Mar 11, 2019

Pleasant Bay Alliance Releases Erosion Management Guidelines

Pleasant Bay Alliance releases erosion control guidelines, which feature best management practices that towns and property owners can use to manage erosion as sea levels rise. 

The erosion management guidelines stress soft solutions for the East Coast bay
The erosion management guidelines stress soft solutions for the East Coast bay

The Pleasant Bay Alliance of Harwich, Ma., released its Erosion Management Guidelines for Pleasant Bay. The 37-page document outlines best practices for towns and property owners to manage erosion and cope with rising sea levels without disrupting sediment flow.

According to local news source The Cape Cod, the document was completed with members of the alliance’s coastal workgroup, including conservation commissioners, conservation agents, state regulators and other coastal experts.

In the introduction of the guidelines, it is stated that “the  guidelines are intended to assist conservation commissions, homeowners, design professionals and other stakeholders in “assessing alternatives for erosion management in Pleasant Bay.”

“One of the points that the guidelines stress is that any proposal for managing shoreline has to viewed in the context of the larger system, and how management actions in one location can reverberate in other parts of the system,” said Carole Ridley, the Pleasant Bay Alliance coordinator.

The management guidelines stress soft solutions and green infrastructure, as opposed to hard erosion protection through revetments and other measures. The soft solutions aim to preserve the natural sediment flow while protecting property.

“Those can help to sustain that natural flow that keeps the shoreline healthy, the habitat healthy, and also increases the long-term resilience of the shoreline against storm surges and sea level rise,” Ridley said.

The erosion control guidelines took several years to develop and drafts were reviewed with conservation commissions to receive feedback. The guidelines have been distributed to local conservation commissions and also are available online here.

“We wanted this document to be a resource that conservation commission members, people who go before commissions, and the consultants they hire can all rely on the document as a guide and a resource for evaluating options to deal with the erosion conditions of their particular location,” Ridley said.

Ridley continued by saying that the alliance will “continue to assess the implications of sea level rise to strengthen the management guidelines.”

“We hope this is a thing that will be consulted regularly,” Ridley said to Cape Cod. “We hope folks will continue to review it and consider the wide spectrum of options that it represents as they consider what to do to manage erosion on their property.”

Read more about erosion and sediment control and rising sea levels: