A ferry on L.I. Sound off the coast of New London. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The federal government’s controversial plan to dump dredged materials in the Sound near Fishers Island will be the subject of public hearings Wednesday in Riverhead and Mattituck.

Open-water dumping of dredged materials – material that has been dug up from the bottoms of rivers, harbors and inlets – was set to end completely in the Long Island Sound this year.

But it will now continue for the next three decades under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’s final Dredge Material Management Plan, which was finalized in January despite vocal opposition from local officials, environmentalists and residents.

The plan renews the designation of four sites in the Long Island Sound as disposal sites, including two local sites north of Greenport and Orient.

The site north of Orient, just off Fishers Island in the Town of Southold, will be the subject of the public hearings this week.

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Known as the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site, the site is located in an area of two square nautical miles about halfway between Connecticut and New York — 1.4 nautical miles northwest of Fishers Island in the Town of Southold and 1.2 nautical miles south of Goshen Point, Connecticut. It is in Connecticut waters.

Under the plan, the federal government projects 53 million cubic yards of materials will be dredged from rivers, harbors and inlets in the Long Island Sound region over the next three decades. The bulk of that dredged material would continue to be dumped in open water disposal sites under the adopted plan, which drew searing criticism from federal, state, county and town elected officials and an array of environmental advocates.

“The Army Corps simply ignored the overwhelming public comment to protect Long Island Sound and chose to advance the cheap, easy option of open water disposal instead,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, in a previous interview. “They plan to treat Long Island Sound as a landfill and it’s deeply disturbing.”

The public hearings will be held May 25 in Riverhead (at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center from 1 to 3 p.m.) and Mattituck (at the Mattituck-Laurel Library, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.).

Written comments will be accepted until June 27 and can be submitted online or by email to [email protected]

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Katie Morosky
Katie, winner of the 2016 James Murphy Cub Reporter of the Year award from the L.I. Press Club, is a co-publisher of RiverheadLOCAL. A Riverhead native, she is a 2014 graduate of Stony Brook University. Email Katie