open.

However, a number Long Island elected officials recently held a press conference and called for the breach to be closed. They felt the increased flooding seen in many communities along the south shore in recent months is a result of additional water spilling into the Great South Bay through the breach.

According to STGSB, the politicians who support closing the breach chose not to attend Saturday’s meeting, and were not represented by staff.

Those in attendance represented at least 20 different environmental and marine-related groups including The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition, Brookhaven Affiliated Civic Organization, The Nature Conservancy, Citizens Campaign for The Environment, Long Island Sound Lobsterman’s Association, Coastal Conservation Association, South Bay Cruising Club, Operation Splash, The Village of Bellport, Surfrider Foundation, Pattersquash Creek Civic Association.

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