Superstorm Sandy brings cleaner water to Long Island

HOLD FOR STORY BY FRANK ELTMAN Pilings that once held a walkway over dunes leading to the beach are all that remain outside a boarded up home on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in Ocean Beach, N.Y. The Fire Island community was damaged in Superstorm Sandy.(AP Photo/Frank Eltman)
Frank Eltman

Superstorm Sandy flooded homes, roads and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, but there is a little bit of silver lining.

CBS New York reports the storm that ripped through the East Coast actually improved water quality and brought the return of native marine life in several areas in Long Island, specifically Fire Island and on the north shore, Sunken Meadow.

"We can already see benefits, benefits that the water is clearer. You can see the bottom," Nicole Maher, senior coastal scientist at the Nature Conservancy of Long Island, told WCBS 880.

A map of Fire Island, after superstorm Sandy
A map of Fire Island, after superstorm Sandy

"There are going to be dramatic improvements to those conditions and for kayakers who want better water access," she added.

Fire Island experience dramatic changes after the storm. Scientific scans show that its entire coastline was reconfigured.

"The dunes have moved substantially landward," Dr. Cheryl Hapke of the U.S. Geological Survey told WCBS 880 in December. "A lot of beach has eroded. And it's very dramatic in terms of the amount of change during the course of just one storm."

The benefits, Maher said, are huge and don't create additional flooding risk for the coastal communities.