The city of Babylon is struggling to combat longstanding erosion at the mouth of a Lindenhurst Canal where it meets the Great South Bay.
Works at the entrance to the Grand Canal include rebuilding bulkheads, dredging and creating a living shoreline. Brian Zitani, the city’s waterways management supervisor, said century-old bulkheads have become a hazard to boaters.
“This area has been collapsing for a very long time,” Zitani said. “The bulkheads weren’t working and it was becoming a hazard to navigation as pieces of bulkhead were coming loose and planks were floating.”
Last fall, the city removed the remnants of the partitions, and Zitani said the new ones will “roughly” align with what was there before.
As the bulkheads disintegrated, the backfilled areas on either side of the canal entrance eroded away, Zitani said. At low tide, the water can drop less than 3 feet deep, leading some boaters to scrape the bottom or run aground.
“Whenever we do work like this at the entrance to a canal, if we can do maintenance dredging to get the water depth to what we would like, that is say a foot or two deeper than it is right now, we’re going to put that in the plan,” he said.
The city would have to get a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers first and then bid for the dredging, Zitani said. Work will not begin until the fall.
The city earmarked $102,200 of its $27.77 million U.S. federal bailout package to Brookhaven’s LK McLean & Associates PC, which was hired for design and engineering services.
The town also plans to create a living shoreline using native plants and rocks on a small beach at the end of the West Lido promenade. The property is still privately owned, but city supervisor Rich Schaffer said in 2020 that Babylon would seek to take the property due to covenant violations. City spokesman Kevin Bonner said last week that the county is now taking the property for thousands of dollars owed in back taxes. Douglas Sutherland, Suffolk County’s acting chief assistant comptroller, confirmed the county is in the process of seizing the property.
John Vogt, president of the American Venice Civic Association, said residents look forward to the city’s work, which will help boaters and also protect those who live on the canal.
“The old bulkhead deteriorated to the point that during high tides boaters would walk over it,” Vogt said. “All the people who live at the lower end of the canal, their boats rock during storms and this has never happened before.”