(NECN: Brad Puffer, Truro, Mass.) - The beaches of Cape Codare a national treasure. But every yearcoastal storms give them a beating, eroding the shoreline. This year, the outer cape has already beenhit especially hard.
The crisp winter breeze,the lapping of the ocean waves, it's often all that can be heard in Truro thistime of year. These beach cottages arenow boarded up. But when touristsreturn to the outer Cape, they may find less beach than just a year before.
Al Silva: "The onlything that I can equate to this amount of erosion is the Blizzard of '78"
Al Silva is vicechairman of the town's conservation committee.He says an early January storm already ripped several feet of beach awayfrom the side facing Cape Cod Bay. Andnow another storm is on the way.
Al Silva: "You getup look at your property and hope it is still there in the morning."
Pillars holding upbulkheads were once covered in sand.Now they're fully exposed.Parking lots hang on the edge.Stairs have been ripped away.
Al Silva: "You'vegot to retreat back into the Dune that's left. So that whole stairway has gotto go that was just put in last year."
The bay side is not theonly concern. Last month's storms alsobattered the Cape Cod National Seashore. And now at least one home is just feetaway from being swept out to sea. Byfederal law, homeowners only option here is to move the house back, if theyhave the land.
Fifteen years ago or sothe dunes would have been right here. Earlier this year the dunes would havebeen about here. Well now the dunes arehere and they're going to keep eroding.
Charleen Greenhalgh: "Especiallypeople who are only here seasonally they are going to come down and go oh wowwhat happened, I had this nice bluff in front of my house and now it's reallygone."
Charleen Greenhalgh isassistant town administrator and the planner for Truro. With each storm that batters the coast comesbig concerns.
Charleen Greenhalgh: That'sour whole economy down here is really tourism and we do need to protect ourbeaches and have places for people to go and enjoy the community."
Erosion also means CapeCod Bay is creeping closer to Route 6A.The road runs along this narrow strip of land with water on bothsides. Underneath runs all the freshwater, communication lines and other utilities for Provincetown.
Al Silva: "If that roadgoes, gets compromised in any way, Provincetown has very very seriousproblems."
Renourishing the beachwith new sand is one solution, but it only lasts so long. Silva knows they must find new and betterways to fight back against Mother Nature.
Al Silva: "We'renot trying to stop her, because that's impossible but we are trying to livewith her and protect what is still here."
For now, they wait out another storm. Soon they will know how much moresand has been swept out to sea.