Dredging of the Merrimac River continued Thursday, Oct. 7, after several days of bad weather brought all work to a stop. The storms earlier in the week contributed to continued erosion of the Plum Island Beaches. The Newburyport Daily News reported that the “roughly 330-foot-long dredge Illinois remained dormant due to rough weather. The Illinois is dredging up an estimated 147,000 cubic yards of sand from the mouth of the river and depositing it along Plum Island and Salisbury beaches. The first phase of the project, replenishing roughly 1,500 feet of Salisbury Beach with 36,000 cubic yards of sand, was completed late last month.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Tim Duggan said the dredge has been inactive since Friday, as weather conditions have made it “too dangerous” for the crew to work safely.”
Crowds gather daily at the Plum Island Beach center parking lot to watch the work in progress, as a project of this magnitude has never taken place here on the Island. In the meantime, island residences have to deal with the bright lights and noise that permeates the evening air, as workers continue positioning the newly deposited sand on the beach with bulldozers and other heavy machinery.
Is it worth it? Those living on the island, as well as those who come to enjoy its natural beauty think so.