Beach Erosion Main Concern for Plum Island, Mass. - NECN

Beach Erosion Main Concern for Plum Island, Mass.



    Beach erosion main concern for Plum Island, Mass.

    The beaches there have already been hit hard by several storms this winter (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Lauren Collins, Plum Island, Mass.) - Siblings Jeff Jones and Cheryl Comeau know the storm will try to take their house Thursday night.

    "We made a saw cut this morning in this deck. So it's now going to break away. This lower part is going to fall down the dune and we'll have the upper part will still be in tact," said Jones.

    The Jones family has owned this home since the 1970s. It's one of the few along Plum Island's southern shore that hasn't been declared uninhabitable.

    "This isn't our second house. We're not off in Florida. We're carpenters," said Comeau, pointing out the island is historically home to many blue collar people.

    "Everything was fine up until about 2010. And then we started noticing a dramatic change. An unnatural rate of erosion," said Bob Connors of Annapolis Way.

    Connors and his wife rebuilt their Annapolis Way home strong enough to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. Steel posts support the structure while his neighbors' foundations crumble in the waves. Since Christmas he's lost 40 feet of dune, which is most of the beach in front of his house. Now there are coconut fiber sand bags designed to protect what's left.

    "You start doing all the emergency measures you can just to protect yourself for the next storm," said Connors.

    It's all these battered homeowners can do. State environmental regulations prevent them from rebuilding the lost dunes or constructing seawall even though they're willing to pay for it themselves.

    "We figured it out. It's only going to cost each homeowner $2,000 a piece to hire a private bulldozer to put back the primary dune," said Comeau.