Save Popponesset Bay would like to update you on the dredging of the channel leading from Popponesset Bay to Nantucket Sound:
Warning for boaters: The county dredge did not clear the channel yet and it is unsafe to navigate. Please refer to the details in the letter from the Harbormaster at the end of this email.
As a result, SPB has been working very closely with the Town of Mashpee to extend the timeline for dredging and make the channel safer for boaters. Here is a bit of background on how we got here.
Each winter, the Town of Mashpee contracts with the Barnstable County Dredge to excavate between 5,000 and 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the channel, depending on the results of the pre-dredge survey. This years survey called for approximately 8300 cubic yards of sand to be removed from the channel. SPB’s private donations fund all dredging work over 5000 cubic yards. Thank you to our generous donors who help fund our beautiful beach and safe channel each year. We could not do this without you.The dredge and pipe arrived in late February and things were looking good. We thought the County would be done well in advance of the April 1 permit deadline, which is set so as to not interfere with the nesting of the plovers. However, consistent high winds delayed the start date of the dredging until mid-March. After 3-4 days of dredging the outermost sections of the channel (with the sand placed near the State stairs), the County experienced additional weather and mechanical delays.
Ken Bates from the Town’s Waterways Commission pursued and received an initial extension to allow the dredging to be completed by April 15. However, restrictions were then placed on non-essential activities because of COVID-19.
The SPB Board Members discussed their concerns with Mashpee Town Manager Rodney Collins, Ken Bates, and Mashpee Selectman Tom O’Hara. The Town did a great job working with the County to gain consensus that the dredging could continue with adequate safeguards. With the support of the State of MA, permission has been granted to extend the dredging deadline until April 30 to complete the work.
Weather permitting, the dredge is prepared to begin its work again tomorrow, Tuesday, April 21. It needs 3-4 days to complete the dredging of the entire channel. Sand will be placed on the Spit and graded to specifications in our permits.
Your SPB Board
Notice from Jeff Smith the Mashpee Harbormaster in its entirety:
This is a safety notice that there is a report of shoaling from Popponesset Bay Approach Buoy 5 to Approach Lighted Buoy 7, there has been a report of depths less than 3 feet at Low Water, all mariners are urged to use extreme caution when transiting this area and should consult local tide tables to arrive at times of high tide.
Mariners are also urged to use extreme caution due to the presence of dredge pipe with-in the area, due to the recent severe weather this dredge pipe may have moved location, last reported location was in the vicinity of Approach Lighted Buoy 2 and Approach Buoy 3. Mariners are urged to use caution and keep a sharp lookout for the dredge pipe when transiting this area.
Dredge Operations are set to recommence on or about 21st of April 2020 and continue till the 30th of April weather permitting, all boater are reminded to proceed at slow speed in the vicinity of the dredge and give wide berth.
Disclaimer – The safe navigation and operation of your vessel is the sole responsibility of the captain of that vessel the above information is accurate at the time of the email being sent.