Johnson Passes Bill To Avert Erosion, Restore Shoreline On Fire Island

Owen H. Johnson

June 16, 2006

State Senator Owen H. Johnson (4th Senate District, Babylon), Chairman of the Finance Committee, announced passage of his legislation to establish and run the Fire Island Beach Erosion Control District to promote shoreline restoration and preservation projects. The cost of the district would be borne entirely by residents of the Fire Island Beach District through a special taxing mechanism. The new district would have no financial impact on mainland homeowners.

According to Johnson’s bill, the district would be created through a petition that would be executed by the Chief Executive Officers of the towns of Brookhaven and Islip or at least twenty five owners of taxable real property located within the district.

"Fire Island Beaches have tremendous economic, social and ecological value, and significantly contribute to the well-being of the citizens in the county and state," said Senator Johnson. "We need to protect these beaches from the imminent danger they face of being destroyed from accelerating erosion. This bill establishes the mechanism to do that."

Senator Johnson explained that the bill would allow the Fire Island Beach Erosion District to effect remedial action to avert further erosion that imperils the beaches, other natural and ecological resources, the Great South Bay and public properties and infrastructure on Fire Island and the South Shore of the Long Island mainland. The bill would allow the district to work with the federal government and the State of New York to help fund and promote the restoration of the beaches to conditions existing at the time the Fire Island National Seashore was created, and to remediate past erosion damage.

"Fire Island is a jewel that needs to be preserved," said Senator Johnson. "This legislation will help to ensure that the beaches of Fire Island are here for future generations to enjoy and cherish."

The bill, S.5912-A, passed the Senate on June 15th and was sent to the Assembly.