SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 31, 2008

A beloved resort erodes Gradually, Salisbury Beach washes away

(Continued)

In addition to the depletion of the offshore glacial delta, Haney said, sea-level rises have also been responsible for problems at Salisbury beach. The historic rise of sea level is about 1 foot per hundred years, Haney said.

"That sea level rise also puts pressure on barrier beaches and causes the beach to try to shift landward," Haney said.

Also to be taken into consideration is weather and the frequency, severity, direction and duration of storms, she said.

Taken as a whole, Haney said, the net change and result for Salisbury Beach currently is a state of erosion.

Hughes agrees with Haney. There are areas of erosion along the beach, he said, especially along the south end at Atlantic Avenue. It was the area most severely affected last year during the three-day storm that started on Patriots Day, he said.

Hughes and the Conservation Commission ordered the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns all the seaside land on Salisbury Beach from the dunes to the waves, to develop a long-term maintenance plan for Salisbury Beach as one of the conditions for the emergency permit it granted DCR last year after the Patriots Day storm. The permit allowed DCR to truck in 20,000 cubic yards of sand to shore up teetering homes along Atlantic Avenue, as well as repair public pathways to the beach, which had lost so much sand they were dangerous to the public.

Hughes said DCR is overdue in filing its required long-term beach maintenance plan with the commission, something he hopes will soon be remedied.

Hughes told selectmen recently he's hoping the plan will include emergency plans for the beach, such as stockpiling sand for use to fortify the beach during storms, he said.

"What we need is sand stockpiled for the next crisis," Hughes said. "Sandbags aren't going to help much. We need truckloads to put in front of houses."

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