Possible erosion fix in the works | CapeCodOnline.com

Possible erosion fix in the works | CapeCodOnline.com.

Cape officials are looking for help for their rapidly disappearing beaches from the very source of the problem — the ocean.

At a meeting earlier this week, officials from across the Cape met with Cape Cod Commission staff to discuss the possibility of mining sand offshore to renourish sand-starved beaches.

Sand mining is allowed under the state’s Ocean Management Plan, but not for commercial purposes, commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki said. The commission is in the process of mapping areas where sand mining would be prohibited under the marine district of critical planning concern.

The Ocean Management Plan’s main focus has been the placement of offshore wind turbines, but setting locations for potential sand mining is also part of it, Niedzwiecki said.

Commission officials released an initial map, which restricts mining in the habitat of the endangered right whales, for example. But there are plenty of areas on the map that could be considered sources for sand, Niedzwiecki said.

Buy in from the the Cape Cod Commission on establishing regional sand borrow sites is encouraging news which may eventually streamline the process for and reduce the cost of beach renourishment on the Cape.  Woods Hole Group has long been a proponent of regional sediment management and the establishment of regional sand borrow sites to address the ever increasing needs for maintaining our eroding beaches, protecting coastal infrastructure, and safeguarding the Cape’s tourism/beach economy.

We will be following this initiative closely and will provide updates as progress is made towards this essential management approach.

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4 Responses to Possible erosion fix in the works | CapeCodOnline.com

  1. martina mastromonaco says:

    do you think that
    Martha’s VINEYARD may be added to the areas of concern.

    • The Cape Cod Commission’s Ocean Management Planning DCPC (District of Critical Planning Concern) is limited to the waters surrounding Barnstable County, CCC’s area of purview.

      The area around Martha’s Vineyard is included in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, which identifies exclusionary areas for sand mining, but to our knowledge the Martha’s Vineyard Commission has not released anything to date regarding the establishment of sand borrow sites in Dukes County.

      You may want to contact the Martha’s Vineyard Commission directly to discuss this matter.

      In general, though, the timeframe on establishing these borrow areas is still a long way out. Getting CCC’s support is an encouraging step, but with their plan to develop guidance by the end of the summer and the need for additional study to appropriately site borrow areas, we don’t expect this initiative to get the green light in the short term. Also, establishing borrow areas on the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard, where you are exposed to the open ocean, would have additional logistical limitations

  2. martina mastromonaco says:

    How can an area get support to review any options for this project. Here on Martha’s Vineyard I would think there are several locations esp on the south shore that could benefit. I myself have been working at one beach for 17 years and have been using snow fencing to slow it down, but in the last three years I have noticed that we are loosing an alarming amount of sand and this past winter the ocean has briched in to a brackish pond. cut off some emergency access and I have applied to restore this area using vegetation and (brush Boxes) But the permits were denied last summer and we left the beaches vulnerable not I feel we have lost and will continue loosing. I dont know what to do I am just a beach superintendent for the town and do not know where to turn. I understand we have birds and beatles to protect but if the beach is lost they too will be displaced. What can I do to get anyone to come to the island and help at least get someone to listen and know we may have options and a possible solution to losing our beaches. I know that the ocean can not be stopped but slowing it down is a realistic option but I cant get anyone to listen. I have support from several if not all of the towns people.

    • We are interested in learning about your problem, and would appreciate more details and photos. We will contact you offline regarding your specific situation. Good luck!

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