After Dredging, Havens Beach to Be Cleared

Havens Beach in Sag Harbor was on the receiving end of a harbor dredging project in the fall that left gray silt and more rocks than usual on the sand. Village officials have said they will remove as many of the rocks as possible. Jamie Bufalino

For Sag Harbor families, Havens Beach, with shallow water and such amenities as bathrooms and a swing set, has been a popular place to take kids for a warm-weather outing. 

“The nice thing about this beach is that it’s a sandy beach,” John Parker, a member of the village’s harbor committee, said. “Very nice for kids to play in and to walk in and out of the water.”

In November, the dredging by Suffolk County of a part of the harbor inside the stone breakwater caused some consternation among residents, who complained about the wet sand and muddy water‚ or dredged spoils, being pumped ashore for beach replenishment.

“Last summer at high tide there was very little beach left,” Mr. Parker said in a statement. Now there is a “widely expanded beach area, currently 50 to 75 feet wider than before, that should be a very positive improvement for beach users.”

A downside of the project, however, is that the spoils seem to have created a different look and feel of the beach. “You can see a lot more of the stones and shells and everything else they picked up from the bottom,” said John McMahon, a retired Sag Harbor police sergeant, who is a frequent visitor to Havens Beach. “If you’ve seen the beach before and you see it now, you know the obvious difference.”

The harbor committee was fazed enough by the new appearance of the beach that Mr. Parker took three baseball-size rocks he found at the site to the Jan. 9 village board meeting to show Mayor Sandra Schroeder and the trustees.

Ken O’Donnell, the village trustee who is the liaison to the committee, however, doesn’t believe the dredged spoils caused the change but merely exposed rocks already there and is working on a plan to get Havens Beach back in shape.

“I’ve been dealing with the superintendent of public works,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “Come this spring, we’re going to address the rocks that were exposed at low tide and we’re going to sift the beach to get rid of the rocks and shells.” J.B.