Duxbury Beach Copes with Damage from Large Storms

By: Aidan Taberner

Duxbury Beach protects  Duxbury and neighboring towns from violent storms coming off the Atlantic
Duxbury Beach protects Duxbury and neighboring towns from violent storms coming off the Atlantic

Duxbury Beach has served as a barrier for the violent storms that seek to batter the coastlines of Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth. The Duxbury Beach Reservation Incorporation (DBRI) works to preserve the protection of this barrier beach.

According to current president Margaret Kearney, the DBRI asked the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to help cover the cost of the storm damage made by the storms of 2013. FEMA rejected the application due to new guidelines stating they do not reimburse places that are considered “recreational.” The organization has since appealed this decision with a team of lawyers and are awaiting an answer from FEMA in regards to the reimbursement.

According to the Duxbury Beach book by current president of the Duxbury Beach Reservation Incorporation (DBRI) Mrs. Margaret Kearney and other contributors, Duxbury Beach is a barrier beach, meaning it acts as an ocean barrier, protecting the bay and waterfront areas from erosion. Without this protection, much of the surrounding waterfront areas would be washed away by the ocean’s tides.

The large storms and hurricanes that strike the beach often cause damage to the sand and dunes, but some storms can have catastrophic effects. The Duxbury Beach Book states that on Oct. 31. 1991, the famous “no-name” storm or as it’s also known as  “the perfect storm,” slammed Duxbury Beach after a vicious northeaster collided with Hurricane Grace near Nova Scotia. The storm, which lasted from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31, did over a million dollars worth of damage. The ocean had washed over the dunes and into the bay, washing away much of the sand and dunes. According to Kearney, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, “agreed to cover” 75% of the 1,167,741 dollars in damage done to the beach.

The Duxbury Beach Book states that after such a horrific event, the beach went through a time of peace where the storms that hit were not as severe and did not do much damage. According to Kearney, before 2013, the DBRI asked for $400,000 per year to lease the beach. This money, coupled with the money the beach raised from parking at Blakeman’s come together to help pay for any improvements and or damage that needs to be fixed. During January and February of 2013 multiple Northeasters struck Duxbury Beach causing about one million dollars of damage to the beach.

With the money from the town and the rest of the money the DBRI had come up with, they did not have even close to as much as they needed to make the repairs to the beach. Kearney said, “We took out a loan for about $700,000 dollars and have managed to reduce our debt to about $400,000. At a town meeting in 2013 we asked for $600,000 as opposed to the $400,000 we had asked for before 2013. We’ve asked for $600,000 in 2014 and have asked for it again this year.”

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