With much of the Hamptons waterfront still in recovery following Superstorm Sandy, volunteer groups this week completed a seagrass planting project to bolster dunes.
Spearheaded by Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund founders Romi Sloan and Kym Smith, on Thursday volunteers planted sea grass on the dunes surrounding the Tiana Beach Pavilion in Hampton Bays and at the rain garden at the south end of Lake Agawam in Southampton Village. New York Media Cares, a New York City-based nonprofit that frequently provides volunteers for Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund’s efforts, came out to the End East to help out.
On Monday, volunteers from Independent Group Home Living helped complete the project.
“Though we were fortunate in many ways on the East End, our shorelines took a battering during Hurricane Sandy and we’re still grappling with the resulting damage and erosion,” said Councilman Chris Nuzzi, Southampton Town’s liaison to Parks and Recreation. “It’s vital that we strengthen and nurture our protective dune systems, particularly along Dune Road, which serves as the barrier to our inland structures.”
According to the town, over the course of three days with 45 volunteers, 30,000 seagrass shoots or bulbs were planted.
Seagrass, and its roots, secures sand in place and prevent erosion. “Otherwise, the sand will literally blow away,” Smith said.
Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund has mostly concentrated its efforts on helping hard-hit areas, such as the Rockaways, Babylon and Staten Island. But Smith, of East Quogue, said she and Sloan, of North Sea, decided to plan something closer to home.
“We decided because it was almost a year working outside of our area, we wanted to do something in the town where we live,” Smith said. They reached out to the town and found that planting beach grass was an appropriate way they could help—they work for Sloan’s Gardens by Romi landscaping and garden design business.
She said they will have more volunteer opportunities in Southampton Town in the spring. Those interested can contact Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund on Facebook or email [email protected]. Local students will receive community service letters toward their high school diplomas.