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March 22, 2013

Beach alliance to meet Tuesday

NEWBURY - The Merrimack River Beach Alliance will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Firemen’s Memorial Hall adjacent to Town Hall here.

MRBA officials had tentatively slated a meeting for today, but now they say the gathering will be held Tuesday.

Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency are scheduled to attend.

The MRBA is composed of local officials from Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. Other members include state leaders from agencies that represent the interests of conservation, environment and emergency services.

State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, is co-chair of the organization, along with Jerry Klima, a selectman in Salisbury.

State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and state Rep. Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury, frequently attend, as do members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Organization members say they will focus on erosion problems at Plum Island, and what can be done to curb damage. Six houses have been destroyed and removed, and about two dozen others are listed as vulnerable.

The MRBA has been discussing the matter for almost a year, but erosion damage in recent weeks has increased the concern of both residents and officials.

Several oceanside homeowners have placed “hard structures” such as loose rock and cut stone in front of their homes for the purpose of protecting their dunes.

DEP officials said the residents do not have permits to take such action, and this position could be clarified at the upcoming meeting.

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