standing Letters

Mr. Griff Trow should have more thoroughly read my letter to the editor (“Charlestown’s new commission is worthless,” Nov. 20) before writing his own (“Applauding Charlestown’s coastal committee,” Nov. 24). There is no proposed Coastal Resiliency Committee, it is called the Climate Resiliency Commission. I did not refute climate change in my letter. The point of my letter was for the town to create a pragmatic commission: concentrating on permanent shore mitigation solutions, not foolishly wasting money on temporary measures. Here are four examples of futile measures creating no long-term value for the shoreline problem:

1. When Ninigret Pond was dredged in the winter of 2016-17, the dredged sand was dumped on the bordering marsh for marsh restoration. That spring I spent two days helping to plant grass sprigs to help “restore” that marsh. Two years later on Dec. 26, 2018, the Town Council approved $919,500 to have Ninigret Pond dredged again. Supposedly it was necessary to dredge again because the marsh, i.e. grass, wasn’t holding the sand and the sand had washed back into the channel. The same scenario of dumping the dredged sand and planting sprigs for marsh restoration was applied to Quonnie. In June and November 2018, the Town Council approved $250,000 and $200,000, respectively, for marsh restoration of Quonnie. If it didn’t work for Ninigret why waste money doing the same thing for Quonnie?

A true marsh is black peat created by decaying organic material over many years. Dumping dredged sand and planting grass sprigs on the marsh will not restore the marsh to its full ecological potential overnight. We now have 2 marshes that are still trying to recover from their “restoration.”

2. The Charlestown Town Council is discussing repairing the road from Charlestown Beach to the breachway. Discussion of what type of road ranged from leaving it as is to a new double-lane asphalt road. One serious storm could wipe out the road — why waste money when nature will win? Most of the houses on the road are summer houses.

3. The federal government is planning to elevate 300 building foundations in our area in order to fight rising sea level. The owners would only have to pay 35% of the cost, the Feds would pay 65%. The Fed’s money is our tax money they are giving away! I don’t want it wasted on a temporary fix for a select group of people.

4. Our neighborhood owns a lot that has access to a salt pond. At high tide only about 5-10% of the lot is dry. In fact, I have asked CRMC to declare the lot wetlands. On the lot there is an old sunken gravel road that is about 6” below sea level. A neighbor, probably for the betterment of his short-term lease business, wants to restore the road raising it above sea level. Some of us want to keep the lot as is, not wasting money fighting rising sea level. Now he and associates are threatening the rest of us with court action just because we don’t want to alter the lot, and are concerned about potential commercialism.

Some agencies advocate temporary solutions to justify their existence. I don’t want a new commission that will spout temporary solutions doing the same thing. I believe the Climate Resiliency Commission will be just a rubber stamp for special-interest groups promoting these temporary solutions wasting our money.

Steven J. Williams


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