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Newly constructed $500,000 sand dune washed away after just 72 hours: 'The sacrificial dunes did their job'

"The residents of Salisbury aren't giving up."

"The residents of Salisbury aren't giving up."

Photo Credit: iStock

A $500,000 sand dune meant to protect beachfront homes in Massachusetts was washed away just three days after its construction. 

What happened?

As detailed by The Guardian, a group of property owners in the coastal town of Salisbury paid more than half a million dollars to construct a giant sand dune, which was completed in February. The structure, made of 15,000 tons of sand, was built to keep dangerous tides from damaging beach houses and prevent coastal erosion.

Each homeowner put up $5,000 to build the dune, but even though it washed away within 72 hours, none of the homes were damaged, according to a column in The Local News.

"The sacrificial dunes did their job," Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change, the volunteer organization that spearheaded the project, wrote on Facebook, according to The Guardian.

Why is coastal flooding concerning?

Almost 40% of Americans live in coastal areas. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coastal communities face unique threats such as high-tide flooding, hurricanes, sea level rise, and erosion. In the past few months, Salisbury has suffered from rising sea levels along with stronger winds and storms, The Guardian reported

This is a trend we're likely to see more of as oceans around the world get warmer and sea levels rise due to an overheating planet. Warmer global temperatures are supercharging our weather too. While storms including hurricanes and atmospheric rivers have always existed, they are becoming more frequent and intense.

What's being done about coastal flooding?

The residents of Salisbury aren't giving up. They've asked the state to provide assistance, and one Republican state senator is working to secure $1.5 million to rebuild the sand dune, Fox59 reported. 

Meanwhile, some creative people are coming up with mitigation measures for coastal communities like Salisbury. For instance, a few companies have developed floating homes and office buildings to help places withstand intense storms and flooding. And "smart reefs" are being used to provide real-time information about storm surge and sea level rise so that locales can respond quickly to extreme weather.

You can help out by voting for pro-environment candidates who will take a stand on climate issues. You can also donate to climate causes and switch to a bank that is making more planet-friendly investments. For instance, HSBC has decided it will no longer finance oil and gas fields.

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