The town of Jonesport, Maine, overlooks Chandler Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It offers a spectacular water view and maritime activities such as fishing and pleasure boating. The scene is picturesque on a clear summer day, but the shoreline is vulnerable to severe erosion during coastal storms. The West Jonesport Cemetery sits on Moosabec Reach overlooking the Bay. Over the past several years, a 350-foot section of shore frontage at the historic cemetery has been steadily eaten away. The erosion threatened the graves, some of which date back to the first half of the 19th century. In fact, one grave marker is dated 1837. The town had been concerned about the erosion of the West Jonesport Cemetery for a long time. Local officials began searching for funding in the early 1990s, and Selectwoman Gloria Feeney began contacting a series of funding sources in 1997. She communicated with at least 10 non-profit and government agencies, including the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). MEMA applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program on behalf of the West Jonesport Cemetery, and was awarded funding for the erosion control project.
Construction began in July 2000 and was finished the following month. The rehabilitation included lining the bank with filter fabric, adding some 2,500 cubic yards of gravel, and installing 5,000 cubic yards of granite rip-rap to stop the erosion and protect the beach. Following a recommendation from the Washington County Soil and Water District, about 100 rugosa roses, about $800 worth, were planted in two parallel rows among the slabs of rip-rap. As they grow, the roses' root systems will help to further stabilize the embankment. Rugosa roses were chosen because they tolerate the saline conditions of the shorefront location. FEMA contributed $39,203 to the project, which totaled $52,271. The town's share was $13,067.
The town explored alternative mitigation approaches, one of which was to move the cemetery. That solution would have been more expensive and worsened the erosion problem.
According to Selectwoman Feeney, nature regularly tests the effectiveness of the erosion control project. "We get several storms each year, mainly in the winter, but the project has stood the test," she said.
When asked if the erosion reached any of the graves, Ms. Feeney replied, "No, but it came close. Very close."
Information was taken from FEMA web site document http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=editor&editThis=cemDescription&editThisCemId=2351189
GPS Coordinates: 44.52841, -67.62095
- Added: 20 Apr 2010
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2351189
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