NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 4, 2013

New way to preserve Plum Island dunes examined

(Continued)

But the city of Newburyport has a standing beach management committee, and members appear to be examining numerous options in an attempt to provide greater protection to homes along the ocean.

Joe Teixeira, chairman of the Conservation Commission, yesterday said, “I think it’s a great idea. It’s basically snow fencing slats spread out to act like wide adjustable dune grass. It’s simple, very effective and really inexpensive.”

The pilot program was developed by Safe Harbor, a small Wellfleet company that provides environmental permitting and management services for construction projects and habitat restoration projects.

Safe Harbor representatives recently addressed Newburyport conservation leaders.

Officials say that shims, or thin stakes, can be purchased for $2 a pack for 42.

One pack can cover an area of 10 feet by 10 feet, authorities say.

Officials of Safe Harbor say they relinquished proprietary interest in the system in January, and thus what its system is now in the public domain.

City Councilor Allison Heartquist, who represents Plum Island, yesterday said, “There’s no time like the present to begin some long-term planning for the areas where we still have a chance to reinforce and rebuild our dunes.

“The techniques being pioneered by Safe Harbor have proven remarkably successful on Cape Cod, even in overwash areas.”

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