County Dredge Removes Shoals In Three Bays
By: James Kinsella
A joint public-private project to dredge channels in the Three Bays area wrapped up this week.
Lindsey B. Counsell, executive director of Three Bays Preservation, said the Barnstable County dredge removed 15,000 cubic yards of sediment from channels extending from the entrance to Cotuit Bay to the west end of the Seapuit River.
According to a filing with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project involved dredging a 128,775-square-foot area to a depth between 7 and 11 feet below mean low water. Some of the dredged areas had been as shallow as five feet.
Mr. Counsell said the spoils were placed on the east end of Dead Neck, where they will be used to enhance shorebird habitat.
The overall cost of the project was more than $280,000. The Town of Barnstable spent $225,000 for the use of the dredge, but will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Three Bays Preservation, a nonprofit organization, paid $59,230 for the permits that allowed the dredging to proceed.
The project has been pending since the aftermath of the Patriots Day storm in 2007, which caused shoaling in the area’s channels.
“We think it went well,” Mr. Counsell said of the dredging, which lasted several weeks. “We kept a sharp eye on both ends: the digging end and the placing end.”
The new spoils at Dead Neck, he said, will give shorebirds a larger flat area in which to raise their young.
Three Bays Preservation formed in 1996 to address pollution in Cotuit, North and West bays, as well as erosion at Sampson’s Island and Dead Neck. With the current dredging completed, Mr. Counsell said, Three Bays will be turning its attention to two long-term dredging proposals.
One would widen the entrance of Cotuit Bay by 600 feet by shaving off the western end of Sampson’s Island. Another would remove up to 5,000 cubic yards from channels near Bay Street in Osterville. The organization has yet to obtain permits for either project.
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