Marshfield, Mass. Residents Say Seaweed Ruining Beach

A dip at the beach is one way to beat the heat, but some residents in Marshfield, Massachusetts, say their piece of the shore is being ruined and the town will not do anything about it.

There is so much seaweed at Ocean Bluff Beach, those who live near it can barely see the sand. They say it happens every year, but this year is particularly bad, and with the seaweed is mounting, so is their frustration.

“This used to be a nice, sandy beach” Michael Fay said. “Not right now between the flies, the smell and the bacteria.”

It is tough to get rid of and it only gets worse as the tide goes out. In the past, some neighbors have tried to remove it themselves.

“I got a pitchfork and tried to get it off my stairs, but I couldn’t lift it,” Jerry Shea said, who lives right along the beach.

Fay took his complains to town officials who said they understand it is an issue, but they cannot step into help.

“Cleaning it can cause more disruption than good,” Bill Grafton, conservation administrator for the town of Marshfield said. “This provides a habitat for a number of different type of animals like crabs and lobsters.”

Grafton says the Wetlands Protection Act means the town legally cannot remove it. Town Manager Rocco Longo says even if they could, they also would not have the resources or the manpower to waste on removing the seaweed that would likely come back.

“You’d have to lift up the rocks. You’d have to move the seaweed out. It’s almost impossible, but that’s not the reason we don’t do it,” Longo said. “The reason we haven’t done it is the ecological reasons.”

Fay says he does not buy that explanation especially after hearing the town cleaned up seaweed at another beach.

Town officials argue that beach was sandy not rocky like Ocean Bluff, where they say they will have to wait for mother nature to take care of it.

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