Second Annual Long Island Natural History Conference



The Development of the Old Inlet Breach and its Impacts on Great South Bay
Charles N. Flagg

ABSTRACT:  Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the coastal regions of the Middle Atlantic Bight and severely impacting the eastern end of Great South Bay where the storm created three breaches in the coastal barrier of Fire Island. The largest breach occurred in the wilderness area of the Fire Island National Seashore. The wilderness area is special in that it is allowed to evolve naturally and as a result the breach in that area was left to develop on its own. We have maintained a oceanographic observatory within Great South Bay for the past eight years and as a result we have been able to monitor and document the impact that this breach has had on water levels, tides and water quality to an extent never before possible. This talk will give an overview of the development of the breach and the resultant changes in Great South Bay based upon data collected during Sandy and subsequent coastal storms as well as with a series of bathymetric surveys and aerial photographs showing the changes in the morphology of the breach.

Charlie Flagg is an adjunct professor and researcher at SUNY Stony Brook. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, an M.S. in Naval Architecture at M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography at Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His current research interests include the long-term observations of currents over the shelf, slope and Gulf Stream from the MV Oleander; transports into the Norwegian Sea across the Iceland Faroe Ridge and through the Shetland Channel from the MV Norrona; development of ADCPs in an expanded voluntary observing ship program; tidal and low frequency currents, seasonal and inter-annual hydrographic variability of the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank, Mid–Atlantic Bight and Slope Sea; circulation in coastal lagoons and the impact of breaches on lagoonal water properties.