Chatham Town Officials Worry About Storm Impact on South Beach

CHATHAM – Recent winter storms have made a major impact on South Beach in Chatham.

According to the town’s natural resources director Robert Duncanson, there have been multiple overwashes of the beach’s southern section and the area south of Lighthouse Beach is very narrow and could break through.

“At high tide, there is almost no walkable beach left, it’s scarped right up to the edge of the dunes,” said Duncanson.

Town officials are concerned that the conditions at the Chatham Harbor entry channel could further deteriorate and make it impossible for commercial fishing boats to reach the fish pier.

“If you’ve been down there or you’ve been down at the overlook, you may have seen that things have changed quite dramatically recently,” said Duncanson.

If a break were to occur at South Beach, officials say it would slow the flow of water through the inlet causing more shoaling.

If another break  happens in the beach, some experts say the existing entrance to the Chatham Fish Pier could be closed off, putting the local fishing industry in jeopardy.

A change in waterways regulation has been proposed, to create additional mooring space in Stage Harbor in case the conditions make it necessary to switch harbors for the fishing fleet.

The change could also create additional mooring space along the Stage Harbor channel, inside Crescent Beach.

It’s been approved by selectmen to put before voters for passage at the annual town meeting in May.

Coastal experts are also keeping an eye on the break in the beach across from Minister’s Point to see if that could at some point become the main entrance to Chatham Harbor.


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