What’s Happening at Reel Point

April 18, 2018

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

Conservation News

Reel Point is an incredibly fragile preserve on the end of Ram Island, at the entrance to Coecles Harbor from Gardiners Bay.

Donated to the Trust in 1995 by the Stern family, Reel Point is a barrier beach. The changing shorelines and seasonal storms - especially the Nor’easters that have hit Long Island particularly hard this winter — have impacted surrounding areas. And this beach is no exception.

The protection of Reel Point has been in the news lately. You can check out recent articles in both the Shelter Island Reporter and Newsday.

Over the years, through the support of donors and volunteers, the Trust has worked to replant beach grass to help reduce erosion. Unfortunately, those efforts have not been successful over time.


cover photo from recent Newsday article on Reel Point, Friday, April 13, 2018. Photo by Randee Dadona for Newsday

In order to better understand the conditions and to determine the next course of action, the Trust, in conjunction with the Town of Shelter Island, commissioned a study in the fall of 2016 by the engineering firms LKB Consulting Engineers and First Coastal Corporation.

The report has been under review by our stewardship staff led by Matt Swain and the Town of Shelter Island. Proposed actions outlined by the engineers included everything from just allowing nature to take its course to a multi-million dollar remediation program. Cost for the report was approximately $40,000, and was shared by the Trust and the Town.

In March 2018, the Trust in partnership with the Town of Shelter Island, decided on the next course of action and have engaged First Coastal for a Project Design and Development plan, which would include drawings, design and cost estimates for the stabilization of Reel Point. The cost for this report is $13,990 — which will also be shared by the Trust and the Town.

The plan they are providing focuses on the stablization of point with sand from local dredged materials and installation of cobblestones or other stones along the shoreline to break up the wave action before it comes onto the shoreline.

The deliverables from the project plan include:

  • Site plan and cross section of Reel Point
  • Construction narrative
  • Materials volume calculations
  • Grain size compatibility analysis
  • Equipment, material and personnel requirements
  • Project management estimates

We expect to receive the plan from First Coastal this summer, which will provide material and cost calculations. The Trust is currently researching the necessary regulatory permits, and once the report is received, the Trust and the Town will discuss applying for the necessary regulatory permits and the funding for those permits.

At that time, we will look at funding options for the stabilization project, including grants and private fundraising.

The Trust raised $29,580 in 2016 from the Shelter Island community which is covering half of the current expenses, with the Town contributing the other 50 percent through a grant to the Trust. We thank the more than 28 individuals and families who donated to this effort.


For those of you who follow the ospreys that call Reel Point home, the osprey pole has been relocated to a more secure area on the point — and has already welcomed its seasonal tenants home.

If you have additional questions related to Reel Point Preserve, please feel free to contact Matt Swain, Senior Stewardship Manager at or Pam Greene, Senior Vice President at Both can also be reached by phone at 631.283.3195.

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