1976). The present study attempts to contribute to understanding of small inlets and the
role of grain size by examining two relatively small inlets on a mixed sediment coast that
Inlets along the south shore of Long Island, NY, have received substantial study
owing to their easy access and proximity to the New York metropolitan area. On the
south shore, there are presently six federally maintained permanent inlets (from west to
east: Rockaway Inlet, East Rockaway Inlet, Jones Inlet, Fire Island Inlet, Moriches Inlet,
and Shinnecock Inlet), and they serve long and broad bays surrounded by towns and
commercial entities. Of the large literature on Long Island south shore inlets,
representative examples are:
a. Geomorphology, sedimentology, and sediment budgets: Taney (1961), Kumar
and Sanders (1974), Leatherman and Allen (1985), Leatherman (1989), Kana
(1995), Morang et al. (1999), Schwaab et al. (1999).
b. Coastal and inlet processes: Panuzio (1968), Tanski et al. (1990), Militello et al.
c. Site-specific inlet studies: Gofseyeff (1952), Czerniak (1977), Schmeltz et al.
(1982), Militello and Kraus (2001), Kraus et al. (2003).
Inlets along the south shore of Long Island have been dynamic, both in location and
channel cross section, as documented in many of the these references.
In contrast to south shore inlets of Long Island, inlets on the north shore have
received little study. Many of these inlets are small and serve small and isolated water
bodies. Significantly, north shore inlets appear to be more stable in location than the
south shore inlets.1 Why are these inlets more stable and, apparently, longer lived, as
compared to the south shore inlets?
Although glacial processes dominate the surficial sediments and geologic structure of
Long Island, the sediment along the south shore consists predominantly of fine to
medium sand, with a median grain size of 0.3 mm being typical. In contrast to the sandy
beaches backed by dunes found along the south shore of Long Island, high bluffs and a
wide range in grain size, with gravel and cobble common, characterize its north shore.
The tide range along the north shore is about double that of the south shore. Longshore
sediment transport is an order of magnitude less on the north shore as compared to the
south shore, and the waves along the north shore are steeper. The inner shelf on the north
shore is steeper than along the south shore.
of East Rockaway Inlet, Jones Inlet, and several ephemeral inlets on the western end of the south shore of
Long Island. These maps clearly indicate inlet opening, closing, and significant migration of the westernmost
inlets from the first map, dated 1797. Sometimes the easternmost inlets are absent (closed). The names of
the inlets may be different, and inlets with other names and that no longer exist can also be seen.
Chapter 1 Introduction