SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 24, 2008

Plum Island: Mother Nature, Man contribute to erosion

(Continued)

"There is some thought that that might be contributing to the erosion taking place right now," he said.

The groins, also massive stone structures, run perpendicular to the beach and the ocean. The purpose of the groins is to slow the movement of sand along the coastline. They work by preventing the waves from moving sand by trapping it and not allowing it to move.

But scientists, including Rebecca Haney of the state's Coastal Management Zone, say groins can often prevent erosion in one place but cause problem in others. The practice of building groins, in fact, is not used very often anymore, Haney said.

"By trapping sand in one location you can have effects on someone else, basically causing erosion," she said.

In the end, though, no matter if it is the jetties, the groins or the federal government fighting, Matthews said, it is Mother Nature that is in control.

"The tide and the way the ocean goes, it is like a bulldozer," he said. "I think it is going to be a constant battle. Like they say, you can't beat Mother Nature."

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