Salisbury conservation agent Michele Rowden hadn’t reviewed DCR’s priority list, nor had she even known it was coming before seeing it at 6 p.m. Wednesday night, right before the Conservation Commission’s 7 p.m. meeting. But she had worked with DCR right after the March 8 storm tides carved away thousands of tons of sand from the beach, and had identified for the agency 22 hot spots badly needing restoration.
She believed at the time that the southern end of the beach had been spared the brunt of the storm, but the Beach Center and the dunes from 176 to 266 North End Blvd. (between access ways 6 and 8) sustained the worst damage from six ferocious high tides.
After she spent three hours Friday reviewing the beach with Forgione, Rowden stands by that assessment, which doesn’t jibe with DCR’s belief that fixing the access ways to the beach is the most vital. Although she and Harrington hope DCR can be persuaded to conform to the town’s opinion, they said, Salisbury doesn’t have the authority to force the issue.
“We can’t make them do what we want them to do on their own property. It’s like the town forcing someone to fix the roof on his house,” Rowden said. “But we can do everything in our power to encourage DCR to do what we feel is the most important.”
Salisbury’s state legislative delegation feels the same way. In a letter sent to DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert on Saturday, April 6, Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, thanked the agency for its present plan. But they politely suggest more is required. The legislators want more sand, more work and more money spent to shore up dunes in front of private homes where some of the worst erosion took place.