Save Popponesset Bay Blog

2016 Fundraising Appeal

2016 Fundraising Appeal

When Hurricane Matthew threatened to pound the Cape in October, Save Popponesset Bay jumped into action. Thanks to our summer fundraising, within days we were able to mobilize an emergency shipment of 2,000 cubic yards of sand to protect our most vulnerable areas; we focused our effort on the South side where we reinforced dunes and built up some of the lower areas on the Spit.  Fortunately for us, the storm’s impact was limited to the Caribbean and the southeastern U.S. coast, but we may not be as lucky next time. We will continue to make steady progress, but we know we are still one big storm away from potential disaster.

At this time of year of philanthropic giving, we hope you will consider making a meaningful tax-deductible donation to Save Popponesset Bay. We need your financial support today to accelerate completion of our capital project to secure the Spit from future storms, and protect our investment today in and around Popponesset Bay.  We are asking for contributions now to raise $200,000 before year-end to stay on track to fund our stabilization efforts (described below) and to start to build toward the bigger project (deeper, wider channels) as soon as agencies approve.

Save Popponesset Bay now also accepts contributions of stock and matching corporate gifts in addition to donations via checks or Paypal. Our “SPB Leadership” campaign has grown with seven families making significant gifts and pledges.  We are grateful that they recognize the value of this work and the impact we are making on our community, but we need everyone’s help to reach our goal.  Your financial support to our all-volunteer 501c3 goes directly to preserving and improving the area we all love, our “happy place” as one contributor called it.

Why Contribute to SPB?

Save Popponesset Bay is run by a Board of volunteer neighbors from the Popponesset Bay area. So 100% of funds go directly to protecting and maintaining the Spit and improving the safety, water quality, and navigation in Popponesset Bay.


In 2016, we made significant progress in reinforcing the Sound side of the Spit where we have permits.   With a combination of trucked and dredged sand, we added over 20,000 cubic yards to the Spit in 2016.  We planted more dune grass to anchor the new sand.  While additional sand has made the Spit stronger, it is still a fragile barrier beach protecting the homes on Popponesset Bay and Popponesset Creek. The Spit is in far better shape than it was in the winter of 2014, when it was deemed by Woods Hole Group to be in “critical condition.”  Massachusetts Audubon tells us that more endangered birds than ever are using the Spit’s wildlife habitat for breeding and nesting the past two years.  Over the past winters, we have worked with the Town to take more sand out of the channel leading to the Sound than ever before. And in contrast to years past, we heard no reports this year from boaters of shallow spots out to the Sound in areas where the Town has permits to dredge.

In 2014 SPB won an $180,000 grant to work with Woods Hole Group on our master plan to protect the Spit and to improve navigation in and around the Bay. We are thrilled to report that we completed that planning work and pending fundraising and regulatory permitting and approvals, we will begin implementation! Schematics of this work are included here, but we are happy to share with anyone more details from the report. Click here for our progress summary.

We will soon start the process of getting new permits to execute on the long-term plan of the coastal engineering firm, Woods Hole Group. The big plan calls for dredging 45,000 cubic yards from the channel leading to the Sound, plus a catch basin.  The catch basin will serve as a rich source of sand, and also as a protector of the channel between annual dredges.  We will pursue permits for a longer, wider, deeper channel alongside the catch basin.   All of the sand dredged will be used to build up the Spit.  It will all work together. The catch basin and channel provide sand for the Spit support and the deeper channels make for safer conditions for recreational boaters.

We hope you will make a meaningful contribution or pledge now to protect our investment and complete these projects.  

Thank you for your continuing support!


Tropical Storm Set to Hit Popponsesset Spit

Tropical Storm Set to Hit Popponsesset Spit

So long Summer and welcome to storm season. Today’s storm is Tropical Storm Hermine and we’ll have 5-7 foot waves hitting the Spit.  The Spit remains vulnerable in several areas, and we hope our new dunes will hold up without much reinforcement. We will update you on any damage sustained and our plans over the Winter.

This is a good chance to reinforce why we need to raise more money this season for our Capital project. We are currently making great progress but repairing or reinforcing  the Spit can only  take place once we have  adequate funds. The ideal state of the Spit is to have a high dune with lots of grass and a gradual slope to the waterline.  We currently have a well constructed high dune with grass but do not have enough money to build up the beach yet.
Please make a tax-deductible contribution today so we can take advantage of the upcoming Winter dredge. to donate.

Thank you to those who have contributed this 2016-2017 fiscal year which began in July.

Please consider making a 3-year pledge now or your annual contribution so we can build up the beach and plan out our channel enhancement in practical phases.The sooner we build up the beach the better off we will be in sustaining the integrity of the Spit down the road.

The time to act is now.  Let’s get this Capital project done asap and get back to normal annual maintenance mode. Thank you for all you do to protect and preserve our “happy place!”

Important Notice About Access at Popponesset Spit

Important Notice About Access at Popponesset Spit

As you know from an earlier post, we have been involved in talks with Popponesset Beach Association (PBA) and concerned neighbors, who have been working with Town of Mashpee’s fire and police departments to address safety issues and private property concerns around the Spit.
In addition to the recent destruction at The Spit, there is a growing problem of visitors leaving bicycles, strollers, wagons and trash on Wading Place Road Extension before and after the boulders, which are private property (i.e. owned by homeowners and PBA). Additionally, the Town is concerned about these items obstructing access for emergency vehicles and for neighbors safely exiting homes.
As a result, we have been working collaboratively to develop some solutions to ensure we all can continue to enjoy the Spit safely while respecting our neighbors and their homes.
Effective August 1:
Bikes, strollers, and wagons may not be abandoned on private property (before or after the boulders or in the street). If left unattended, items will be removed by OnePointe Security and moved to behind the Popponesset Community House.*
As a temporary solution:
  • PBA will allow bikes to be left behind the Popponesset Community House (not on the baseball field or on the pavement or basketball court)
  • SPB will allow strollers and wagons on the Spit as long as they are kept with you. As before, bikes and wheeled kayak carts are not allowed on the beach.
A reminder that The Spit is a fragile wildlife preserve, privately owned by Save Popponesset Bay and Mass Audubon. With the help of many committed individuals who live in the area, SPB has spent almost a million dollars to Save the Spit by widening the beach and building up our dune. There are plans are to continue this work for all of us to enjoy the Spit for years to come.
We understand this is a change, and may cause some to consider it an inconvenience. It is being done with an attempt to bring safety and respect to all. Please know we are working for a longer term plan and will share feedback with PBA as they bring a plan forward for next summer. We appreciate your understanding and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
In the meantime, please spread the word about observing these and a few basic additional rules: Please stay off the dunes, please remove your trash, no alcohol or smoking. Mass Audubon would also like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed on the beach from April 1 – September 15 (endangered bird season), and please respect the hours of 6 AM – 11 PM.
* PBA, Save Popponesset Bay and OnePointe are not responsible for damage or loss.

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…