Tisbury approves dredge grant application

The town’s harbormaster is looking to have Tashmoo channel in Tisbury dredged toward the end of October, after boat traffic lets up, using a combination of a state grant and town money.

At a Tuesday meeting, selectmen approved a grant application to help pay for the estimated $260,000 dredge project. The plan is to clear out approximately 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the Tashmoo channel and the area surrounding the bulkhead at the Lake Street boat landing.

The channel was last dredged in October of 2018, and Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said a survey was conducted recently that indicated that area of passage is filling in again.

“We have a real shallow spot at the area just inside the breakwater that comes up to about 3 or 4 feet,” Crocker said. 

The sand removed from the channel will be deposited on the public beach area at the end of Herring Creek Road. If there is excess material, Crocker said that material will be transported to some of the private beach properties to the east of Tashmoo.

He clarified that the entire area where the sand will be deposited is permitted for that purpose.

Crocker said the Edgartown dredge committee has expressed interest in the project, and he plans on having the Woods Hole Group oversee the dredging of Tashmoo.

“They are also doing the dredging in Vineyard Haven Harbor, so I figured it would make sense to just expand that,” Crocker said.

The bulkhead area at Lake Street landing is just to the south of the pier, and commercial fishermen use it to load and unload their gear, according to Crocker. Crocker said he plans to dredge about 50 yards of sand from that area, and relocate it to the same site as the rest of the material from the project.

The state grant Tisbury is applying for will provide funding for half the total cost of the project, and because the town has approximately $150,000 in previously written and accepted articles, Crocker said they do have the funds to pay the town’s match. 

Lynne Fraker suggested mechanical dredging in advance, before the start of the summer season, to clear out an area for deep-draft boats to be able to travel through the channel. 

“I am very concerned, not even fishing boats are able to get in there,” Fraker said. She went on to advocate for establishing a dredge committee that will represent stakeholders and plan for these projects in advance.