2015-02-13 / Community News

Pine Point concerns aired

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer


Pine Point Beach is undergoing periods of erosion and accretion due to sand coming north from Cape Ellis in Saco as well as ebbing tides and wave attack on the northern end of the beach. 
(Courtesy photo) Pine Point Beach is undergoing periods of erosion and accretion due to sand coming north from Cape Ellis in Saco as well as ebbing tides and wave attack on the northern end of the beach. (Courtesy photo) A dredging of the Scarborough River was completed in January, but Peter Slovinsky, a marine geologist with the Maine Geological Survey, told Town Councilors last week that future dredges will be needed to remove the buildup of sand in the area.

“I think Pine Point’s problem with shoaling will continue. You will need to continue to dredge every five to 10 years,” Slovinsky said. Shoaling is another name for sand buildup due to tidal currents.

Slovinsky, chairman of the town’s Conservation Commission, appeared before the council in a workshop session Feb. 4 to share some of his observations about erosion and sand accretion, or buildup, along the coastline between Saco and Scarborough. He said since the mid-1800s, Pine Point has the highest rate of accretion in the state. Between 1850 and 2000, the shoreline near Pine Point Beach has been increasing 1.5 to 2 feet per year, including a period of shoreline change of 4 feet a year between 1962 and 1995.

Slovinsky said for decades, sand from Camp Ellis in Saco has been moving north along Saco Bay before being deposited at Pine Point Beach in Scarborough in a “sediment sink.”

“We are seeing significant migration of sediment from the south of the bay to the north end of the bay. It’s been going on for a long period of time,” Slovinsky said.

This is causing dramatic erosion at Camp Ellis and “episodic” erosion and accretion at Pine Point Beach.

Slovinsky said much of the sediment going into Saco Bay, which stretches from Biddeford Pool in Biddeford to Prouts Neck in Scarborough, comes from the Saco River and arrives in Pine Point due to wave and tidal action.

The beach and dune erosion and accretion at Pine Point, Slovinsky said, is likely due to ebbing tides caused by a shallow channel by the jetty and wave attack from a deep channel farther south on the beach. Except for small sections of beach closest to the Scarborough River and north of Hurd Park that are growing, much of the high water line between Hurd Park and the jetty is eroding at 3.7 feet per year.

“I don’t think anything we are seeing is new. This section of Pine Point has been going through periods of erosion and periods of accretion,” Slovinsky said.

While Slovinsky’s presentation focused on Pine Point Beach from Hurd Park to the jetty, he said the Maine Geological Survey has data for the coastline all along Saco Bay that he would be happy to share with councilors.

Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at leader.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top