Federal judge pushes back decision on replenishing dunes in Mastic Beach
A judge has put off any decision regarding the replenishment of dunes along the South Shore until mid-December.
The decision was made after the Audobon Society got a restraining order halting the project. They are concerned that the federal dune replenishment program would disrupt the habitat of the piping plovers, an endangered, sparrow-sized shore bird that nests on the dunes.
Residents who protested outside of the court building in Central Islip were upset with the decision, saying that the judge put the lives of birds ahead of people living on the shore. Residents say the dunes are vital to protecting their homes from floodwaters.
"This job is going to last until 2015," said Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi. "Unacceptable...people's lives are at stake. People's houses are at stake."
The cost of the beach dune replenishment project is $207 million for a 19-mile stretch of the South Shore.