Flooding

Grant Money Will Help Plum Island Look at Long-Term Flood Mitigation Plans

In the coming weeks, approximately 230,000 cubic yards of sand will be dumped on hard-hit stretches of Plum Island - but the dredging is just one step on their flooding mitigation journey

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Every time the winds start to spike, so do the stress levels on Plum Island.

"It is nerve-wracking," said Maureen Adams. "I really feel like it has taken some years off my life, it is just very stressful."

Adams lives on a section of Plum Island that in recent years has been prone to severe flooding. Every time a storm is in forecast, she gets ready, including on Tuesday.

"We were ready to evacuate, we have some pets, so that is always a concern that we need to pack them up," she said. 

Adams estimates she has lost about 700 feet of dunes in front of her house in the last five or so years.

Since, there have been several floods. Tuesday was a close call.

“We didn't get flooded out this time so that was great, it just came up to the front of the house,” she said.

There may be hope on the horizon though. 

Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon says a dredging company out of Virginia is headed to the region. In the coming weeks, approximately 230,000 cubic yards of sand will be dumped on hard-hit stretches of Plum Island.

"Getting this dredge started and getting this sand back on the beach will be a big relief to a lot of people," Reardon said.

The dredging is just the first part of the solution though. The mayor says the city recently also was awarded a grant to study more long-term solutions.

"That sand is not going to stick around for long once we get it on there, so if we really want to make this investment worth it, and have this sand continue to stay on that area, then fixing the jetty, whatever they determine that to be through the study, is the real important part," he said.

According the mayor, the dredging company should be in place in the coming weeks, and the work will take a week or so to complete.

"Every storm is say your prayers and cross your fingers," Reardon said. "Until the sand starts getting put back on the beach, then we will take a little bit of relief."

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