Salt Grove, a small slice of the Shore that rubs against Cherrystone Inlet and Eyre Hall Creek has become an iconic symbol for the tensions and stasis that is more and more beginning to define life in Northampton County. At stake is the lifestyle and quality of life that Eastern Shore residents have come to cherish, and which is being threatened by the ever-increasing pressure and footprint of developers. At Salt Grove, folks trying to raise families have had their bucolic homes besieged by loud parties and wedding events taking place at the old landing. That location now houses several structures that have been (retro)fitted with bedrooms and baths and together functionally create an ‘event’ space. Previous access to the water (docks) and private clam beds has also become problematic.
These issues began in the fall of 2006 after Hurricane Ernesto supposedly caused damage to the existing bulkheads on the western portion of the property (this damage has been refuted by local landowners). The owner, Eyre Baldwin (Salt Grove, LLC) used this opportunity to build a new bulkhead. However, rather than replacing the existing bulkhead, the new one was built out 10 feet channelward, extending further out into the wetlands, thus increasing the property’s footprint. A new 10 x 16 dock was built to the new bulkhead. The excuse for moving the bulkhead out was to create a more robust tieback system. In the process, approximately 200 square feet of State owned subaqueous bottom, 500 square feet of vegetated intertidal mudflat, and 500 square feet of vegetated tidal wetlands were impacted.
The damage to these wetlands was done without a permit.