Elected officials at almost all involved levels have been calling for expedited action along the threatened Montauk oceanfront in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. “We must act now,” Representative Tim Bishop and Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand said last month in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers. Not so fast, we say.
Considering that ill-thought-out erosion control projects of years past have caused their own share of problems, and the Army Corps’ mixed record in this regard, the right thing to do would be to slow down. Independent experts who study coastal processes say the only viable long-term strategy, even for Montauk’s downtown, is a managed retreat of threatened structures coupled with restoration of naturally defensive dunes and wetlands.
Rushing into armoring the Montauk shore would lead almost certainly to disastrous results in the years to come.