Save Popponesset Bay -
2011 winter update

January 2011

2011 comes in with a bang for the Bay

You received a newsletter from Save Popponesset just last month, so what's with this one?

Last month we mentioned the start of the 1916 Channel dredging project, the first dredging project in the Bay in over 70 years.  Now we're pleased to announce the project was successfully completed on January 5 and the equipment removed.  

dredging equipment in Popponesset Bay
Dredging equipment in Popponesset Bay

The dredging project deepened a channel from the entrance to the Popponesset Bay up toward Gooseberry Island (didn't know that was its name, did you?). 
Over 10,000 cubic yards of clean sand was pumped onto the Sound side of the Spit.  

Popponesset resident Bob Griswold took many photos during and after the operation, a few we'll share with you here.  Bob took the first photos on a bright and sunny December 17, before the recent cold snap that has put some ice on a few of the waterways in and around the Bay and Spit.

Checking on the pipe from the site to the Spit
County dredge staff checking on the pipe

Impact on the Popponesset Spit

With over 10,000 cubic yards of compatible sand deposited and graded on the Spit, two objectives are achieved: first, the Spit as a barrier beach protecting Popponesset Island and Popponesset Bay in rough weather, increases greatly in size.  Second, more sand is now available as an endangered species habitat for terns and plovers.  Over many decades, Mother Nature has eroded the Spit and pushed it further inland.  While you can't stop nature, taking this compatible sand from the now-deeper 1916 Channel was an effective way to hold it back for a while.

grading the new Spit sand
Grading the new sand on the Spit
putting compatible sand on the Spit
Widening the Spit with 10,000 cubic yards of new sand

Mashpee Waterways Commission
Thanks again to Mashpee Waterways Chairman Ken Bates who spearheaded this successful project for the Town of Mashpee.  Mashpee Town Selectman and New Seabury resident Mike Richardson, who also serves as liaison between the Selectmen and the Waterways Commission, played a key role, with the support of Town Manager Joyce Mason.  Unofficial advisor and longtime Waterways member Jim Hanks also contributed.  Wayne Jaedtke oversaw the work by the Barnstable County Dredge.

This project was necessary because the the 1916 channel, which is the main egress channel for Popponesset Bay, had become shallower and narrower due to shoaling sands over the years.
The last maintenance dredge on this channel was done in 1936.  The project cost the Town approximately $170,000.  Save Popponesset Bay cooperated with the Town on permits to get this done as well.
view of activity from Spit toward Popponessete Island
View of activity from Spit toward Popponesset Island
Popponesset Spit widened after dredging project
Substantailly wider Spit after dredging project


Closing notes

We'll let you know when the outer channel dredging project (from the Popponesset Bay to Nantucket Sound)  begins. It should be around late February.  This project is always dependent upon the weather, especially given the busy schedule of the Barnstable County Dredge, which does projects all over Cape Cod. 

Finally, remember to mark your calendars for the summer kickoff dinner and party for our supporters at the New Seabury Country Club on Friday evening, June 24, 2011.  We've lined up a band for after dinner to play Jimmy Buffett, Beach Boys and other summer tunes.  The kids will be out of school and the summer will be ready to get under way.  It'll be here before you know it. 

Mike Oleksak
Save Popponesset Bay, Inc.

new mailing address:
P.O. Box 66
North Attleboro, MA 02716

What is SPB?
Popponesset Bay (Dawn Peterson)
Save Popponesset Bay, Inc. is a 501 c 3 organization with the mission of keeping the waterways in and around Popponesset Bay safe and navigable and to protect the Popponesset Spit, an endangered species habitat.

Photo by Beverly
 Myers Bailey
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Last month, Save Popponesset Bay launched its new website, full of pictures, news, links and history.  Take a look.

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