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Experts Advise Against Hard Structures for Montauk Beaches

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At the annual meeting for Concerned Citizens of Montauk last Saturday afternoon, two coastal experts spoke about options for shoring up Montauk's vulnerable downtown. Dr. Orrin H. Pilky, a professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University and a marine and coastal geologist specializing in the study of ocean beaches and coastal policy, and Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor and director of the laboratory for coastal research at Florida International University, gave their opinions about the best way to protect the shore.

Their insight was especially valuable given that whatever work the Army Corps of Engineers undertakes will affect the shoreline for some decades, and especially considering that the Army Corps' attitude seems to be "here are some options; pick one ASAP before the money disappears."

Both experts advised against hard structures like seawalls, which seem to be the currently favored options for beach remediation on the part of the Army Corps. Instead, Dr. Leatherman prefers the use of geotubes, which are basically sandbags. They build up sand like a seawall, but are more flexible and easier to move or remove if needed. Dr. Pilky pointed out that the Fire Island to Montauk Point Shoreline project was begun by the Army Corps in the 1960s, and that many of the options proposed by the Corps seem outdated.
· Coastal Experts Offer Input On Protecting Montauk's Beaches, Downtown [27East]