NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 8, 2013

Update: Plum Island house collapses, more homes in peril

Awaiting next high tide

(Continued)

The 200-yard stretch of homes along Annapolis Way have borne the brunt of erosion problems over the past several months. Two years ago, a home about 50 yards north of 41 Annapolis Way was demolished when the dune underneath it was compromised and its concrete foundation began to fall apart. Another home was built on the same lot, though not as close to the dune edge.

However in recent weeks, the erosion problem has started to migrate southward, along Fordham Way to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. In all, there are about two dozen seaside homes that have seen their waterside dunes severely eroded by recent storms.

Annapolis Way is located about 100 yards south of the Beach Center. Five years ago, it was the Beach Center and the dunes stretching 300 yards north of it that were taking a severe pounding. The federal and state governments spent $5.1 million to pump in sand to that stretch of beach, as well as a section of Salisbury Beach. The project stabilized the erosion problem at the Beach Center, however the problem simply shifted to the south.

Some believe that the presence of a sandbar offshore plays the crucial role in determining where erosion occurs. A narrow sandbar, located about 100 to 200 yards offshore, stretches along the northern end of the island. It ends just north of Annapolis Way. Areas that are behind the sandbar have seen their beach grow, while areas that are not protected by the sandbar have been suffering some of the worst erosion.

 

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