Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 29, 2016

Plum Island; Temporary solution to erosion.

Chapter 33


Serendipity on the Seashore?


July 22, 2016



It turned out that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation owned the No-Name Beach, and they had decided that NETCO’s half a million dollar temporary structure was too expensive and not temporary enough to protect Northern Reservation Terrace.


The structure had been conceived after a February storm had scared the pants off city and state officials. At the time, it looked like the state would have to build something to last long enough for the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a long-term solution to fix the erosion.


But, nature was way ahead of the Engineers. She had already disheveled the jetty so much that up to an acre of sand 4 feet deep had been flowing through the structure every month during the past winter. If this continued, the jetty would settle another few feet allowing enough sand to flow through the jetty to reverse the erosion and rebuild the riverside beach.


To their credit, the Department of Conservation and Recreation had turned down the original plan and hired the local firm GZA to design a more appropriate short-term solution. They had already determined that temporary really only meant one, possibly two, more winters, before nature could take over and finish her work to make Northern Reservation Terrace safe again.


But one of the places where all that eroded sand had been collecting was under the Captain’s Lady’s docks at the end of the point. But the enterprising Captain Christos Charos had spent several weeks using a lawnmower sized pump to dredge a slurry of sand from beneath his docks and out through a 4-inch diameter hose to dewater in shallow ponds he had dug with his earth excavator.


The operation had gone extremely smoothly. The sand was so coarse it quickly dewatered making it available to be trucked to Newbury’s nearby Olga Way. Now there was a 10-foot high, hundred eighty-foot long, artificial sand dune sitting rather incongruously in the empty lot.


But the operation had run into Captain Charos’ busy season so he had to suspend the operation to operate his fleet of fishing and whale watching boats. But the project had shown that there was an almost inexhaustible supply of good clean sand to build an artificial sand dune.


Here was where nature’s serendipity came in. About the only thing that the residents of Northern Reservation Terrace really needed was a stabilized sand dune to get them through the coming winter. It could be much like the 22-foot high, hundred mile long sand dune that the Army Corps of Engineers was building to protect the New Jersey coastline, not for one, but for the next 50 years.


So just down the beach you had a source of clean, cheap sand that was so inexhaustible that George’s docks had filled in again only a few days after he had stopped dredging. Rather than trucking all that sand to an empty lot in Newbury, why not use it to fill vegetative fiber rolls, or even extend the pipe and truck line to build a sacrificial sand dune to protect Northern Reservation Terrace?


It would provide a temporary resting place for the sand as it continued its journey from the beach, to the ocean, to the dunes and back again. All we would be doing is helping the sand rest for a bit, before continuing to cycle through this complex of interlocking ecosystems.




Read more in William Sargent’s latest book, Plum Island; 4,000 Years on a Barrier Beach, available in local bookstores and at





Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 28, 2016

Hawaii; Tropical Strom Darby.

Tropical Storm Darby Makes Landfall in Ka’u on Big Island of Hawaii

Latitude/Longitude: 19.54°N, 155.66°W
Landfall: Ka’u, Big Island, Hawaii at 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, July 23
Maximum sustained wind speed: 43 mph reported, with gusts up to 61 mph
Hazards: Heavy rain, rough surf, wind gusts
Watches/Advisories: Tropical Storm warnings, which ended for all of Hawaii at 5 a.m. local time; Flash Flood Warning for Oahu; Brown Water Advisory for Hawaii County
Reported Impacts: Power outages; Umauma Bridge
on Highway 19 closed during the weekend; Highway 11 between Volcano and Naalehu closed during the weekend; H-1 Freeway westbound closed during the weekend; fallen trees blocking local roads, mostly in Puna; many county and state parks facilities closed during the weekend, with some reopenings reported Monday; backcountry areas and some roads in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park closed during the weekend.
Tropical Storm Darby formed just off the coast of Mexico on July 11, quickly reaching hurricane status as it moved westward toward Hawaii. Though it weakened on its approach to Hawaii, Darby made landfall along the Ka’u coast of the Big Island as a tropical storm, near where Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall about two years ago. At the time, Iselle was the first tropical storm approaching from the east to hit the Big Island since an unnamed storm hit from that direction in 1958. And haggard though Darby was after its eastern approach, it achieved what none of the tropical cyclones in the central Pacific did last year: It made landfall – and became only the fifth landfalling tropical cyclone in Hawaii’s recorded history. The record shows no Hawaii landfalls as close together as Iselle’s and Darby’s.
Figure 1. The wind history of Tropical Storm Darby, indicating that most of Hawaii experienced tropical storm force winds.
Darby was downgraded to a tropical depression as of 5 a.m. local time; there is a Flash Flood Warning for Oahu that was in effect as of this morning and may be extended. A Brown Water Advisory has also been issued. Heavy rain, rough surf, and wind gusts are expected across Hawaii.
Figure 2. A fallen albizia tree from Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014. (Source: AIR)
Many county and state parks were closed over the weekend, with state parks on the Big Island and Makena State Park on Maui now re-opened, while park closures on Oahu are yet to be concluded.

All roads are open now, and emergency shelters are closed. Over the weekend, however, Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 closed as did Highway 11 between Volcano and Naalehu and the H-1 Freeway westbound. Emergency shelters on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai were open over the weekend.

This will be the final communication on Tropical Storm Darby.

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 27, 2016

NE Invasive green crab bisque.



William Sargent is the author of 20 books on science and the environment. His newest book, Energy Wars; A Report from the Front is available in local bookstores and through and at


Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 26, 2016

LUCA; Origin of Life found in deep sea vents.

