Patchogue launches $3 million project to restore wetlands, protect community from flooding
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri and state leaders announced the creation of a living shoreline at Shorefront Park to help stop coastal flooding.
The project aims to restore natural wetlands, marshes and the bay's estuaries while creating a buffer to protect the community.
“We are talking about the start of construction of one of the largest living shorelines restoration projects on Long Island and possibly in the state of New York,” says New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez.
The more than $3 million restoration is funded mostly by state and county grants. The idea is to replace rotting wooden bulkheads and create about a half-mile of native grasses and plants that will absorb and divert coastal storm water.
Pontieri says flooding from the Great South Bay during Superstorm Sandy battered the Patchogue waterfront.
“If you were here after Superstorm Sandy, you’d be standing in about 10 inches of water that lasted for about five days,” he says.
Along with protecting the community from flooding, the living shoreline will also pull nitrogen from stormwater runoff, which means a cleaner bay.
“The living shoreline is going to prevent erosion -- stabilize the coastline and help us manage sea level rising and improve water quality in the bay,” says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
The restoration project will also include walkways along with benches and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day.
“This project is a model for what we need to do, but it is also a reminder of what needs to be done to make sure that we restore water quality in this region for ourselves and for future generations,” says Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Officials say Little Creek, a spring-fed creek that drains into the Great South Bay and cuts through Shorefront Park, will be dredged and widened during a later phase of the project.