KENNEBUNKPORT – In response to the severe damage to the sand dunes at Goose Rocks Beach from the back-to-back storms of Jan. 10 and Jan. 13, Kennebunkport Conservation Trust began work on a project to prevent further sand dune destruction.

Kennebunkport Conservation Trust is working on a project to prevent further sand dune destruction at Goose Rocks Beach. Courtesy photo

In a March 28 news release, Jon Dykstra, a trustee for Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, said approximately 50% of the dune volume was lost as a result of the recent storms. He said the work being done by the trust will address this damage.

“The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust is currently working to replenish sand on the eight trust lots lining the East Arc of Goose Rocks Beach, in the area extending just west of the Edgewood Beach access point, eastward to the Broadway access point,” he said in the email. “Included in this stretch is one private lot, one town-owned lot, and three town-owned right of ways which are beach access points – one each at Edgewood, Proctor, and Broadway avenues.

“The beach access points at both Proctor and Broadway will be changed from what was previously a cut through the dunes, to a mat draped over the restored dune surface. This will improve the protective aspect of the dune and prevent rapid dune erosion that naturally occurs where dunes are cut through by pathways. The ADA-compliant entrance at Edgewood will remain at-grade. However, the path will be placed at an angle to the in-coming sea in the hopes of increasing its resistance to erosion. (About) 11,000 dune grass seedlings will be planted in late April of this year to further protect the sand dunes.”

Work began Monday, March 25, and is planned to conclude by Friday, March 29. Planting dune grass is planned in late April as a further barrier of protect from erosion.

“Over the past several millenniums, the dunes along Goose Rocks Beach have been severely eroded by large storms usually occurring decades apart,” Dykstra said. “The natural process of re-vegetation, leading to the capture of wind-blown sand, has historically worked to reestablish the dunes in front of a slowly rising sea level.


“The events of the past five or so years, along with a plethora of international climate science research, have pointed to the probability that these severe storms will become significantly more frequent and powerful. Most probably, there will not be sufficient time for the natural dune rebuilding process to sufficiently restore the dunes before the next major storm. It may well be washed away by the next major storm. It equally well may provide sufficient protection to jump start the dune process and allow a barrier dune to exist for several years. Time will tell.”

The project and work, according to the trust, were designed, permitted, and paid for by Kennebunkport Conservation Trust at no expense to taxpayers and all the sand used to restore the dune was from Goose Rocks Beach. The work is being done following the recommendations of the Maine Geological Survey.

“Goose Rocks Beach is a rare treasure along the southern coast of Maine,” said Tom Bradbury, executive director for the trust. “Its geologically unique sand and beautiful granite barrier islands create one of Kennebunkport’s most valuable assets. What our changing climate holds for how future generations will experience the beach is uncertain. However, the trust is committed to being a part of the planning and efforts required to preserve the beach, and all it means to Kennebunkport, for years to come.”

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