Sailors Haven Channel Dredging Begins

Dredging equipment in marina channel.
Sand being dredged from the Sailors Haven Marina channel will be used to construct a feeder beach along the Great South Bay, as part of a project to restore bayside sediment transport processes that are affected by dredging and shoreline armoring.

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News Release Date: November 4, 2011

A maintenance dredging project for the Sailors Haven Marina entrance channel in Fire Island National Seashore began on November 3, and is expected to be completed by mid-December 2011. The dredged material from this channel will be used for a bayside shoreline stabilization research project to help protect the Sunken Forest. "By redepositing the sand from the channel back onto the bay shoreline," stated facility manager Jim Dunphy, "we hope to help reduce the amount of erosion occurring west of the Sailors Haven Marina, while providing for a safe navigation channel."

Sailors Haven is one of Fire Island National Seashore's primary developed areas, with seasonal public ferry access from Sayville, a lifeguarded beach, and a 45-slip marina that is heavily used from mid-May to mid-October. Thousands of school children and others look forward to tours through the Sunken Forest, which is accessible from Sailors Haven.

Fire Island's Sunken Forest is a globally rare maritime holly forest habitat, and its bay shoreline has been eroding for many years. This project combines a periodic channel maintenance procedure with a project to restore the bayside sediment transport processes at Fire Island National Seashore, providing for the safety of boaters and other recreational users and protection for the maritime forest.

The environmental assessment for this project was reviewed and approved in June 2005. Funding for dredging was obtained in June 2011, and all necessary permits have been obtained.

Eroded bay shoreline at Sailors Haven and Sunken Forest.
As the shoreline to the west of the Sailors Haven Marina erodes, it impacts the Sunken Forest. The boardwalk trail had to be relocated earlier in 2011 due to bayside shoreline erosion. Sand dredged from the Sailors Haven channel will be deposited on this portion of the bay beach.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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