One more beach, the 4,000-foot-long barrier known as Popponesset Spit, is among this year’s best restored beaches, according to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).
For almost two decades Save Popponesset Bay has worked with Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Town of Mashpee to protect one of the town’s most valuable natural resources – the Popponesset Spit.
The Spit provides vital shelter to the flourishing ecology of Popponesset Bay, affords critical storm damage protection to hundreds of properties around the Bay, protects numerous navigation channels, and is home to many endangered shorebird species.
Historically, the Spit eroded at roughly 5 ft/yr, which led to significant narrowing of the beach, numerous dune breaches, and storm overwash. Channel dredging, the primary source of beach nourishment, had not yielded a sufficient volume to keep up with erosion and sea level rise. Consequently, the Spit was disappearing, and the community knew a longer term solution was necessary.
In 2013 volunteers launched the first campaign to fund a substantial nourishment project. Thanks to strong community support, more than 60,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the dunes and beach to restore the height and dune elevation for about two-thirds of the spit.
ASBPA reported few days ago that the ongoing project has significantly improved the resilience of the Spit and the Bay, helping to restore natural habitat for endangered water birds, mitigate erosion, improve storm damage prevention for the Bay and surrounding area, and enhance navigational safety and reliability.