Seaport Council grants awarded to two towns
The Massachusetts Seaport Council last month approved grants totaling $57,500 to fund feasibility studies and harbor projects in Tisbury and Edgartown.
Edgartown will receive $7,500 to pay for a feasibility assessment of the beach area around Edgartown Light at the entrance to Edgartown Harbor, which is encroaching into the harbor.
Lynne Fraker, Edgartown dredge administrator and member of the Tisbury dredge committee, said last week that the Woods Hole Group, a coastal engineering firm, will look at ways to stop the fill going any farther into the harbor.
Tisbury will receive $50,000 for three projects aimed at lessening the need for constant dredging to maintain the narrow entrance to Tashmoo Pond.
The Tisbury grant includes $30,000 to look at alternatives to dredging the Tashmoo channel every other year, $10,000 to extend the dredging permit beyond its current boundaries and $10,000 to remove rocky material in the channel, said Tisbury harbormaster John "Jay" Wilbur III.
The feasibility study would look at the jetties to see what could be done to reduce the amount the town has to do at the channel entrance. "It will likely involve enlarging the hard structures, the jetties," he said.
The dredging costs $100,000 to $150,000 every other year and the town usually pays 25 percent of that cost, with the rest coming from state monies, Mr. Wilbur said. Tisbury received about $100,000 from the Seaport Council last spring to dredge the channel.
"I've had in mind for years there might be a way to improve that entrance rather than dredging every couple of years," Mr. Wilbur said. When the dredge committee formed, it focused on the Tashmoo entrance, and the members thought "by studying the dynamics, we can prolong the need to dredge," he said.
The feasibility study will go out to bid for the work to be done by a coastal planning or engineering firm this year. It probably will take about a year to complete, Mr. Wilbur said.
Mr. Wilbur said he and the Tisbury dredge committee are also working on a cooperative effort with West Chop homeowners who might take the sand from any dredging efforts. "The West Chop owners want a beach back," he said.
Mr. Wilbur and Ms. Fraker first presented the proposals to the Alliance of Port Professionals, a subcommittee of the council, and again on Dec. 14 to the entire Seaport Council in Boston. Kristen Decas, deputy director and program manager for the council, came to the Vineyard in November to look at the proposed projects.
"The council looked at the harbors and felt they would like to support us," Ms. Fraker said. "We're very excited to qualify for this money."
To qualify for the seaport grant money, a port or harbor needs to have some commercial traffic, including commercial fishing. The council also likes to support recreational use, Ms. Fraker said.
The Seaport Council was formed 10 years ago and administers the $300 million seaport bond bill to revitalize the commonwealth's five deep-water ports for commercial interests as well as support smaller ports and harbors.