Growing attention to water quality

Water Quality Efforts

SPB supports the efforts of the Mashpee Clean Waters group formed recently on Facebook with the purpose:

Mashpee has significant water quality issues. It’s a complicated problem and there’s a real need for clear information. We’ll try to share as much objective information and news as we can. Join us to advance the conversation and drive action to improve the quality of the waters in Mashpee.

The group is convening a virtual conversation series about different aspects of the issue.  Their first program is on Tuesday, September 24 at 7 PM.  Check out the information here on all their upcoming programs.

Quite a night!

It was quite a night!

Save Popponesset Bay and nearly 200 friends and neighbors attended the annual Summer Kickoff Event on July 11 at the Cabana Club. We had a chance to meet new neighbors, connect with old friends and enjoy delicious food and beverages.The sounds of It’s a ‘J’ Thing coupled with the beautiful Cabana Club venue made for a perfect evening.

This event is special as friends from Popponesset, Bright Coves, Popponesset Island and Summer Sea all gather to enjoy the evening but also celebrate the success of the past five years. In that time, SPB has made great strides to re-build the Popponesset Spit, build a stronger alliance with Mass Audubon, collaborate with the Town of Mashpee, and live up to our mission statement to protect the Spit and help maintain the waterways in and around Popponesset Bay.

A big thank you to all our supporters whose contributions, large and small, finance our work. We have begun the second phase of the project with a focus on expanding the outer channel with recent agreements signed and impact studies underway. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have, or our future plans without your help.

We hope more friends and neighbors attend our summer kick-off event next year as it is one of the best gatherings of the summer.

A few shout-outs to those who contributed: Caroline Malloy spearheaded the event from invitations to the excellent band, wonderful raffle prizes, the décor and all the details in between. Talia Cramer handled the social media efforts. Both are terrific leaders! We are grateful for all that they do and encouraged to see the “next generation” getting involved!

Thank you to our corporate sponsors: Tim Leedham and Bosuns Marina, and Chris Burden and New Seabury Marina and Sotheby’s/New Seabury Sotheby’s International Realty.

Thank you to all the raffle item donors and event volunteers. It all contributed to an excellent evening.

Enjoy the summer!

Spit Update

Spit Update

As you know, Save Popponesset Bay is the owner of 2/3 of the Spit, with the eastern third, owned by Mass Audubon. The entire Spit is home to the endangered plovers and terns. The State owns the section of the Spit immediately at the bottom of the Fisherman’s landing stairs. Since its most depleted state in 2014, we (SPB) have raised, from our neighbors and friends, and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in trucked sand, dredged sand from the outer channel leading to Nantucket Sound, and the purchase and planting of dune grass to anchor the new sand for the Spit. We have provided security in partnership with PBA and our partner Mass Audubon. We have short time windows each year to perform these critical dredging and construction activities due to various Federal, State and Town laws and regulations related to various fish species and the arrival and breeding of the plovers and terns and other wildlife.

Why is there a lack of sand on the western end of the Spit this year?

This February, we again completed the trucking of thousands of cubic yards of sand plus new beach grass which has substantially built the dune closest to Audubon land. However, the Barnstable County dredge program, which has a contract with the Town of Mashpee (not SPB), made a decision this winter to direct the dredge and booster pump (which builds up the beach in front of the state stairs extending to the second crossover from the ocean to the bay) to Chatham. This decision was extremely detrimental to the health of the Spit. As you will notice when walking the beach, the dredge sand spoils are absolutely critical to the sustainability of the Spit. SPB, Mashpee Waterways Commission and the two marinas all spoke at the Mashpee Selectmen meeting on this issue to emphasize the safety implications of not dredging. The Town was ultimately successful in convincing the Barnstable County dredge program to send a dredge however they were not able to send the critical booster pump and piping needed to deliver the sand so critical to the corner and beach. The dredging effort did succeed in making the outer channel safe, helping to avoid serious boating safety injuries to unprepared boaters who rely on an annually dredged channel. So, the Barnstable County dredge succeeded in dredging the outer channel but the 5,000 cubic yards of sand was pumped onto the middle portion of the Spit well short of the beach and corner by the stairs which is owned by the State of MA. This, combined with a fierce storm in April created a small cliff in the now unprotected dune. This section of the Spit is not as beautiful as previous years when it was covered by the sand pulled from the outer channel. (For those interested, the trucked sand is more coarse than the dredged sand that has been smoothed by centuries of churning in the ocean.) SPB has requested permission from the State of MA to make repairs to the sand to shape the “cliff”, but we are not optimistic, given the reluctance of the State to approve any construction activities while in bird season. Our hands are unfortunately now tied by the State of MA.

What about the future?

The good news is that Barnstable County has purchased a second dredge (https://www.capenews.net/bourne/news/new-dredge-coming-to-cape-cod/article_cf15f142-1a81-535f-a7cd-1d71af75b7d6.html) to keep up with increased demand for dredging projects like the outer channel for the Town of Mashpee.

While our beach is not in the condition that any of us would like this year, we want you to know that going forward, providing we do not have any more dredge problems, the Spit should be more resilient with the clean beautiful sandy beach we have always enjoyed. And with your financial support of the longer, wider, deeper outer channel project we will have a much larger beach as the projected estimates are that this will produce an additional 40,000 cubic yards of good sand. We really are hopeful that everyone will contribute to fund this project, not just boaters, as this is the source of the sand to make our beach beautiful for all to enjoy!

Also, after three years of significant work and approximately $300,000 in various studies and engineering, partly funded by a grant from the State of MA, SPB has recently filed an expanded ENF with the State which officially kicks off the permitting process for the longer, wider and deeper outer channel. This longer, wider, deeper outer channel project, when completed, will provide a significant, renewable, larger annual source of high quality sand to support the Spit as well as result in significant improvements to the outer channel, improving boating safety and water quality.

How can I help?


We are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about SPB to be ambassadors of our mission. We empower you to promote our cause and protect our beach and bay. Currently, we are looking for community members to help facilitate community engagement, and expertise in grant writing, fundraising, marketing and website operations. Please contact Kathy Cramer (kccramer@comcast.net) if you would like to get more involved!


We greatly appreciate the Town of Mashpee’s efforts regarding dredging; however, we are asking that our supporters encourage the Town to step up for the big new channel project as well. Also, read the Mashpee Enterprise to stay informed.


We ALL need to continue to contribute to fund the expanded channel project and annual dune replenishment work as this work is critical to the health of the Spit and bay. We also appreciate the financial contributions which have paid for the remarkable turnaround achieved since 2014 on the Spit. We still have much work to do so we appreciate your future financial contributions. SPB is an all-volunteer group, so 100% of funds raised go to our mission to maintain and protect the Spit, while keeping the waterways in and around Popponesset Bay safe and navigable.

Thank you again for your support and interest,

Save Popponesset Bay

Click here to donate

February 2019 Update

Winter 2019 sand and grass work completed on the Spit:

Our winter project for this phase of the Spit re-construction was completed last month.  We trucked in 10,000 cubic yards of sand, 8,500 for the eastern side closest to Audubon’s land and 1,500 to repair damage on the western side at the foot of Popponesset Island. We also had grass planted on the eastern side to anchor the sand. The resiliency of the Spit has been improved dramatically, especially along the middle section where it was extremely vulnerable.

We also had a nice, low-profile, hummocky dune built at the entrance to the Spit and installed a dense grass array to deter people from walking on the dune. There is a clear pathway, outlined with grass on both sides.  In the spring we will look at whether we need to add symbolic fencing (stakes and twine) for the walking paths.

Outer channel:

We continue to work with Woods Hole Group and the Town of Mashpee for permitting of the outer channel to improve boating safety, while also providing a critical source of near-term and long-term dredged sand. This permitting process will continue through 2019.

Grant applications:

In 2019, we will continue to pursue grant opportunities including the MA Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and other funding groups which we follow.

With each public funding application, the State emphasizes the importance of the breadth of our private donor base.  We appreciate all contributions, large and small.  Without your support, we could not have accomplished what we have over the past four years.

Thank you:

We thank you for your continued support and hope you will consider a tax-deductible contribution to Save Popponesset Bay in 2019.  SPB is an all-volunteer organization.  We accept and encourage corporate matching gifts.

Please go to: www.savepopponessetbay.org/donate or mail your donation to SPB, Box 920757, Needham MA 02492.

Dear Friends and Supporters

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We are writing with an update and an immediate request.

You may recall that last year, we added sand to the western end to a point about half way down the Spit; that half has stood up well in the face of storms.  Woods Hole Group just completed its post-storm survey and found that the eastern end of the Spit, closer to Audubon land, is in significant and immediate need of sand, and we need to raise more funds for a project this winter.
We are currently evaluating our options as our decision about the quantity of sand will be driven by the funds we are able to raise over the next month. The cost is approximately $25/cubic yard, depending on the final volume.  Our target for this fundraising campaign is $250,000.
If you could please make your 2019 donation or pledge now we can make plans for this important winter project. Click the button to donate Click here to donate We will complement this trucked sand with dredged sand in March in our annual project with the Town.
In 2019, we will also continue to pursue grant opportunities including the MA Coastal Zone Management (CZM) which we understand will issue requests for proposals early to mid-2019 and we intend to participate in that process.
We are pleased with the progress we have made in 2018 as we work to rebuild the Spit and create a longer, wider, deeper outer channel. Last year we successfully obtained critical permits from the Town of Mashpee and the State of MA that allow SPB to continue to expand and rebuild the Spit, while also dredging the channel at the foot of Popponesset Island. We continue to work with Woods Hole Group and the Town of Mashpee for permitting of the outer channel. This will improve boating safety while also providing a critical source of near term and long term dredged sand. We have completed our numerous studies with MA CZM, the support of which provided a grant of $186,000. We are now working with the Town to prepare the necessary permitting applications. This permitting process will continue through 2019.
With each public funding application, the State emphasizes the importance of the breadth of our private donor base.  We appreciate all contributions, large and small. Without your support, we could not have accomplished what we have over the past four years.
We thank you for your generosity and hope you will consider a year-end tax deductible gift to Save Popponesset Bay.  We accept and encourage corporate matching gifts. Click below to donate or mail your donation to SPB, Box 920757, Needham MA 02492.
Click here to donate 

Annual Holiday Boat Lighting

Annual Holiday Boat Lighting

Please join friends and neighbors on Friday November 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm on Bright Coves Way for the annual holiday boat lighting.  We will get together in the reserve area across from 12 & 18 Bright Coves Way. It is a block party format with a fire pit and friends and neighbors bringing food and drinks to share.  Adults and kids are welcome! Join the countdown at dusk when the Peterson family throws the switch and lights up the sailboat in Bright Coves.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

As the summer of 2018 is winding down…

As the summer of 2018 is winding down…

we’d like to look back at all the fun we had last month as SPB supporters gathered at the Cabana Club to celebrate the season and greet friends and neighbors. Beautiful venue, good food and music and a nice way for everybody to recognize the progress we have made in rebuilding the Spit!

We would also like to once again thank our corporate sponsors, Tim Leedham of Bosun’s Marine https://www.bosuns.com and Chris Burden of New Seabury/Sotheby’s Real Estate/New Seabury Marina https://www.newseaburyre.com/.

Spring is here (finally) and No Dogs

Spring is here (finally) and No Dogs

It has been a record breaking weather year and thanks to our building up the dunes, the Spit has survived four nor’easters!

Thank you to the generous donors who responded to our need to fund immediate reparations to the Spit! We trucked over 7,000 cubic years of sand to support the dune and after a week waiting out the storms, the dredge completed its work on the channel, placing approximately 5,500 cubic yards of dredged sand on the Spit.   And we got it done before the April 1 deadline!  More funds are still needed!

Please advance your 2018 contribution to Save Popponesset Bay by hitting the Donate button below or visit www.savepopponessetbay.org/donate. Or send a check to SPB, P.O. Box 920757, Needham, MA 02492.  We also accept shares and matching corporate gifts. Your contribution helps us finance our work to preserve and enhance the Spit and keep the waterways in and around the Bay safe and navigable.

On Saturday, March 31 we put up signs that say “No Dogs” from April 1-September 1 to protect the endangered species on the Spit.  The Spit is an endangered species preserve and the mere presence of dogs (leashed or unleashed) scares the birds and prevents nesting and breeding.

Unfortunately there were many people last year who ignored these rules.  We received  an official warning and official conditions from federal regulators and formal conditions when we were granted our recent permit to dredge the “SPB Channel” at the foot of Popponesset Island when needed.  We have developed a more a more protective policy around “No Dogs.”

In addition to an enhanced security detail this summer, we ask you to please help us by speaking up and advising people that dogs are not allowed on the Spit April 1-September 1 or we will all lose our right to use the Spit (yes, the regulatory agencies can do this).

Finally, remember to Save the Date — Thursday evening, July 5 — for our summer event!

Thanks again for all your support.

Mike Oleksak and Dawn Peterson installing No Dog Allowed signs on the Spit, at the more popular boat anchoring spots and on Audubon land.

Eric, Dawn, granddaughter Grace and Mary Adams installed No Dogs Allowed signs on the SPit and Audubon land. No dogs are allowed from April 1 – September 15.

7,000 cubic yards of trucked sand and another 5,500 dubic yards of dredged sand after the March nor’easters.

Both trucked and dredged sand was spread on the Spit in March.

Storm Update

Storm Update

Hello Neighbors,

We are writing with an update on the Spit post two significant Nor’easters and a third storm on the way. We apologize for the delay in communicating but we feel it is important we do a thorough evaluation post storms to provide our supporters with an accurate assessment.  In this case, our assessment involved getting our consultant the Woods Hole Group on site and surveying the spit during high and low tide. This update will provide details on the following areas;

  1. The current state of the Spit
  2. Dune Damage and current risk
  3. Limited time to do repairs
  4. Our plan and how you can help

Current State. Thanks to the incredible support of our community, the SPB owned portion of the Spit did not breach or wash over!   This is a huge accomplishment from where we were just 3 years ago. We are making great progress. Audubon land did over-wash significantly.  Both properties need repair.

Dune Damage. Our central spine dune was damaged. The dune suffered some significant scalloping from wave action. (See image 1) Most notably the section immediately in front of the tip of Popponesset Island extending 100 yards to the east (Cotuit) and the last 200 yards of SPB land. (see image 2) These specific sections of dune are very important as they enable the channel to remain passable, protect the bay, shellfish area, bird nesting grounds and real estate values for the entire area. The dune needs to be repaired asap prior to hurricane season.  As a reminder when the dune takes a blow the sand from the dune builds up the beach in front of the dune.  The beach helps absorb wave action, thus protecting the dune.  In a perfect world, we would have a large dune and a large beach, it just takes money.

Timing. All work must be completed prior to April 1 due to bird nesting.

Our plan. We have contracted to truck in 5,000 cubic yards of sand to rebuild the dunes.  Work begins this week.  The County Dredge is also in place and we expect another 6,000 cubic yards from dredging the outer channel that will help restore the beach. We could use a lot more sand.

Our ask. PLEASE advance your 2018 contribution today to fund the repair work. We can do more work now but have limited funds and only 2 weeks to do the work.  Please donate or make a pledge today!  All money raised will increase the amount of sand we put on the spit.

We are grateful for your financial support to date for our dune restoration project as it could have been far worse.

Dune at the end of Popponesset Island

Dune across from family shellfish area

New dredge – currently anchored in Poppy Bay

February Update

February Update

So far this winter, Mother Nature has created many challenges. We’ve endured record cold temperatures, high winds, and a supernova moon causing a very high tide surge. We continue to closely monitor eachstorm and post updates on our Facebook page, along with pictures, as well as information of severe ice damage which enables residents to evaluate the needs to check their own homes and docks.

Please keep informed of all that we at Save Popponesset Bay are doing by joining our email list, which you may do by sending an email to info@savepopponessetbay.org. Also please visit our Facebook page https://facebook.com/SavePopponessetBay/ and Like and Follow us. We invite you to also post updates and your favorite photos our “happy place!”

The SPB Board held its annual planning meeting on January 16th to review our performance, reassess our needs and refine our goals for 2018 and beyond. Over the past five years our scope has expanded dramatically, beginning with the Spit restoration, the management of the channel expansion planning and managing regulations on Spit maintenance and security.  Did you know that the Board meets every week throughout the year to manage the work needed to protect, restore and enhance the Spit and the Bay? We are the stewards to the Bay and the Spit, a wildlife preserve we share with endangered species, and want to keep our fragile ecosystem sustainable for years to come.

The SPB Board is a 100% volunteer-operated organization and includes the following members from multiple neighborhoods: John Malloy and Bob Hughes (Popponesset), Mike Oleksak and Eric Peterson (Bright Coves), Margie Ross Decter and Mike Moskowitz (Popponesset Island) and we welcome our newest Board Member, Kathy Cramer (Bright Coves). We are always looking for volunteer help and would welcome your expertise. Any amount of help would be appreciated. We are looking for volunteers to assist in the areas of:

  •  Environmental sustainability
  •  Spit Protection
  •  Project Management
  •  Event Planning
  •  Community Building.

Last year our operating budget was $85,000 and our goal for capital improvements to stabilize the Spit as a barrier beach, enhance navigation channels, and restore endangered species habitat for the enjoyment of all exceeds $2 million. We rely 100% on donations and can’t do this without your help. We are so grateful for your past support and hope that we can count on you donate annually. We encourage everyone to join us and become annual donors, as this is our community and our responsibility to preserve and restore the Spit and Bay. Please make your tax-deductible gift today (we are a 501c3) by going to www.SavePopponessetBay.org.

Save the Date for our Summer Kickoff Event that will be held on Thursday July 5, 2018!

Thank you in advance for your support in 2018.