Down on the beaches we are intimately familiar with the oceans and the increasing impact they have on our lives. The challenges of operating in the ocean have always pushed the related technologies to the forefront of their fields. This is still true today in our world and I got a front row seat for some of these developments during my two week stay at MIT’s Seagrant College as part of the OEX (Ocean Engineering Experience) program. Sixteen students from across the United States were selected to participate in the program, and I was one of them.
The program had a two-pronged approach. Professionals ranging from marine scientists to mechanical engineers lectured us. This was complimented by a hands-on team project where, under a tight deadline, we conceived, constructed, and tested an ROV designed to log temperature and depth in the adjacent Charles River. We drew our designs from historic ROV’s such as the Jason Jr., explorer of the Titanic, as well as some cutting edge vehicles, some web connected, in the Seagrant lab.
Seagrant is a partnership between NOAA and 32 universities around the country. The goal is to support research, training and outreach programs such as OEX. The experience opened my eyes to the wealth of opportunities in the field of Ocean Engineering and reaffirmed the importance of stewardship of the oceans.
Although the beaches have not opened yet, there has been a lot of activity along the barrier island beaches this Winter.
Dredging crews have been hard at work in the Fire Island Inlet. Their offshore dredging boats connect to long, flexible pipes onto the beach and empty sediment on the shoreline of Overlook Beach. Large dump trucks then transport the sediment to local area beaches from West Gilgo and eastward alongside the heavily eroded shorelines of the barrier beaches and ocean parkway.
As the massive project continues, signs of future dune conservation efforts can be seen in the massive stores of dune fence waiting to be used to help hold the sand in place.
The repaired dune systems along Ocean Parkway are now lined with beach fence gaps to allow nesting turtles access to the surrounding ecosystem.
The Diamondback Terrapin, is one of the few marine turtles that is known to live most of its life in the brackish marsh waters along Ocean Parkway. When the turtles are ready to lay eggs, they generally prefer to use the beach sand.
The Diamondback Terrapin can be found along the eastern coast of the United States from Cape Cod down to Florida but has faced increasing threats due to habitat destruction and climate change.
Governor Cuomo Begins Work with Local Beach Representatives to use State & Federal Disaster Aid with New York Rising Program
Local beach representatives recently began participating in the first stages of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program presented by Governor Cuomo’s office in an effort to begin using Federal Disaster Aid in Community Reconstruction Zones. The program is referred to as a “bottom-up, community driven initiative that will empower localities that were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy…” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in a press release published on July 18, 2013.
The NY region that is eligible for more than 750 million dollars consists of 102 communities in total from the Long Island, NYC, and Upstate New York area. Captree Island, Oak Beach, Oak Isles Beach Association, Oak Island, Gilgo Beach, and West Gilgo Beach will combine to represent one community reconstruction zone.
Over the next eight months, members of each zone, along with State and Federal agencies and planning consultants, will begin to formulate a plan to rebuild and protect community assets. After the eight-month planning period, the project will move into the funding and implementation phases.
James Schappert of Oak Beach will serve as co-chair of the beach community reconstruction zone. Additional Committee members are Dorian Dale, Cindy Dale, and Tom Cassidy of West Gilgo Beach, Mark Nuccio of Oak Island, Arnie Lanzillata of the Oak Isles Beach Association, Jed Meade of Oak Beach, and Paul McDuffy of Gilgo Beach. Cameron Engineering and Jacobs, a planning firm, will be working with our representatives.
Additional information can be found at:
Delaney Cassidy, a 2013 Babylon graduate from West Gilgo Beach, grew up as a steward
of our local Town of Babylon beaches.
Delaney has participated in numerous beach grass plantings and cleanups and has served as ‘student editor’ for the Save the Beaches Newsletter. Delaney is also an environmental intern for the Town of Babylon Department of Environmental Control participating in projects such as counting piping plovers and terns and cultivating clams in the Cedar Bay Marina.
Delaney graduated at the top of her class as Valedictorian from Babylon and plans to study biomedical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She promises to always advocate for and help preserve our beautiful shorelines. She is the proud recipient of Save the Beaches $1,000 College Scholarship Award.