New England Coastal Towns Battling Over Sand Allocation

Photo illustration/New England Boating
Photo illustration/New England Boating

BostonGlobe: Sand is becoming New England coastal dwellers’ most coveted and controversial commodity as they try to fortify beaches against rising seas and severe erosion caused by violent storms.

From Rhode Island to Maine, debates over who gets sand, who pays for it, and where it comes from are fast becoming some of the region’s most contentious oceanfront issues. In many cases, taxpayers are being asked to foot some of the bill for beach-rebuilding projects.

“It’s called the sand wars,’’ said S. Jeffress Williams, a coastal geologist and scientist emeritus with the United States Geological Survey in Woods Hole and the University of Hawaii. The disputes, happening across the coastal United States, “are only going to get more intense,” he said.

Read more about New England towns battling over the distribution of sand to thwart coastal erosion.