The Plum Island residents who just want the right to protect their own property, as they tend to put it, are ignoring the well-established fact that their efforts to keep sand for themselves will take sand away from somewhere else (“Plum Island residents assess storm’s devastation,” Metro, March 10). The destruction of Plum Island houses is further evidence that barrier beaches should not be built on at all. The whole island should be part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, as the southern half already is.
I grew up near Sea Bright, a barrier beach on the New Jersey shore. In the mid-1950s, after one of the giant hurricanes, my young brother and I walked the beach and saw huge Victorian houses hundreds of yards out in the waves, lifted like boats off their foundations. For several decades afterward, not much was rebuilt on the most vulnerable spots, but people forget, and by the 1980s building resumed.
In October, Hurricane Sandy devastated Sea Bright again. They didn’t learn from history, so they got to repeat it.