NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 23, 2013

Shifting sands

PI jetty repairs bring hope, as waiting game ensues

John Macone
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Editor’s note: This is the second of two parts on the current erosion on Plum Island and its parallels to erosion crises in the 1970s.

PLUM ISLAND — Walk along the stretch of beach at Annapolis Way and you will see an ugly jumble of rocks, concrete and debris that hasn’t seen the light of day since it was dumped there more than three decades ago.

They started poking out from the eroding dunes a few weeks ago, when storms started stripping away sections of the dunes. Two big storms — one at the end of December and the blizzard earlier this month — have left them fully exposed, and the once-robust dune behind them is a collapsing wreck. About a dozen homes sit perched at the edge of that damaged dune, some with their basement walls fully exposed. The sea-ravaged interior of their cellars is visible to passers-by.

For islanders who have watched the beach for decades, it’s an omen of bad times to come.

“There’s going to be a lot