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Plum Island Residents Get OK For Beach Scraping

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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Jim Armstrong is an Emmy-award winning reporter who joined WBZ-TV in...
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PLUM ISLAND (CBS) – Heavy construction equipment was at work Friday night on Plum Island, where neighbors have reason to fear the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

That tiny piece of land – and the homes built on it – is often at high risk during storms, mostly due to massive erosion.

On Friday night, homeowner Bob Connors was among those hard at work, moving tons of beach sand into position, to help protect their property.

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“We’re no strangers to hurricanes; we’re just trying to be properly prepared,” Connors says, “so that if we do get a strong storm surge or a direct hit, we’ve taken all the precautions that we can as homeowners.”

It took approval at the state, local, and federal levels to allow this “sand-scraping” to happen. Tons of sand has to be pushed from the shoreline and up the beach, where it gets shaped into a giant dune, meant to blunt the impact of Sandy’s waves.

“Instead of a big run-up you get a gradual nibbling at the sand you’ve put here,” explains Doug Packer, the town of Newbury’s conservation agent. “As that sand falls down in front, it becomes sacrificial and it comes out here, back into the intertidal area.”

State Senator Bruce Tarr watched the work happen with what he says was a sense of pride that his office was able to work with all the other agencies necessary in order to get the permits for this to happen so quickly.

Tarr says he is “very hopeful” that the sand-scraping will work.

“It will certainly provide us with some level of protection,” Tarr says. “I don’t think there’s anyone who can tell you exactly how much until we actually see the storm’s results.

But we know this: by doing this, we’re a lot better off than we would have been without that protection.”

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