Montauk’s Ditch Plain Beach May See Replenishment

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A portion of Ditch Plain Beach in Montauk that East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has called “glacial,” because of severe erosion that has left rocks exposed, will likely get a new layer of sand for the summer season.

In response to pleas from members of the community to restore the bathing beach, the Town Board agreed last week to seek bids for the job after receiving Department of Environmental Conservation approval. The board was slated to open the bids on Wednesday.

Uneven, with hardpan and remnants of an old house and a concrete road, the western portion of Ditch Plain Beach was closed to swimmers after heavy erosion washed away sand during Hurricane Sandy and the consecutive nor’easters. Slowly but surely, the beach has been rebuilding itself, according to John McGeehan, the town’s assistant chief of lifeguards, who oversees the Montauk beaches. He said since he spoke with the board a week before, more sand filled in but he is still concerned about what debris remains uncovered underwater.

“Since that time, there has been certainly a noticeable build up of sand,” he said. “What we’re facing now is the warming water and that’s a concern that’s obviously shared by us and yourselves because we know now as we’re at June 18 and June 19, people are going to start to venture into the water there.”

He said he is considering putting lifeguard stands at the beach for that reason.

Mr. Wilkinson said he personally brought a permit to the DEC on June 7 to get permission to replenish the sand and the DEC issued the permit on June 10.

Once the town awards the bid and gets its ducks in a row, the trucked in sand would be placed closer to Otis Road, east of where the traditional bathing beach is, because the shoreline is in worse condition there, according to Mr. McGeehan.

Councilman Dominck Stanzione said last week that replenishing the sand would be an emergency action for the season and that the board understands that it may have no permanence. “It may not last, but we’re willing to take that action,” he said.

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