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Can Marsh Conservation Save Local Homes Prone To Beach Erosion?

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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SALISBURY (CBS) – Conservationists along the North Shore of Massachusetts are taking a different approach to protecting the coastline from storm erosion, flooding, and rising sea levels. They’re pulling weeds.

“It’s almost like a natural seawall,” says Newbury Selectman Geoff Walker pointing to a marsh in Salisbury. He’s working on a program to save local marshes from non-native invasive weeds like Phragmitis and Pepperweed. “The Phragmitis can displace a healthy salt marsh.”

They’ve received a state grant to spray chemicals on the weeds and cut them in the fall. They believe that restoring marshes will help restore the entire coastline. “We’re using nature to fight nature,” says Walker.

“All these things work in harmony,” explains Peter Phippen, who’s the coastal coordinator for MassBays National Estuary Program. “And when you have all the natural systems working together, you have much more resiliency against things like sea level rise, storm surge and such.”

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