It's on us. Share your news here.

Local efforts to restore Salisbury Beach nearly complete

Posted on March 6, 2024

After months of coordination between the town and state, local efforts to remedy a damaged Salisbury Beach dune and secure beach properties are nearly complete.

“As of now, we expect the total project to be completed by March 8,” Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change President Tom Saab said in an email he sent to SBCFC members.

Formed nearly 13 years ago, SBCFC is a nonprofit organization that strives to improve the quality of life in the beach area.

The group first became involved in restoring the beach when officials filed an emergency action in January that allowed residents to begin replacing sand to the damaged dune system around their homes.

At the time, State. Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Town Manager Neil Harrington explained the process on Salisbury Community Television but also stressed folks would be on their own until the state and town can hammer out a long-term solution for the erosion at the beach.

They assured residents they were doing what they could to streamline the process in terms of hiring contractors, purchasing materials and paying bills.

A day after Tarr and Harrington appeared on TV, local officials and Department of Conservation and Recreation representatives held an emergency meeting Jan. 25 with roughly 40 beach residents.

Following that meeting, H.A. Richard & Sons contractor Henry Richard Jr. was hired by residents to replace their sand – with SBCFC playing the role of facilitator. Richards began dumping sand in the beginning of February, but his work only offers a short-term solution.

“I’m hoping that we will see some discussion or some commitment from the state to help the town move forward with a larger project,” Selectman Mike Colburn said, after learning that local efforts were nearly complete.

Once the project is completed, SBCFC will have collected approximately $550,000 from private property owners and will have overseen the placement of 13,000 to 14,000 cubic tons of sand, according to Saab.

Colburn said he is relieved that folks were able to get some relief.

“I am glad that we are able to move forward and the town is able to give the residents the ability to move forward,” Colburn said.

Acknowledging the efforts made to streamline the permitting process by the town and DCR, Saab shared his belief that the process should have been waived entirely.

“Especially since all of the property owners were paying for 100% of the sand and 100% of the placement of sand out of their own pockets,” Saab said.

He said he understands the town is subject to the state regulations, but expressed frustration at how those regulations restrict residents from protecting the beach at their properties.

“SBCFC will continue to fight for the rights of Salisbury Beach property owners,” Saab said.

A DCR spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

Erosion at Salisbury Beach has been going on for some time, dating back to December 2022 when the initial damage from nor’easter Elliott occurred.

Local leaders first learned during a Salisbury Beach Resiliency Subcommittee meeting May 4 that the Department of Conservation and Recreation had shut down points 8, 9 and 10 for a year due to beach erosion caused by the nor’easter. Points 9 and 10 were reopened the Friday before Memorial Day, with point 8 restored just before the Fourth of July.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe