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Fire Island Bird

Sparling

Submitted by Sansea Sparling, Fire Island, New York: storm-damaged beach

Hurricane Sandy tore through Fire Island, breaching the thin strip of land in two places. The bay rose, trashing all the marinas and town waterfronts; the ocean pounded some houses to smithereens, tore decks, roofs and sides off others. Some houses floated then mashed down neighbors.

Now many town features on the bay side are rebuilt, many ruined houses have been removed, many roofs, windows, decks have been renovated. The towns have rebuilt the  pedestrian stiles from town sidewalks over the remnants of the dunes.

But the dunes themselves, shorn of the protective dune grasses, minimized in girth by the vast quantities of sand the storm tore away, are too narrow now to protect this barrier island from another major storm, even with these installed TrapBags—already wind and weather eat away at the erstwhile protection of the dunes. Human effort to restore, enormously expensive in terms of money and labor, remains puny in comparison to what the storm carried off. Vulnerability is pitifully apparent along the whole stretch of the beach facing the Atlantic.

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