State Delegation Calls for Severe Weather Emergency Declaration in Salisbury

The state legislative delegation is requesting the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) declares a Severe Weather Emergency Declaration in the Town of Salisbury.

In a letter to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen A. Theoharides, dated February 23, State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) calls for both an emergency declaration and the providing of the Town of Salisbury with sand for dune nourishment. The letter was co-signed by State Senator Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) and State Representatives Jim Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) and Lenny Mirra (R-Georgetown).

The call for an emergency declaration comes amidst severe sand dune erosion at Salisbury Beach, the result of increasingly harsh and more frequent storms along the coast.

“Residents who live in Salisbury, particularly on North End Boulevard, are in a dire situation,” said DiZoglio. “The sand dunes in that area are rapidly being eroded. This must be addressed as soon as possible. We can use the example of what is happening in the Reservation Terrace area of the City of Newburyport as a reference of why immediate action must be taken. Residents there are seeing major flooding of their homes and destruction of their property. If we do not act quickly, we are going to see history repeat itself in Salisbury.”

“The recent coastal storms have caused extensive damage to homes on Salisbury Beach and have compromised our protective dunes,” said Bill Greilich, president of the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association. “This erosion is putting homes and public recreation areas at immediate risk of significant, irreversible harm and is a clear illustration of the challenges our beach property owners and community face. An emergency response is urgently required along with long-term strategic planning. The Salisbury Beach Betterment Association (SBBA) is grateful for the work that Sens. Diana DiZoglio and Bruce Tarr and Rep. Jim Kelcourse have been doing on behalf of Salisbury Beach and is hopeful that this Emergency Declaration is approved as soon as possible.”

“Over the years I have personally experienced many storms at Salisbury Beach including the Blizzard of ’78, No Name Storm of 1991, Nor’easters in 2008, 2013 and 2018, and now these two in December 2020 and February 2021,” said Tom Saab, president of Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change. “We continually work together to rebuild dunes and make every effort to protect our properties. However, what we must have is for the state to cooperate by declaring an emergency as they have done in the past and then assist us by providing us with sand. We, as homeowners, will then provide and pay for the contractors and equipment to do the work needed from that point on. Without an emergency declaration from the state, it becomes much more difficult and sometimes impossible for property owners to rebuild dunes and protect their properties from further damage that will surely come from future storms. The key to protecting beachfront properties, once again, is an emergency declaration from the state.”