SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Every time a storm brings high seas and heavy winds to the Maine coast officials in Saco keep a close watch on the Camp Ellis area.
Over the years rough weather has brought homes down and wiped out entire streets. The city has taken several steps to protect the area. Some have been effective in slowing down the impacts of mother nature, but trying to stay ahead of her is a constant struggle.
“What we’ve had happen here over the last 50-60 years, we’ve lost several streets, we’ve lost several homes, its impacted the city’s infrastructure and it continues to do so”, said the city's EMA Director Steven Boucouvalas.
The city has spent a lot of time, effort and money building up a defense against mother nature.
“We dump tons and tons of sand. I’d say over the last 8 to 10-years we’ve probably spent $2 to 3 million on dumping sand”, Boucouvalas said.
Besides the mountains of sand, work has been done building up the dunes and the city has placed Geo Tubes, filled with a sand water mixture, in front of vulnerable homes. They have been effective, but have not completely stopped the beach from eroding.
The DEP and FEMA have loosened the shorefront rules to allow the city and private owners more options for protection.
“We take mitigative efforts, the best we can. Hopefully they work and we keep on doing that as long as we have to”, Boucouvalas said.
Now the focus is on Jose and what it will bring to this area. The York County Emergency Management Agency is working with coastal communities in tracking its movement.
“We’re keeping a close watch on the high tides, the splash over. The storm is a little confused, not sure where it wants to go so we’re constantly monitoring it”, said Deputy Director Dave Francouer.
As it make its way up the coast the concern in Camp Ellis is the same it has been for years.
“It’s the erosion we’re concerned with. We’re really concerned with losing the dune infrastructure down the beach, because when we lose that, that’s when we start to lose properties”, Boucouvalas said.
Officials expect more dredging projects in the near future will help mitigate the erosion, at least for awhile. The real fix they say would be re-arranging the breakwater, something that’s been discussed for years, but could be too expensive to actually carry out.