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March 23, 2013

State to rebuild beach

Storm-ravaged area is focus of sand-mining effort

SALISBURY BEACH — Sand could be shifting in the town’s favor soon, as the state agency that owns Salisbury Beach indicates its intent to mine the north jetty sandbar and transport its sand back to replenish the shore’s dune system that was devastated during the March 8 storm.

State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor-Ives, D-Newburyport, and Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, brought the good news to Salisbury Chamber of Commerce members at their legislative dinner Thursday night. Both legislators had a late afternoon conference call with state agency officials, including Commissioner Ed Lambert, who heads the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the beach.

By the end of the phone call, both legislators came away with the belief that tangible help is hopefully a matter a few weeks away.

“DCR has an action plan to nourish Salisbury Beach and harvest the sand from the sandbar at the north jetty,” Costello said. “The plan is to renourish the Beach Center, 22 hot spots and the beach access ways. DCR is sending out engineers to the jetty to survey the sandbar this weekend to see how much sand is there and how much of the excess sand they can move to Salisbury Beach.”

However, Costello said, a critical part of the plan isn’t finalized. That’s finding the $250,000 to $500,000 to do the work with only three months left in DCR’s fiscal year. However, Costello added, he firmly believes a lack of money won’t prevent the plan from being implemented in a timely fashion.

“Commissioner Lambert didn’t make a commitment that he had the money, but he made a commitment that he’d look for the money,” Costello said. “They wouldn’t be down there this weekend identifying the sand to be moved, if they weren’t planning to move the sand.”

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