NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 17, 2013

State allows 'sand mining' on Plum Island beach

(Continued)

But Kimmell said that the urgency of the situation requires action, and his department is approving mining on a short-term basis.

Sarkady yesterday said he did not know when mining could begin, because paperwork must be completed,

He suggested it would be at least four weeks before the mining could start and “We’d like to have it completed by the end of summer when storm season begins.”

The cost of the project will be sustained by oceanside homeowners, state officials say.

Sarkady was circumspect in identifying how many are currently giving money for the rock and sand that has been deposited in recent weeks. but he said that during a given year, “the organization has about 300 contributors and an email list of about 1,200.”

Kimmel, who listened to residents’ concerns at a public meeting here several weeks ago, stressed that state officials are encouraging the town to find a long-term solution to the challenges of a rising sea and eroding shorelines.

“We reiterate our position that the sand-mining proposal, if implemented, will not by itself ensure the protection of people’s homes and should be viewed only as one short-term step in a much larger strategy.”

He urged the town and its residents to consider bringing in sand from other sources, and to consider elevating as many homes as possible.

State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who has worked closely with town and state officials on Plum Island issues, said, “The DEP’s cooperation is an important development. Much still has to be done, including monitoring the results of Phase 1.

“Marbled into the DEP’s letter of approval is that mining is a short-term solution. State officials want the town to consider all the options in dealing with the changes on Plum Island, now and in the future.”

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