More Park Facilities Reopen During May 2013
Watch Hill and Sailors Haven marinas open May 10. Limited ferry service from Sayville to Sailors Haven resumes May 13 and ferries from Patchogue to Watch Hill start on May 18. Remaining park facilities to reopen by May 25, 2013. More »
Bulkheads and Shoreline Erosion Control
In order to do any construction work on bulkheads within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore, a National Park Service Special Use Permit is required. The NPS permit is in addition to the appropriate permit from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (usually the Tidal Wetlands permit from NYS DEC) and the 404 permit from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Each permit is necessary to provide oversight for the resources that each agency is mandated to protect.
Particularly on the bay side of Fire Island, property owners have constructed individual bulkheads with the intention of protecting their property against erosion. However, bulkheads negatively impact both natural ecosystem processes, and private property that is not bulkheaded.
Bulkheads replace natural formations landward of them and prevent upland sand sources from entering the littoral drift system, causing sediment starvation downdrift, and shifting negative effects to neighboring land. The interaction of waves with a structure increases wave reflection and turbulence, nearshore current velocities, and sediment activation and transport at the base of the structure.
Continuing past practices that have been shown to be in conflict with scientific understanding of best management practices is imprudent and short sighted. Knowledge about bay shore processes is ever increasing and new methods of shoreline protection that are more respectful of and responsive to natural systems, and that address erosion concerns of property owners are being developed and tested in coastal environments around the world. Park managers, in cooperation with universities and other federal and state agencies, are monitoring these developments and supporting research in order to ascertain an environmentally sensitive approach to these erosion concerns.
In recognition of the erosion concerns of individual property owners, park management adopted the following policy regarding special use permits for bulkheads on properties within the boundaries of the park:
For more information, you may read the complete text of the park's current bulkhead policy:
A series of Science Synthesis Papers was published in 2005 to support the preparation of a General Management Plan for Fire Island National Seashore.
Did You Know?
In the mid-1970s, Fire Island's deer herd consisted of only about 50 white-tailed deer. By 2005, the number was estimated to be 500-700 deer. More...