Edgartown awarded CZM grant


The Trustees of Reservations will partner with Edgartown on a coastal resilience project through a $240,674 grant from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Coastal Resilience Grant Program, according to a press release.

The CZM grant in Edgartown will restore primary coastal dunes on South Beach and Norton Point Beach, relocate one of three bathhouses 50 feet inland, and remove an asphalt lot. The Trustees will work with the County of Dukes County. Additionally, the restoration will use native plants and compatible dredge material to create the dune. The current OSV trail will be moved further inland.

“This dune restoration will take place along a vulnerable stretch of beach, where repeated overwash events from tides and storms have completely eroded the primary dune,” Tom O’Shea, Trustees managing director of resources and planning, said in the release. “By restoring the primary dune, we can help to protect the vital habitat on the beach and behind it, and maintain public access to this beloved property, which faces accelerating challenges in coming years from the impacts of climate change.” 

Working with Woods Hole Group, the project team has planned for a 14-foot-high dune with a 10:1 slope ratio, after conducting analysis and modeling to determine what would be most resilient to erosion and storm surge. The team is now searching for a local source of sand, with dune construction anticipated to be completed by June 2022.

“The town of Edgartown park commission is pleased to have the Trustees as a partner in this phase of this retreat and restoration project,” Jane Varkonda, Edgartown conservation agent and park commissioner, said in the release. “The town and the Trustees share a common boundary between South Beach and Norton Point. At this easternmost portion of South Beach, all vehicle traffic entering and exiting Norton Point converges with pedestrians, bicycle traffic, and cars parking for South Beach. South Beach provides a mile of public beach open to all the visitors to the Island. We maintain and staff five lifeguard stations and park patrol staff, who respond to emergencies on the beach and also to our abutting beach managers as needed. The town is extremely grateful to CZM and their staff for their guidance in getting this project to the construction phase. CZM awarded the town a grant last year to provide funding to engineer and permit the project. After the close call with Hurricane Henri this past weekend, the need to do both projects is even more evident. Neither the town or the Trustees’ dune restoration and enhancement projects can stand alone, and must be managed with the same goals and objectives. The Edgartown park department looks forward to continuing our collaboration with managing the beaches in Edgartown with the Trustees and the county as our neighbors.”