Plum Island Residents Fighting a Losing Battle
Throughout history man has built homes along the shorelines of the sea. We built fishing villages to provide sustenance to our people. Life on the seacoast has shifted from one of necessity of sustainability to one of luxury. Though some local people still making a living by harvesting the fruit of the sea these folks are far from living in the lap of luxury. The fact is the “average” person cannot afford to build an oceanfront home. Many of these homes are built for people who love to be near the ocean because it is indeed a beautiful place to live. They have the financial capabilities to build oceanfront and they do so for their own personal pleasures whatever they may be. Imagine building your dream home just a stone’s throw from the sea. The natural beauty of the ocean is appealing to just about everyone. To afford the ability of waking up to such a setting every day is a dream for many of us. I wonder do these privileged few take into consideration the fact that they are living on the edge of an ecosystem so vast and powerful that its beauty is rivaled only by its capacity for devastation and destruction under the right conditions. Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature on a rampage and every New Englander knows the weather here can in fact be hellacious. Unpredictability is the hallmark of New England weather and makes living on the seacoast exciting as you never know what you’re going to be facing from day to day. Many people who inhabit the oceanfront enjoy watching the sea churning and whipping up a good storm. I frequent the beach myself during such storms as it’s exciting to watch and the fresh ocean smell is invigorating to me. Personally I would never build oceanfront as it is more appealing to me to have a natural and pristine coastline. Oceanfront residents of Plum Island in Newbury, Massachusetts are locked in a losing battle against Mother Nature. The choice to build oceanfront homes for some of the Islands residents has turned out in retrospect to be a poor one. In March 2013 area residents faced several devastating nor’easters; these storms ravaged the coastline of Plum Island and the surrounding coastal areas as well. Three homes on Plum Island were quite literally taken apart by the encroaching wind and waves created by these super storms, they have since been demolished. Brian Ballou of The Boston Globe reported that” in addition to the three homes lost many more were deemed uninhabitable due to structural damages and approximately forty more were at significant risk of sustaining damage as a direct result of severe beach erosion”(Ballou 2). The fact is erosion has been around for millennia and is a force of nature that simply stated cannot be stopped by any means. Coastal environments depend on erosion to shape our shorelines which are in fact not “lines” at all but” transition areas situated between the land and the sea” as explained by the (Nantucket Coastal Conservancy), erosion is caused naturally by the action of wind, waves, currents and drainage the result is inevitable; the loss of sediment (sand) in some places and accretion of sediment in others. Erosion actually creates our islands and beaches it is an ongoing process of nature and is unavoidable. Attempts by man to stop or alter this natural process have been scientifically proven to result in degradation and the eventual destruction of the beaches themselves. Seacoast area residents are angry with the DEP for not allowing them to shore up their properties. Some of the ways people attempt to do this is by the use of “hard Structures” also referred to as beach armoring. Creating a barrier of such magnitude requires a lot of work. First you excavate the sand out from around the property or structure that is in danger then you surround that said structure with the chosen material. Once this step is completed you scrape the sand over the barriers the end result is intended to...
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