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Notice Maine beaches getting smaller? One group hopes to change that

Experts looking to fight climate change are meeting in September.

MAINE, USA — Peter Hanrahan is the owner of Hanrahan Environmental, LLC, and he says, “It’s rising faster and faster as we continue to struggle as a planet with an excess amount of carbon, which is causing temperatures to rise.”

Hanrahan is referring to the Atlantic Ocean and more specifically the Gulf of Maine where he has been consulting to help save part of the Maine coastline.

He’s teaming up with David Plavin and others with Save Our Shores, Saco Bay, hosting their 2nd annual coastal conference in September.

“I think people need to understand the science of what’s going on. It’s easy to just blame somebody or to think climate change is just happening, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Plavin.

Plavin and Hanrahan say there is something we can do about it.

Like helping fix the jetty problem along the Saco River near Camp Ellis.

“While global warming, rising sea levels, and higher ocean temperatures are all part of the problem, our major problem, and what we’re most interested in, is alleviating wave pressure caused by that jetty,” said Plavin.

A jetty is a breakwater, or a wall of rocks that’s designed to keep sand from clogging the channel of the Saco River.

The jetty allows ships to pass freely up the river.

But Plavin says sand is being washed out to sea by more severe storms due to climate change.

The maps from the Maine geological survey show the shoreline disappearing since the early 1900s, and there’s a plan to fix that.

“Part of the plan is to dump a whole bunch of sand at the beach in Camp Ellis. And if we had something to keep the waves away or lessen the strength of them, that sand would last a lot longer,” said Plavin.

Hanrahan says another option is the proposal to use “wave energy” to keep the sand from going out to sea.

“To actually attenuate or build up sand on the beach,” said Hanrahan.

The wave technology has been around for 25 years. It’s a natural way to help the sand loss problem in Saco while we wait for the jetty extension to be built.

Hanrahan said he’d rather take action now than wait for the problem to get worse.

“Coastal inundation is going to happen as sea level rises. There’s going to be low-lying places that are going to be more and more vulnerable,” said Hanrahan.

The $45 million jetty project could start as early as the end of the year. An update on the rising seas in Maine and coastal erosion is set for the end of September at the Save Our Shores Saco Bay conference.

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