Save Popponesset Bay Blog

Protection at the Spit

Protection at the Spit

We wanted to let you know that there was an unusual amount of destructive activity due to the July 4th celebrations at the Spit. Please review the press release which shares that we are implementing recommendations from the Mashpee Police and our neighborhood associations to assure personal safety and environmental protection at the Spit. Please feel free to contact any of us or Mike Oleksak at 781-729-1008 with any questions.

Dredging complete

We made tremendous progress this winter!

Save Popponesset Bay continued to work with the Town of Mashpee, Mass Audubon and various agencies to add considerable amounts of sand to the Popponesset Spit over the past few months.

The combination of trucked sand and dredged sand from the channel leading from Popponesset Bay to Nantucket Sound resulted in over 16,000 cubic yards of new sand deposited on the spit, building up the dunes and beach and preparing the channels for summer recreational boat traffic.

But there were moments…

The trucking and grading of 7,000 cubic yards of sand on the Spit in January and February went smoothly. However, high winds delayed significantly the transport of the barges and pipe. And at the deadline to complete the work by April 1, the Barnstable County dredge was still en route from Truro to Popponesset Bay.

The Town of Mashpee contracts the County Dredge for this work. Ken Bates, from the Town of Mashpee’s Waterway Commission, obtained an extension beyond the original April 1 deadline for the dredging of the Approach channel (Bay to Sound). Obtaining these extensions requires significant communication and signoffs from many agencies. Big thanks to Ken for making it all happen!

Once the work got underway during the week of April 18th, (phew!) a total of about 9,000 cubic yards were removed from the channel leading to Nantucket Sound and placed strategically to fill in low areas and to build the beach in front of the dune on the Spit. We worked with our coastal engineers, Woods Hole Group, to coordinate the work on the channels and simultaneously strengthen the barrier beach. It all works together in our ecosystem.

SPB provided extra funding to the Town of Mashpee again this year to complement the Town’s budget to remove the additional sediment from the channel.

The Changing Shape of Popponesset Beach, Mashpee

The Changing Shape of Popponesset Beach, Mashpee

The Changing Shape of Popponesset Beach, MashpeeBy Christopher Setterlund

Located in southeastern Mashpee, Popponesset is a small, quiet and scenic village with a population of just 220, according to the most recent U.S. Census. The village is situated along Popponesset Bay, which is fed by the Mashpee and Santuit rivers, which lead out to Nantucket Sound through a channel around the Popponesset Spit, a lengthy yet narrow extension of Popponesset Beach that doubles as a popular summer attraction and a barrier between ocean and bay. Read more >>


The Spit makes front page news!

The Spit makes front page news!

enterprisemasthead2This summer SPB made headlines in the Cape Cod Enterprise! Fourth graders from Quashnet pay a field trip to the Spit and learn from SPB, Woods Hole Group and Audubon all of the environmental benefits of our restoration project!

Quashnet Field Trip

Quashnet Students Hit The Spit  

Standing on the beach at Popponesset Spit, long patches of freshly planted beach grass stand tall almost as far as the eye can see. The sand dunes are replenished and the beach is restored with sand, and on a windy-but-sunny Wednesday morning in June, 4th graders at Quashnet Elementary School are taking it all in. Read More >>

Popponesset Channel Dredged

Popponesset Channel Dredged

5532a5615cb52.imageThe channel at Popponesset Spit received some dredging, although not as much as hoped for in the aftermath of this winter.

Mashpee Waterways chairman Kenneth H. Bates said Wednesday, April 15, that the Army Corps of Engineers granted a 15-day extension from an April 1 deadline to dredge the channel, but when they applied for an additional five-day extension this week, they were denied.

“We’re certainly fortunate to receive the 15-day extension, otherwise there would not have been any dredging,” said John J. Malloy Jr., a member of Save Popponesset Bay board of advisors. He confirmed the additional extension would have been nice but it is not a major setback to the preservation of the spit. Read More >>


Save the Spit… Progress to Date!

It is hard to believe that Spring has come, yet we recently watched another 2 inches of snow settle on our newly reconstructed “Spit!” A huge thank you to all of our donors whose generosity and quick response to “Save our Spit!” In all, we have raised more than $200,000 for sand and beach grass in time to fortify some of its most vulnerable areas! 

We are beginning an incredible transformation to our beautiful beach and wildlife preserve and we are excited to share with you our progress to date. Check out our amazing photos! This is the most sensitive phase of our winter reconstruction in which we begin planting beach grass which stabilizes the dunes and catches wind-blown sand from going into the Bay. The beach grass is very expensive, very fragile, and will die if trampled upon.  Please help us to ensure people STAY OFF THE DUNES! Please help us protect our investment!

Our winter work is not done and our window is closing!We still need another $50,000 to secure our investment in the dunes with beach grass and fencing, as well as dredged sand to help rebuild our beach before our permits expire. Can you please help us reach our goal with a tax-deductible donation today? 

As you can see, donors are making a visible difference towards our goal of Saving the Spit (please see below)!


BEFORE: March 3, 2015

Winter storms devastated The Spit. SPB launched its first ever Winter Appeal.



SPB deployed over 5,500 cubic yards of sand!


RECONSTRUCTION: March 13, 2015
Coastal geologists at Woods Hole Group ensured that our sand was targeted to the most vulnerable areas of The Spit. 


RECONSTRUCTION: March 17, 2015

Dunes were carefully sculpted to ensure maximum protection and aesthetics to blend into the natural landscape.



In addition to The Spit, we have been concerned that the extreme weather that may put this year’s channel dredging in jeopardy. We hear that freezing temperatures, ice, and wind may cause delays past the hard deadline allowed by Federal and State law. We are in close contact with the Town (which oversees dredging) and we are doing everything we can to assess and mitigate the potential impact on boating safety and navigation. Please sign up for e-updates at to stay informed!  


Please SAVE THE DATE: July 10, 2015 to learn more about our future plans to ensure The Spit and Popponesset Bay are sustainable for generations to come! Save Popponesset Bay is 100% funded by donors and staffed by neighborhood volunteers. Please feel free to contact us at if you have questions, feedback, or want to help!

Spit in Critical Condition: Spurs Winter Appeal

Spit in Critical Condition: Spurs Winter Appeal

Coastal geologists from Woods Hole Group have deemed portions of the Popponesset Spit in critical condition. Donations are requested for a special Winter Appeal to help fortify the fragile peninsula in advance of additional severe coastal storms…  Read more…


Poppy Spit Takes Another Hit But Remains Resilient

Poppy Spit Takes Another Hit But Remains Resilient

Five days of no school, icy roads, blind intersections from large snow banks, and canceled selectmen’s and other town meetings are not the only outcomes of the recent winter storms. Popponesset Spit, which has long been a spot of preservation efforts, took a blow. Read more…

Grant Awarded For Popponesset Spit Plan

Grant Awarded For Popponesset Spit Plan

MASHPEE – A group trying to restore and stabilize Popponesset Spit after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 has received a grant to help that process.

The state office of Coastal Zone Management has awarded over $194,000 to the group Save Popponesset Bay to design a strategy to protect the spit from erosion. Read more…

Nonprofit group wins state grant to rebuild Popponesset Spit

Nonprofit group wins state grant to rebuild Popponesset Spit

Save Popponesset Bay is teaming up with the town of Mashpee and Massachusetts Audubon Society to find a way to rebuild and maintain the 1-mile strip of sand. Read more…