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Plumb beach washout - Concern grows over corrosive threat to bike path

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Reality may have blown holes in that aphorism about rising tides lifting all boats - but there’s no denying that high tides around Plumb Beach are having a corrosive effect on the bike and pedestrian path running alongside the Belt Parkway.

City, state and federal officials accompanying Rep. Anthony Weiner and a group of community activists on a recent walking tour of the area came away from the experience convinced that something has to be done to prevent further decay.

“All those in attendance found disturbingly dangerous conditions along the Plumb Beach bike path,” Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association secretary Barbara Berardelli told this newspaper.

Many fear that the crumbled chunks of blacktop clearly in evidence about 200 yards west of the Plumb Beach roundhouse are only one indication that sea water swept ahead of rising tides from Sheepshead Bay has already seeped underneath the bike path - and possibly even the Belt Parkway itself.

Plumb Beach watchdogs say that at their highest, tides routinely do reach the round house. An environmental expert from Rutgers University who took part in the walking tour said that Plumb Beach has probably lost some 200 feet of sand to erosion.

Without some type of barrier - prefably natural - advocates believe that exposed areas of blacktop snaking alongside the beach will continue to be vulnerable to the elements.

Contributors helping to develop a new park at Brigham Street are advocating the use of more sand and rocks to act as a natural barrier against the encroaching seawater.

The solution might be more elusive than that, given evidence that excessive sand piled up on Plumb Beach may have had a detrimental effect on indiginous horsecrabs spawning east of the site.

Weiner has asked all those who took part in the Plumb Beach walking tour to submit possible solutions to the erosion problem by the end of next week.

We’d like some remediation,” Berardelli said. “The city is doing a good job of cleaning up the area, but we need somebody down here to build some kind of barrier.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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