The Coastal Breach at Nauset Beach, Chatham, Massachusetts?A Case Study

by Franklin W. Fessenden, US Army Corps of Engineers, United States,
Susan C. Scott, US Army Corps of Engineers, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Barrier Islands: Process and Management


Nauset Beach, a barrier spit separating Pleasant Bay from the Atlantic Ocean at the town of Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, breached in a severe storm on January 2, 1987. The breach has had, and will continue to have, profound environmental, economic and social effects both on Pleasant Bay and the town of Chatham. This report briefly summarizes the cause and effects of the breach and focuses on the Army Corps of Engineers response to requests for assistance from the town of Chatham. An important part of the presentation is a description of the complexities inherent in attempts of a governmental agency to become involved in an extremely environmentally sensitive area which is under several overlapping local, state and federal jurisdictions. The limits and problems associated with such an interrelated network of influences are discussed. Finally, the proposed Corps response, formulated as part of a joint cooperative effort with the several other agencies and groups involved, is presented.

Subject Headings: Beaches | Case studies | Barrier islands | Gates (hydraulic) | Coastal management | Storms | Federal government | United States | Massachusetts | Atlantic Ocean

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