Cape Cod Officials Gather for ‘Dredge Summit’


BARNSTABLE – Dozens of town officials, including harbormasters from across Cape Cod, gathered last Friday for a “dredge summit” at the Barnstable County Complex.

The officials discussed developing a regional plan to deal with dredging projects which can face a lengthy state and federal permitting process.

“I think everybody on Cape Cod knows that it’s one thing to get a dredge approved in the town, another thing to get it approved by the EPA, but then you have to go to the Army Corps [of Engineers] and things can really bog down,” said Jack Yunits, the Barnstable County administrator.

Officials discussed approaches to speed up the process and collaborations among communities.

“The idea is to see what we can do to help our towns stay ahead of the game so that dredging is not a reaction and part of a routine business plan, or coastal resiliency plan of every community,” Yunits said.

Yunits said surveys of Cape towns over the last year showed that addressing dredging issues is the top priority.

A new county dredging is being built in Maryland and is expected to arrive on Cape Cod in the next few weeks.

“We’ll be moving on to double the amount of dredging we can do on Cape Cod,” Yunits said.

Yunits said the dredging needs for every town are different. Falmouth and Barnstable have several long embayments and estuaries that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Other towns have problems with coastal erosion.

“[That] is significant because if you lose a beach you lose a lot of tourism,” Yunits said. “These are things that play a role economically for Cape Cod as well as ecologically.”

Yunits said even know the needs are different the permitting process shouldn’t be.

Dredging has an impact on recreational boating, fishing, transportation and water quality improvements.

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