Hypothetical Relocation of Fire Island Inlet, New York
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS COASTAL AND HYDRAULICS LAB
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Hypothetical eastward relocation of Fire Island Inlet is examined as a thought exercise in regional sediment management. Subjects considered include morphologic behavior of the inlet, hydrodynamics of the present and hypothetical relocated inlet, collapse of the existing ebb-tidal shoal and formation of new ebb and flood shoals, sand bypassing, navigability, and stability of the beaches east and west of the inlet. The relocated inlet would be more hydraulically efficient than the present inlet, increasing tidal exchange prism, promoting circulation in Great South Bay, and increasing sand storage in the inlet shoals. Collapse of the abandoned ebb shoal would feed the eroding beaches to the west, such as Gilgo Beach, for 50-100 years. Oak Beach would no longer experience an erosional ebb current and wave action. The east jetty would impound sediment, gradually building the width of the fragile beaches of Fire Island located to the east. Several sediment-sharing projects would benefit from the inlet relocation, a goal of regional sediment management. Potentially unacceptable negative consequences that require study, such as increased storm surge susceptibility, are identified.
- Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology