GET FREE E-MAIL UPDATES: SEND US YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITH COASTAL IN THE SUBJECT LINE

The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.

3/20/10

STORM CHANGES POPHAM BEACH'S FUTURE FOR THE BETTER

WMTW - The Morse River has finally changed its course and no longer threatens the beach and new bathhouses at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, according to Maine Department of Conservation officials.

The radical shift in the river channel is expected to result in coming years in an even larger beach area for visitors to the popular beach, said officials with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and Maine Geological Survey.

The new beach already was beginning to form, and while it still will be narrow this spring at high tide, the summer beach area will be "better than last year with the promise of being spectacular by the summer of 2012," Stephen Dickson, marine geologist with the Maine Geological Survey, said Thursday.

"There will be more beach-blanket space," Dickson promised, adding that it "ends the threat of erosion to the new bathhouses."

"This is certainly what we've been looking and hoping for, for the Morse River to return to its original channel and allow the beach to rebuild itself," Will Harris, BPL director, said. "Once the beach gets re-established, we know that rebuilding the dunes will take time, but this is a necessary first step."

Erosion had threatened the beach, dunes and new $1.4 million bathhouses constructed at the park as the river washed sand out to sea.

Geologists predicted that the problem would ease when a break occurred in a sandbar that had built out from the neighboring Seawall Beach.

The break, or breach as geologists call it, has been seen forming for several months and had been getting deeper with each storm. Meanwhile, temporary tree barricades were constructed earlier this year and successfully slowed down the river's erosion of the dunes along the park beach.

Nature's progress in creating the sand bar breach was slow until the Feb. 25-26 storm, with its coastal flooding followed by days of extremely high tides. There had been other big winter storms working at the breach, but that storm, followed by a period of extended high tides, "let the low spot deepen into a full channel and set a new direction for the Morse River in about a week's time," as state geologists had predicted, Dickson explained.

Such a major shift in a river channel "is extremely rare in Maine, and for Popham Beach might occur once in every 20 to 30 years," Dickson said. He described Popham Beach as "the most dynamic beach in the state" because of the Morse River's movement.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home