Kicked in the groin

Beach Sand Erosion on Plum IslandThere’s something of the Bible in this photo – the parable of a house built on sand….

The Atlantic seaboard moves billions of tons of sand north and south in bars and humps carved by waves and currents. And over many decades, hundreds of jetty, groin and dredging projects have kept the sand where we want it.

It’s worked so far. For years, lots have been sold and banks have been happy to offer mortgages. The Army Corps of Engineers have built jetties to keep sand out of rivers for boats and fishing and built groin to trap sand along the coastline. But the jetties and groins are breaking down.

What’s a groin?
Sometimes the term jetty is misused. You see, many times people point to a jetty but they’re really pointing to a groin. A Jetty is a structure used at an inlet or to keep sand from flowing into a ship channel. A Groin is a wall built perpendicular to the shoreline that traps sand to keep the beach – to keep the sand under the house.

When a groin breaks down, the sand moves away and the coastline erodes. Massive sand humps are moving several hundred yards into the ocean. In this case, according to the Newburyport News, sand coming down the Merrimack River is no longer trapped and is being washed away. Tides are pushing water up and down the river, and the sand is migrating along the coast in a series of sand bars, basically sand humps that run roughly parallel to the shore deposited by Atlantic currents. The sand is migrating away.

Kicked in the groin
“I’m homeless. I have no home,” said Geraldine Buzotta, 78, who had lived in the home for 43 years.

The locals have had no luck convincing Congress to repair the groin. The Army Corps of Engineers has no money saying there are no funds in Washington.

Sand can be managed when the projects are funded. As times goes on and codes improve, of course we shouldn’t build on sand, but while we’re trading away huge tables of gold in Washington, who’s getting the money? That’s a story in the Bible too.