SALISBURY — With summer coming soon, many are wondering when the state Department of Conservation and Recreation will arrive with the $400,000 worth of sand promised to restore parts of Salisbury Beach ravaged by storms that hit last year.
But the job of rebuilding the dunes at Salisbury Beach involves more than just buying, trucking in and spreading sand. Research is still being done concerning the best method of sand distribution to ensure the sand placement offers as much protection as possible for both state and private property.
After a series of storms scoured out portions of the beach’s protective dune system in February and March of 2013, DCR, the agency that owns Salisbury Beach, last spring spent about $166,000 to bring in 15,000 cubic yards of sand to replenish small portions of the beach. But 15,000 cubic yards of sand was far less than what was needed to restore the hardest hit areas of the dunes in front of vulnerable homes between beach access ways 6 and 7.
With so much still needed to do to replenish the dunes, state Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, and state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, were able to get $300,000 earmarked in the FY2014 budget so DCR could purchase more sand to finish the job. According to Salisbury conservation agent Michelle Rowden, DCR will add $100,000 taken from the Salisbury Beach Preservation Trust Fund to augment the sum.
Money for the trust fund comes from a surcharge on parking and camping fees at the reservation, which was raised from $1 to $2 in last year’s budget.
Now that the money is available, the question has been when the sand will arrive and how to distribute it. According to Rowden, DCR is expected to appear before the Salisbury Conservation Commission for a hearing on May 7 on the Notice of Intent required for the agency to bring in the sand and spread to the areas between access ways 6 and 7, the areas hardest hit last year.