Sandwich Receives State Approval for Scusset Beach Borrow Site

SANDWICH – The Town of Sandwich is one step closer to having a sand borrow site for Town Neck Beach.

Sandwich has received three permits from the state that would allow for the town to transfer about 250,000 cubic yards of sand from Scusset Beach to replenish materials lost due to erosion and the canal’s east end jetty.

Town Manager Bud Dunham said the town now just needs federal approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s great news because it hopefully will set a good precedents for what lies ahead for the federal permits,” Dunham said.

“There is one combined federal permit that we are waiting on and we have been persistent about following up but there’s really no time frame yet on when that decision may be made.”

The town applied for the state permits just over a year ago and received the formal approvals last week.

Originally, the state had told town officials that they would make a decision on the permits by the end of the year. With the last few months that timetable was pushed up and expected by the end of August.

“I think this would be the first long-term borrow site that the state has approved,” Dunham said.

Assuming the town receives the federal permit, it will need to conduct a lot of scientific study after sand has been taken to make sure it fills back in and the location can be reused in the future.

“All of the tests show that that should happen pretty readily,” Dunham said.

Dunham believes the state approval can’t hurt its chances of getting the federal go ahead.

“I know most of the federal concerns have already been addressed,” Dunham said. “But there are some more difficult ones that we are dealing with now and so we have been following up with them and we just hope we get a positive answer sometime soon.”

The next step, if federal permits are approved, would be to secure financing for the work.

“The biggest thing is that you have to get the permits first,” he said.

The town is also trying to get permanent approval for a replenishment site from the Cape Cod Canal.

The canal gets dredged roughly every five to seven years and the town is trying to get that and the Scusset site dedicated to replenishing Town Neck.

The town is awaiting a report from the Army Corps of Engineers, Section 1-11, which is studying the effects of the east end jetty on the flow of sediment.

Dunham said results from that study are not expected for at least another year.

“It would give them a great opportunity to combine [the Scusset site] with any time our end of the canal is dredged,” he said. “Those two things could provide a substantial volume of sand regularly moving forward. And depending on what happens with Mother Nature, climate change and all the rest, it’s probably our only real hope of trying to abate some of the problems we’ve been experiencing.”

Town officials are hoping for a couple of mild winters to buy time for work to get done to replenish the beach, which was again hit hard during the winter storm season.

“Even with the permits, funding and actually doing the work – it doesn’t happen overnight,” Dunham said. “We are trying to be realistic about that.”


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