, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 17, 2013

Locals disappointed by state's beach repairs

Not enough sand taken to fix problem areas


The agency didn’t dip into the special Salisbury Beach Preservation Trust Fund created in 2008 to fight erosion and preserve the beach. Projected to produce $250,000 a year, the money comes from a $2 surcharge on parking and camping fees for reservation visitors. Questions about the trust fund were not answered yesterday by DCR officials.

As for why only 15,000 cubic yards were harvested from the sandbar created from sand that’s migrated there from Salisbury Beach, Port said after surveying the sandbar, the state could only harvest what had been deposited by the winter storms.

“DEP doesn’t normally allow artificially moving of sand within a beach system,” Port said. “They agreed in this case because the material was from the beach, landed on the west side of the jetty and was threatening the channel and would otherwise be lost to the beach system anyway.”

Selectmen Fred Knowles said after taking part in one of the conference calls concerning the erosion, he was surprised DCR wasn’t more responsive to fixing all of the beach. Knowles felt the agency’s only real concern related to the part of the shoreline that makes up the formal portion of Salisbury Beach State Reservation. State officials’ level of concern dropped significantly, he said, when the discussion involved fixing the obliterated dune system in the north end of the beach, which abuts private homes.

“It just didn’t seem to be one of the state’s priorities to make repairs to areas abutting the private property,” Knowles said. “They seemed to be willing to just kind of wait and hope the problem takes care of itself.”

The criticism is surprising, for usually Harrington and other local officials have maintained a good relationship with DCR in recent years. Harrington’s admitted the state’s lack of response to the situation is difficult to understand.

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