Army Corps plans helo survey of Martha’s Vineyard munition sites


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), New England District, is conducting a helicopter survey of South Beach, Cape Poge, and Tisbury Great Pond. The survey began Monday and will continue through the first week in February. Depending on weather, the survey may start and end a week later.

“The public is advised that a low-flying helicopter rigged with geophysical instrumentation will be flying in all three project areas,” an ACE press release said.

The helicopter will stay approximately 500 feet away from houses. Plans call for the aerial magnetometer survey to begin at Tisbury Great Pond, move to South Beach, and then Cape Poge; the agenda may change based on weather patterns during working hours.

The aerial survey will supplement a ground survey currently underway by ACE as part of a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at three sites on Martha’s Vineyard.

The sites in Chilmark, Edgartown, and West Tisbury were used to train naval aviators during and immediately following World War II, according to ACE’s website.

They include the former Cape Poge Little Neck bomb target site, the former moving target machine gun range and bomb target site at South Beach, and the former Tisbury Great Pond bomb site and gunnery range.

The purpose of the RI/FS is to determine the nature and extent of munitions and explosives of concern and munitions debris at the sites. Once the survey is complete, the Army Corps will then evaluate various remedial actions that could include digging up munitions, long-term monitoring, or doing nothing.

ACE still needs to acquire the remaining 22 outstanding rights of entry on Tisbury Great Pond barrier beach. (See “South Shore munitions cleanup hits hurdle,” published in The Times on December 16.)

ACE requests that property owners who were contacted previously by phone and/or received a right of entry in the mail and have not signed and returned it, to call Carol Ann Charette at 978-318-8605 or Quentin Walsh at 978-318-8440.