Top 20 endangered beaches in MA

Is your favorite beach eroding?  Is it losing ground to sea-level rise and coastal storms?  Many beaches in Massachusetts are eroding, but we wanted to know – which beaches are eroding the fastest?

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) recently announced that it will release a new shoreline change analysis for the state.  So while the list may change after the calculations are updated by CZM, we thought it would be interesting to find out (at least up until 1994) which beaches in Massachusetts were facing the most erosion.  In order to make this list, we averaged the long term erosion rates for all shoreline change study transects on public beaches and ranked the beaches from most erosional to least.

Here are the top 20 endangered beaches in MA:

  1. Norton Point Beach West (Edgartown) – 14.9 ft/yr
  2. Madaket (Nantucket) – 11.5 ft/yr
  3. South Beach State Park Middle (Edgartown) – 9.6 ft/yr
  4. Surfside 2 (Nantucket) – 8.6 ft/yr
  5. Cisco (Nantucket) – 6.4 ft/yr
  6. South Beach State Park Right Fork (Edgartown) – 5.7 ft/yr
  7. Miacomet (Nantucket) – 4.9 ft/yr
  8. Lucy Vincent Beach (Chilmark) – 4.6 ft/yr
  9. Chapin Memorial (Dennis) – 4.6 ft/yr
  10. Coast Guard (Eastham) – 4.2 ft/yr
  11. Forest Street (Chatham) – 3.7 ft/yr
  12. Marconi Beach (Wellfleet) – 3.1 ft/yr
  13. First Encounter (Eastham) – 3.1 ft/yr
  14. Nauset Light (Eastham) – 2.9 ft/yr
  15. Maguires Landing (Wellfleet) – 2.9 ft/yr
  16. Cahoon Hollow (Wellfleet) – 2.9 ft/yr
  17. White Crest (Wellfleet) – 2.9 ft/yr
  18. Nauset (Orleans) – 2.8 ft/yr
  19. Washing Pond (Nantucket) – 2.7 ft/yr
  20. Plum Island (Newburyport) – 2.7 ft/yr
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7 Responses to Top 20 endangered beaches in MA

  1. Pingback: Cape and Islands beaches most endangered in state | Climatide

  2. CR says:

    Did Madequecham (Nantucket) not make the list b/c it’s outside the top 20? Or is it so remote there’s no available data? thanks

  3. Pingback: Cape Cod Beaches Eroding At Alarming Rate | WBUR | 2Fathom

  4. Pingback: Competition photo reveals Europe’s worst coastal erosion | 2Fathom

  5. Sandy says:

    What Happened to Menauhant Beach this winter? We went from the jewel of restored beaches to posted no swimming signs due to underwater hazards and having the beach access shortened with a pile of boulders clumsily spilt at the end of the old bridge. What a shame.
    No posting from the Falmouuth Beach Department on what happened and what the plans are for the beach.

    • Sandy,

      Menauhant Beach took a hit during Irene and suffered further erosion from winter storms. During these storms, heavy wave action stripped away so much sand from the restored beach that it exposed the rubble from the original road in the nearshore swimming areas (the road was moved back a number of years ago). The boulders you see have been there since the road was moved, but they have been covered by sand up until now. We also hear that some parts of the beach were temporarily roped off to protect nesting plovers, which may have further restricted access at Menauhant.

      The town is currently deciding what to do about Menauhant, and Woods Hole Group plans to support them in bringing the beach back to its former glory. Depending on where the storms took the material, gentle summer waves may push some sand back up on the beach this season.

      The good news here is that the beach and dune restoration likely spared many properties flooding and wave-induced damage during these storms!

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