Multiple Strategies Needed to Preserve Menauhant Beach

FALMOUTH – Multiple solutions may be needed to solve water quality and erosion problems facing Menauhant Beach in Falmouth.

The rate of erosion is very high on the west side of the beach, resulting in the parking lot and sand dunes losing ground year after year. Town officials worry about how long it will take for the shoreline to reach the roadway if nothing is done.

In September, the Falmouth Board of Selectmen were presented with an overview of the Menauhant Beach Coastal Resiliency Project by John Ramsey of Applied Coastal Research and Engineering.

Applied Coastal was hired by the town to model the erosion occurring at the beach with a series of alternatives to address it, including a ‘do-nothing’ alternative. The analysis modeled waves, currents, tides and winds in both extreme and day-to-day weather conditions, as well as sediment movement and availability.

The town wishes to protect the existing beach from further erosion and expand it, as well as protect the roadway and its approach to the bridge at Bourne’s Pond Inlet. Town officials say that they’re proposing to completely rebuild the inlet, extending and widening it to double its current width.

“The system is a bit changed from what it was historically. We actually moved the inlet in 1985,” said Ramsey.

“That inlet was there for many decades, in 1844 the inlet was actually where it is now. In 1985 the town had decided to move it back to where it historically had been and stabilize it there. It tends to make the system screwed up a little bit.”

Another long-term solution to protect the beach from erosion is to add fence-like structures, called groynes, which interrupt water flow and limit the movement of sediment and prevents drift.

No matter what measures are taken, Menauhant Beach will always be vulnerable to erosion because of the high surge across Falmouth’s south coast.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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