New Backcountry Camping procedures
Reservations for required permits must be obtained through Recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Davis Park or access points west, and involve a 2½ to 10 mile hike. More »
Monitoring the Breach at Old Inlet
While storm events and breaches are part of a barrier island's natural processes and breaches can provide ecological benefits, decisions about the breach must be balanced by concerns that the breach may exacerbate flooding in adjacent communities of Long Island's south shore. Monitoring of the breach at Old Inlet began within 48 hours of Hurricane Sandy. The State University of New York at Stony Brook, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and other coastal experts continue to regularly monitor conditions of the breach (breach shoreline position, depth, and tidal exchange), and water levels and water quality in the Great South Bay.
Breach Shoreline Position
The location of the breach has been monitored at least weekly since the breach opened to determine if the breach is migrating or widening. Mapping-grade GPS shoreline position data is collected by walking the east and west boundaries of the breach within 2 hours of ocean low tide. Paired measurement of the east and west breach boundaries (generally collected on consecutive dates) identify the location as well as the width of the breach.
Breach Depth and Tidal Exchange
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Resources Division staff have conducted physical surveys of the Old Inlet breach. More information can be found at: Evaluation of a barrier-island breach created by Hurricane Sandy at Fire Island National Seashore, NY (USGS)
Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences has also completed physical surveys of the breach.
Water Levels and Water Quality in the Great South Bay
The National Park Service (NPS) will continue to work with its partners to monitor the breach, ensuring that data is available to inform management decisions. No monitoring results to date have triggered the immediate closure of the breach.
An environmental assessment (EA) was conducted in 1995 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Breach Contingency Plan (BCP). The NPS has determined that a more comprehensive analysis is currently required to evaluate breach management options in the Seashore, in order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Park managers at Fire Island National Seashore have requested funding for this analysis. The National Park Service will use this more comprehensive environmental analysis to determine the appropriate actions for the long-term management of the breach at Old Inlet.
Did You Know?
Horseshoe crabs come near shore on the full moon in May and June to lay thousands of eggs, which are a valuable food source for migrating shorebirds in spring and early summer. Occasionally, a perfectly-formed horseshoe crab molt can be found on the beach, shed as the young animal grows. More...