On Tuesday, Sagg Pond in Sagaponack was "cut" — that is to say, a trench from the pond to the ocean was dug to allow the pond to flow out into the ocean.
Southampton Town Trustee Jon Semlear explained that Sagg Pond — and Mecox Bay to the west — are each cut about six times a year for a number of reasons.
For one, basements at surrounding homes begin to flood if the water level is allowed to rise above a certain point, Semlear said. Additionally, when the water table is high, the potato farms in Sagaponack do not dry out when they should, to allow the farmers to harvest their crops.
Cutting the pond also allows water to flow back and forth from the pond to the ocean, which is good for the water quality of the pond, Semlear added.
Mecox Bay was opened two weeks ago, he said. “It looked like we might have made it to after Labor Day on Sagg Pond, but we had those heavy downpours."
Sagg Pond is fed by stormwater, groundwater and Sagg Swamp to the north, he said.
The trench was dug around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday using an excavator, Semlear said. Though it starts only 8 to 10 feet wide, within a few hours the flow of water widens the trench to 100 feet. "It's quite a sight to see," he said.
The cut then closes itself back up with sand.
“Sometimes it's closed in a few days, sometimes it take a couple weeks," Semlear said. “It all depends on what the ocean conditions are."
The rougher the ocean water, the faster the cut closes, he explained.
Photos by Cully/EEFAS. Words by Brendan J. O'Reilly.