The Vineyard Gazette Media Group

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Stonewall Beach to Squibnocket

This could be Natalie Conroy’s last summer in her small cottage above Stonewall Beach.

Today the cottage is perched literally at the edge of a cliff, the stringers beneath the front porch exposed and clinging to the edge for dear life.

In the past 15 years, Mrs. Conroy has lost 45 feet of cliff in front of her summer home due to coastal erosion. Severe hurricanes and winter storms in the past two years alone have caused nearly 30 feet of embankment to fall to the beach below. The house was moved once before, along with a small bunkhouse on the property.

But the retreat stops there. The back of Mrs. Conroy’s property is a wetland, and the town conservation commission denied her application this past winter to move the house further back. So in February she began making plans to demolish the structures. In April, the bunkhouse, called Half Shell, was taken down.

Town leaders said it was the first time in Chilmark history that a house had been demolished due to... Read more...

With nothing to shield it from the pounding of Atlantic waves, the south shore of the Vineyard is losing between two and twelve feet of land per year. Efforts to stem the erosion by planting beach grass, stacking hay bales and installing coir envelopes are doomed to failure, experts say, forcing property owners to confront the eventual loss of their homes.

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