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 25, 2016

East Coast Hot temperatures.

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 24, 2016

A Bermudian View of Duxbury.

‹ Previous | Next › | « Back to INBOX

From: david mittell <> [Edit Address Book]
To: sargb <>
Subject: Fwd: A Bermudian Look At Duxbury [Polticus #1,409]
Date: Jul 17, 2016 11:15 PM
This is a two-fer, ‘Coast and Sea’ as S.E. Morison described it, to be published 7/20, follows, below.
Delighted to see you have a new book out. Guess I read about it in Dexter-Southfield bulletin.
Best, D.A.M, Jr.]]
[For release 12:59 P.M. 7/12/16]

A Bermudian Look At Duxbury

By David A. Mittell, Jr.

As I go through the vast archives of my father’s 97-year life I find treasures. The most recent was the September, 1999, issue of The Bermudian, in which writer Sylvia Shorto wonders about the future of Bermuda’s unique historic architecture in a new millennium in which many corporations have set up shop in Bermuda to avoid the regulatory and tax policies in the United States.

(Why they continue to do so 17 years-on is for another column. Succinctly, Congress would rather have a divisive issue to rant about than all the money that could be repatriated with the right incentives.)

In describing 400 years of Bermudian architecture the writer could have been writing about Duxbury. She describes how penurious people ingeniously wrought shelter from the materials available to them, and how houses were enlarged from a single room (in Duxbury, sometimes from a cellar) as life improved.

She quotes the stated goals of the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust when it was formed in 1937: “….the preservation and restoration of places of historical interest or beauty in these islands, and objects of the arts and handicrafts of the early inhabitants.”

Could this, which in 1937 the authors modestly called their “aim” possibly be better-said? Nowadays our nonprofits sometimes fuss with lengthy “mission statements” in trying to “re-brand” themselves. I think we do well when we remember that historic preservation isn’t complicated.

In the Bermuda of 1999, Ms. Shorto wrote, “architecture finds itself jeopardized … by parody and destruction. Land is becoming scarce. Instead of siting houses with regard to the contours of the land, the trend is to flatten a lot and then fill it with the largest house the law will allow. … You could call this … capitalism in its birthday suit … you are what you own.”

That only needs an exclamation point to make it a rant. But there is none, and the author then looks at the future dispassionately. “How do you preserve the architecture of the past without putting a stranglehold on creativity in the future? The responsibility for good building is in the hands of architects and their clients.” She concludes, “….if privately-owned buildings are not protected, it will suggest that the majority of us don’t care about our built environment at all.”

My father loved Bermuda and loved Duxbury. I will guess he saved this Bermudian because he thought it had as much to say to the latter as the former. I certainly think it does — especially in decrying the “trend to flatten a lot and then fill it….”

We fill ancient glacial kettle-hole hollows with thousands of yards of something from somewhere, without knowing the real effect on the nearby topography. But our descendants will. The question is, as Sylvia Shorto put it about Bermuda, is it true “that the majority of us don’t care….”?

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 23, 2016

3D printed eggs used to detect turtle poaching.

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 22, 2016

Monomoy Land Grab.

Dear Friend,
It’s Take Action Tuesday! Today we need your help to protect the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge from a blatant land give away.

It may seem like deja vu, but you read that correctly – ANOTHER national wildlife refuge is at risk from a Congressionally authorized land divestment. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) protects wildlife and fragile coastal habitat on barrier islands jutting off the southern end of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Established in 1944 to conserve migratory birds, Monomoy NWR provides a haven for federally listed species like the red knot and boasts the largest haul out site for grey seals on the Atlantic coast of the United States.

Today, Monomoy NWR is under threat. Hill insiders report that Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA) plans to introduce a bill this week that would change the western boundary of the refuge to “mean low water.” Were this to go forward, it would give away 3985 acres – half of the entire refuge.

The intertidal areas at risk from this legislation support one of the largest horseshoe crab spawning sites in the state of Massachusetts. Their eggs play an integral role in the ecosystem where they are a food source for countless marine species and migratory birds, including the federally listed red knot.

Horseshoe crab eggs are critical to the survival of the red knot as they build up their energy reserves before making their 16,000 mile round-trip migration to the southern end of South America – at times flying up to 5,000 miles over six straight days without stopping! If this bill passes and the refuge boundary is changed, protections for horseshoe crabs would be lifted, exposing them to increasing harvesting pressure from the fishing and biomedical industries and robbing thousands of migratory birds of an irreplaceable resource.

Monomoy NWR belongs to ALL Americans, and this give away of our shared conservation resources will remove the assurance these resources will be conserved and managed for wildlife and the American people in perpetuity while simultaneously set a dangerous precedent for all public lands.

Please help us urge Congress to reject any legislation that would give away our public lands – including the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

Act Now

Thank you for Taking Action and we’ll see you next Tuesday!

Posted by: coastlinesproject | July 21, 2016

Horseshoe Crabs and Public Health.

Read more in Crab Wars, available trough

The Japanese firm Segegaku has been trying to remove the protection of horseshoe crabs from the Feds to the state since their 2000 lawsuit. They produce about $10 Million dollars of Limulus lysate from horseshoe crabs every year. A quart of processed blood is worth $30,000. They desperately want to get their hands on the largest population of horseshoe crabs in NE.

Read more in “Crab Wars; A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, bioterrorism and Human Health,” available in local bookstores and through

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