Aerial view of opening in barrier island and sandy bay islands.

Breach Management Plan

Learn more about the Breach Management Plan/EIS. (Photo: USFWS/G. Thompson)

A woman walks with a small GPS unit at the edge of the water.

Science of the Wilderness Breach

Soon after the wilderness breach was created, the National Park Service and partners began studying it.


What is a breach?

Breaches are channels connecting ocean to bay which form during powerful storms. Like the shoreline and dunes, breaches are dynamic barrier island features.

Tracking Breach Change

Since the occurrence of the wilderness breach, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked with its partners to monitor the breach, which is a relatively stable but dynamic natural feature.

How are breaches managed?

Three breaches opened during Hurricane Sandy on the barrier islands along Long Island's south shore. Two were closed immediately after the storm.
The NPS has been engaged in a public planning process to decide how best to manage the breach which occurred in Fire Island National Seashore's wilderness. The Fire Island Wilderness Breach Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement was initiated in 2015. The release of the final plan is expected in December, 2017. No sooner than 30 days after the release of the final plan, the NPS Northeast Regional Director must sign a Record of Decision to complete the planning process before the Seashore can implement the plan.

Last updated: December 7, 2017

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Patchogue, NY 11772


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