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Nantucket Beach Erosion | A Disappearing Island

Opponents of the project, like fisherman Josh Eldridge, followed up their sudden victory with both a willingness to help SBPF find a more agreeable solution and some concern over what the group’s idea for a new erosion fix might just be. “[Killing the proposal] is going to help them out with the island right away. They do have a problem,” says Eldridge. “But look, you’re dealing with a lot of old Yankees out here, and so after they withdrew, a morbid dread kind of set in — a feeling of What are they going to do now?

Just exactly what the ‘Sconset home¬≠owners are going to do is uncertain. Weymar says he hopes that SBPF can help the island create the coastal-zone management plan so that residents can vote on it at next year’s Town Meeting. If that happens, it’s possible, he says, that he and others will have regrouped enough by then to put together a new proposal for combating erosion as well. But they’ll have to contend with the hangover from this most recent defeat first.

“There’s been a lot of talk about working together, and I’m going to take it at face value, but my confidence is marginal that we can find a solution that’s acceptable to everyone,” predicts Weymar. “We didn’t expect this level of opposition. It was too technical, and it got quite emotional — people claiming environmental catastrophe. But I do think we raised the consciousness that erosion is an island-wide problem.”


Around the same time that SBPF was making a move to withdraw its proposal, builders, in a curious display of optimism, were putting the finishing touches on Baxter Road’s newest home, not far from Weymar’s house. Nearby the tide was moving in, and the water was taking aim at its target.

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Read more about Cape Cod’s shifting shoreline and follow a link to historic maps: Nantucket’s Shifting Shoreline

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Ian Aldrich


Ian Aldrich


Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.
Updated Thursday, August 15th, 2013

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2 Responses to Nantucket Beach Erosion | A Disappearing Island

  1. chet holmes September 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    hello, read the article on the erosion problem in nantucket,im afraid there fighting a losing battle,and that mother nature will prevail, i for one would like to see a moratorium on any more building on the coast? other than state and federal parks so everyone can enjoy the coast,i remember when they ran the poor portugese fisherman out of new bedford and put in dockominiams, for the select few that could afford them,wazzup with that? gloucester and cape ann is starting the same thing, owell tyme will tell i imagine cheers chet ps i love your magazine

  2. Steve Merrill October 22, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    I will never understand the building of homes and the thought process of government leaders/elected officials that allow these actions to take place.the New England way of life is disappearing fast.As a recreational fisherman I can empathise with Mr.Eldridge and others who appreciate the wondrous beauty and the bounties that nature has to offer.Ecological destruction,let’s be honest, that’s really what it is, on the coastlines and inland in forests change this planet forever.I am amazed at the silence most times of environmental groups,some of which I am a member and/or contributor to.I wonder at times when I see mansions or developments built what contributions were made by these folks to environmental groups for there “silence”.Pristine coasts and forests where access was available to all,shut out forever for the few to enjoy.People have a right to develop their land but that right stops with me when it becomes a detriment to others.But what do I know.I am not a bleeding heart liberal or right wing.I am just a working stiff who is amazed at the wonder and power of mother nature everytime I go to the sea and forests to fish or take a walk.i pray the stripers are there 100 yrs from now in ‘sconset for all to fish and enjoy and the cobble not destroyed for the sake of a house.

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