Spit Restoration Project
As you know from our SPB dinner this summer, we have been focused on developing a strategy and plan to deal with the erosion of the Spit since Tropical Storm Sandy forcefully showed us how fragile it is. We hired Woods Hole Group, an internationally known coastal engineering firm headquartered in Falmouth MA, to analyze the situation and present us with alternatives. Those of you who attended the dinner, or walk the spit, know the situation needs immediate attention if the Spit is to survive, not just long-term, but even through the next severe weather event.
You may have seen in the Mashpee Enterprise that the Town of Mashpee and Mass Audubon are supporting our application for a grant from MA Coastal Zone Management (“CZM”) to help us with planning and permitting a large-scale, multi-year reinforcement and re-build of the Spit. John Malloy and Eric Petersen worked closely with Woods Hole Group to prepare the grant application and were instrumental in getting the endorsements of the Town of Mashpee and Mass Audubon. The total expected cost for planning and permitting is $277,000. We are asking CZM for a grant of 70% of that amount. If we get the grant, we will be responsible for the balance of $83,000 over 12-18 months.
The Spit restoration plan calls for a multi-year dredging projectwith dune and beach reconstruction along the entire Spit. Sand will be supplied from the boating channels whenever possible. Long term sand sources will be evaluated as part of the next phase of the project. The project would significantly expand the size of the Spit and greatly improve its chances of survival in the face of rising sea levels and storms. We estimate the total cost (including the planning and permitting) to exceed $1.5 million. The Popponesset Bay and Spit are vital elements of the quality of life, endangered species habitat, and recreation all contributing to the value of property in Mashpee, New Seabury and Popponesset Island. If the Spit continues its current trend of weakening, the impact will be harsh.
We expect to hear soon from the CZM regarding the status of our grant application. Moving forward, we plan to spread our contribution base as wide as possible to help move this critical project forward.
While we wait to hear from CZM, we continue to work with Woods Hole Group to ensure the spit is healthy enough to survive the upcoming winter storm season. They have strongly recommended that we place several thousand yards of sand on the spit in key locations to prevent significant additional damage from occurring this winter. SPB does not have adequate funds available for this effort and will be sending a letter shortly to our supporters seeking additional donations by year end to support this critical effort. Sand placed on the spit this winter should ultimately reduce the cost of the larger reconstruction project.