The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) announced this week that in collaboration with the town of Edgartown, the conservation organization is beginning its first phase of the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge nourishment and restoration project.
The two-phase project aims to enhance the resiliency of vulnerable areas of Cape Poge in order to accommodate access to over-sand vehicles, while working to mitigate habitat disturbance, Trustees reps said in a recent press release.
The first phase, now underway, will be making use of dredged sand from Cape Poge Bay to restore existing access trails on Tom’s Way and East Beach, which will help build up beach and dune resiliency by preventing impacts of storm surge.
The second phase will be to retire a portion of the existing bayside trail, and relocate it to an area less vulnerable to flooding and erosion. That phase is contingent on securing funding.
“Restoration on the retired trails will mitigate habitat disturbance from creating a new section of OSV crossover trail in the dune and maritime forest, so the project will have a net conservation and resilience benefit,” TTOR says.
The nonprofit expects the work to be completed by the spring.
“We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to use dredge sand from Cape Poge Bay this winter to perform restoration essential to the construction of a new access trail at Tom’s Neck. We are grateful for our partnership with the town of Edgartown for supplying local dredge material from the Cape Poge Bay dredging project,” Darci Schofield, TTOR Island director, said in the recent press release.
“This work is part of our commitment to ensure special places like Cape Poge are resilient in the face of sea level rise, and accessible for all future residents and visitors of Martha’s Vineyard. The trail to Tom’s Neck is consistently closed due to flooding, and we are excited to secure a more resilient OSV access trail to this beloved place,” Schofield added. “Tom’s Neck is a popular destination for anglers, shellfishermen, and beachgoers, providing access to the pristine waters of Cape Poge Bay.”
Cape Poge Beach will be temporarily closed to visitors while work is being carried out. Cape Poge visitors are asked to check the Trustees’ social media pages daily for updates on closures and the work associated with the project.