Barnstable County Dredging Program Begins 25th Season

BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable County Dredge season has begun its 25th season.

The program experienced impediments over the past three years to its schedule due to several breakdowns of one of its dredges.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic also impacted the end of the winter schedule.

“With a fully staffed crew, and both dredges operational, we are very optimistic that the Dredge Program’s most difficult challenges are behind us, and now we can get on with keeping our waterways accessible and meeting the very aggressive schedule that we have ahead of us,” said County Dredge Manager Ken Cirillo.

“The County Dredge Program is critical for our region because it helps maintain the changing coastal landscape while protecting its environmental and economic vitality in addition to offering each town significant cost savings.”

According to Barnstable County officials, demand for dredging on Cape Cod has increased in recent years due to climate change implications and the availability of additional state grant funding for projects.

“The dredging “season” typically runs from October to mid-June and is subject to time of year restrictions, ranging from protecting winter flounder to piping plovers as well as summer tourism. But this year, we are starting one month early on the Dead Neck/Sampson’s Island Phase 3 dredging and beach nourishment project,” said Cirillo.

Barnstable County’s dredging begins with work on the following areas:

  • Sampson’s Island/Dead Neck – Town of Barnstable
  • Mill Creek Channel – Town of Yarmouth
  • Falmouth Inner Harbor – Town of Falmouth
  • Little Bay – Town of Bourne
  • Pamet Harbor Inlet & Approach Channel – Town of Truro

In 1993, Barnstable County conducted a needs assessment and cost-benefit analysis of operating a municipal dredge program on behalf of the towns and found that a regional dredging program would be beneficial to the towns and cost-effective to operate.

For more than 21 years, the Cod Fish has dredged 14 towns on Cape Cod. A second dredge, Sand Shifter, was added in 2017, and a third purchased in 2019, both from Ellicott Dredges.

Over the past 24 years, the County dredges have removed more than 2.1 million cubic yards of material from 300 projects.

Ninety-five percent of that material went to rebuilding the beaches around Cape Cod.

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