Plum Island Needs Your Help!

We need your help. In less than 30 seconds you can visit this page and contact Gov. Patrick’s office directly. Use the form there to ask that Plum Island residents be allowed to protect their homes, as the Mass Constitution states. Bennett Hill (see below) and others remain in imminent danger and the sewer and water system is only one storm away from destruction. It takes less than 30 seconds and can make a big difference!

Plum Island Bennett Hill Erosion

Bennett Hill in immediate danger of falling into the ocean.

Here’s What To Do

Go to this link:

Cut and paste the following into the subject line:

Help Plum Islanders protect their homes again after last week’s storm!

Cut and paste the following in the comment section:

Dear Governor Patrick,

At least two more homes, including the historic Bennett Hill house (built in
1880), and the Plum Island water/sewer system are being threatened by
erosion from last week’s storm. They may literally fall into the ocean
tomorrow 1/10 due to storm waves forecasted for tomorrow if nothing is done.

Just as you did last March, please work with DEP Commssionerr Kimmel to
immediately allow oceanfront homeowners to continue to do what is necessary,
with their own private funds, to protect their homes, as well as the Plum
Island’s water/sewer system.

A teleconference call with our local state representatives and Commissioner
Kimmel is to take place this afternoon. To ensure that we get the proper
response in that meeting to start work immediately, We need your support so
we can start work to save these homes. We still may be too late

We are simply completing the work we did last year for two individuals who
couldn’t afford it and repairing/maintaining the work that was done, but not
at a sufficient level.

Thank you for your continued support!

Please share this page with friends and family. All it will take are a few hundred letters to get their attention!

Eye On Weather: Preserving The Coastline After A Winter Beating

To say that last winter was a stormy one doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.


First there was Sandy, then the Blizzard in February and finally countless other powerful Nor’easters with huge helpings of wind and waves. The end result was a battered and bruised coastline that in some areas were completely rearranged. One of them was Plum Island.

“We’ve been losing houses down here for a century,” said Doug Packer, the conservation agent with the town of Newbury.

He’s been monitoring the erosion there for 20 years.

“When you have multiple tide cycles and you have storm surge that keeps the tide high, those waves will come in and take five feet of dune at a time or more and when you’re talking about a couple of hundred feet of dune in front of you, it doesn’t take long to get through it,” Packer told WBZ-TV.

That presents a huge problem for the residents of Plum Island who are in what seems to be a never ending battle with the sea, trying to keep their homes from falling in.

“During the height of the storm when both of my neighbors’ homes were being lost, these pilings on our deck were exposed 20 feet,” said Bob Connors.

He was one of lucky ones last winter, his house survived.

The same thing happened at several other beaches, including the Cape Cod National Seashore.

“Last winter carved out the beaches, scooped a lot of sand offshore and as the sand came back and built the beach, it left this river-like feature along the shoreline that sometimes had really fast tidal flow through it and might have seen like an extreme condition that people had never seen before,” Mark Adams told WBZ.

Adams helps oversee the preservation of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

“At Marconi Beach in Wellfleet and at Nauset Lake Beach in Eastham, there’s kind of a steep drop to the beach. We build stairways there for the public. They got swept away,” he said.

The dollars, year after year, really start to add up but there’s one local company that may have stumbled on an inexpensive solution.
It’s called biomimicry.

Cedar shims in place on the Cape Cod National Seashore. (WBZ-TV)

Cedar shims in place on the Cape Cod National Seashore. (WBZ-TV)

“You take a cedar shim, you put it in the sand. When the wind blows, it slows the wind down just a little bit and it starts dropping sand. It’s the beginning of a dune,” explained Gordon Peabody.

Peabody is the President of Safe Harbors in Wellfleet and they’ve seen some very encouraging results. Pointing to a new dune, he said the space was big enough to land an airplane several years ago.

“The ocean was coming through and destroying the marsh every few years and in a time span of just over two years, we were able to gain almost 24, 25 vertical feet here,” Peabody said.

And they did it at a fraction of the cost.

“What they’re putting in here cost maybe a total of $6. This is going to build the toe of this dune up maybe four, five, six feet this winter.”

Safe Harbors has a project now on the North Shore but it’s also spreading across the country. In California, biomimicry is being used to repair a 60-foot dune. There’s also a town in Australia trying it out.

[Source: CBS Boston]

Plum Island Foundation Accomplishments

Plum Island Foundation Accomplishments

Progress for Rebuilding Homes on Plum Island

Progress for rebuilding homes is moving slowly, but it is moving. Hopefully, Harry Trout’s approval is on the way. Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

DEP Removing Impediments to Rebuilding Plum Island Homes

Good news today! Good cop/Bad copy teamwork resulted in the DEP removing all impediments to rebuilding Plum Island homes. Read the full article, “DEP won’t intervene on Plum Island” in the Newburport News.

Update on Sand Mining

As you all heard through the Daily News and through our email announcement, Commissioner Ken Kimmell of the DEP has agreed to let us go forward with sand mining. We are in discussions with the DEP and David Vine (our engineer), and the Town of Newbury with Doug, Joe and Tracy.

We are working to maximize the sand yield, while minimizing the cost to homeowners and maintaining the profile of the beach to protect us all going forward. We are discussing this with David Vine, as noted above and a number of potential contracting firms that could do the work.

We are intending to accelerate the implementation of this process – hopefully during the last half of May. The Project has two phases:

  1. A pilot phase for 500 feet of the beach to implement the approach for maximum production at minimum cost. We will perform a survey first, then do the sand mining work, then conduct a survey after the work is completed, and then a re-examination 5 days after the work is performed to examine if the hole where the sand was dug has been replenished by the tides and the flow of sand. Please Note: The exact location of the pilot will be determined by a combination of the engineering requirements and getting all of the contiguous homeowners to commit to conduct the pilot together.
  2. A Complete implementation, pending approvals from various governmental agencies, for the 2,500 feet from Center Island down past Blue and tying into the reservation. This will require the same sequenced steps as outlined in #1 above. Step 2 is dependent upon the success of step #1.

We will need to hold a meeting to discuss all of this with impacted homeowners and neighbors. We are currently looking at a time in early May, possibly the weekend of 4th – 5th. Please be on the look-out for our announcement invitation, soon to follow this email.

Please note: Some of you requested the application proposal that we used with Commissioner Kimmell. That proposal is too long, and has too many drawing/pictures to be sent via email. We will be presenting all of this in detail for discussion at the upcoming meeting. We will need to work together to agree upon the approach and our need to continue to stand together to make this happen.

In addition to the short term solution of sand mining, the DEP, the Town of Newbury, and the Plum Island Foundation have agreed to form a Working Group that will meet periodically and work with homeowners toward a more global and sustainable long term solution for the Island.

Sincerely with you,
Marc Sarkady
President, Plum Island Foundation
on behalf of Board members Steve DeSalvo, Mark Friery, Hooks Johnston, Tom Costello, Ralph Cox and David Geiger

State to Allow ‘Sand Mining’ on Plum Island Beach

We’re happy to announce that the commissioner of the state department of Environmental Protection has given Plum Island homeowners permission to “mine” sand in an effort to replenish the dunes. Kenneth Kimmell, in a letter to Marc Sarkady, the president of the Plum Island Foundation, yesterday said,

“The department will not oppose implementation of this project on a one-time basis, subject to requirements outlined in your proposal and conditions of local wetlands emergency certification.”

Read the full story in the Daily News at