GLOUCESTER DPW ROCKIN THE NEW FENCING AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Check out the awesome new dune fencing recently installed at Good Harbor Beach by our DPW crew. The wire fencing runs along the length of the beach. The DPW did an outstanding job, very neat and unobtrusive.

Dune fencing plays an important role in reducing erosion. One of the main benefits of dune fencing is to help keep pets and people out of the dunes. Why is it detrimental to the dunes to allow uncontrolled dogs to run through the dunes and for people to use the dunes to access the parking lot, or worse, as their personal toilet? Repeated traffic through the dunes damages and kills the plants growing in the dunes. Plants help control erosion by stabilizing soil and sediments with their roots. Dune vegetation helps break the impact of of wave splash and rain, and also traps sand to help build up the dunes.

The fencing material installed by the DPW is an excellent choice for nesting shorebirds. This year especially, with much of the beach vegetation washed away and with the beach greatly narrowed, the Piping Plover adults and chicks had learned to use the area behind the old wire fencing for shade and to hide from predators. The open fencing still allows for small wild creatures to go in and out of the holes to find shelter and safety at the base of the dune.

Pip snuggled under Mama PiPl at the old fence.

Thank you Gloucester DPW for a super job well done!

 Adult Piping Plovers and chicks found shelter along the wire fencing (the Bachelor left, and Mama and Pip, right).

Good Harbor Beach storm damage erosion unearths massive glacial outcropping

The 2018 winter storms exposed an expansive and blindingly obvious glacial outcropping by the footbridge side of Good Harbor Beach near the piping plover enclosure. In 2017 the feature was something more than a rock and I don’t mean scale. After two severe thunderstorms on July 8, 2017, one chick remained and the family acted strange. One of the parent plovers perched atop that rock for my entire shift, seemingly in mourning. The rock was a sheltering spot and helpful monitor landmark which it still is this year. This summer the rock revealed itself like a tip of an iceberg, and made Good Harbor Beach resemble a bit of Wingaersheek.

Here are a few Before (2017) and After (2018) comparisons. The photographs illustrate how much dry sand disappeared and how the beach was basically scrubbed of any scrub.

 

he’s 6′ to give you idea of scale

He's 6 one _20180616_070253 (2).jpg

Wingaersheek Beach January 2018

Wingaersheek Beach Gloucester MA ©c ryan 20180121_072059.jpg

reposting as I had some trouble uploading photos (prior)

Good Harbor Beach storm damage erosion unearths a massive glacial outcropping

The 2018 winter storms exposed an expansive and blindingly obvious glacial outcropping by the footbridge side of Good Harbor Beach near the piping plover enclosure. In 2017 the feature was something more than a rock and I don’t mean scale. After two severe thunderstorms on July 8, 2017, one chick remained and the family acted strange. One of the parent plovers perched atop that rock for my entire shift, seemingly in mourning. The rock was a sheltering spot and helpful monitor landmark which it still is this year. This summer the rock revealed itself like a tip of an iceberg, and made Good Harbor Beach resemble a bit of Wingaersheek.

Here are a few Before (2017) and After (2018) comparisons. The photographs illustrate how much dry sand disappeared and how the beach was basically scrubbed of any scrub.

 

Special rock piping plover enclosure Good Harbor Beach Good Morning Gloucester_20170709_065929 ©c ryanSpecial rock piping plover enclosure Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Mass_©c ryan_20180617_063939

Good Harbor Beach piping plover enclosure ©c ryan_20170630_074839Good Harbor Beach sand erosion_piping plover enclosure_ Gloucester MA_ 20180616_071107 © c ryan

Good Harbor Beach looking across piping plover enclosure dune ©c ryan_20170627_063852 Good Harbor Beach looking across piping plover enclosure dune and beach erosion_20180613_053827 ©c ryan

Glacial rock unearthed after winter storms Good Harbor Beach Gloucester MA looks like Wingaersheek beach_20180617_064006 © c ryan

lonely little scrub

lonely little scrub_20180618_060541© c ryan.jpg

Long Beach status: sand creeps back, no stairs, more damage at seawall and walkway

Photo journal documenting rapid damage and repairs post trio of winter storms as of May 2018.

sunrise_ May 2018_flawed and beautiful Long Beach seawall promenade Gloucester Rockport Ma  ©c ryan.jpg

Sand

is creeping back, truly. (view looking across to Gloucester side) 

sand creeping back Long Beach Mass after winter storms May 16 2018 ©c ryan.jpg

(sand migrating back- view looking to Rockport– see 2017 post about  Long Beach annual shifting sands )

Sand migrates back center of Long Beach MA - even with winter storm erosion- 20180516- ©c Ryan.jpg

beach erosion was significant

Damage continues

Spring tides slam the Long Beach seawall.

photo: A tree tossed up like a toothpick atop the rip rap helps to illustrate the ocean’s twice daily whollops.

tree tossed up like toothpick_May 16 2018 Long Beach Mass-strong high tides twice daily ©c ryan.jpg

vulnerable spots clearly visible to the naked eye (I marked up two with red lines)

weak spots Long Beach seawall damage May 18 2018 _©c ryan.jpg

 

When the seawall opened up and heavy concrete sections balanced like hanging chads or individual playing cards, I was not surprised. The massive promenade had shown signs of strain.  Small fissures and tiny holes were noticeable before the winter storms accelerated its decline. Water finds a way in at high tides. The manmade wall is noticeably shifting and rumbling at a greater pace. Holes, cracks and breaks along the seawall expand, and new ones erupt. I can’t help conjuring up comparisons to Yellowstone’s boiling and unpredictable surface.  I imagine stakeholders are mapping details of their immediate landscape. Though beaten down, the promenade is walkable and sturdy. Tiny holes do expand rather alarmingly.

example –

and another (filled)- the cone eventually dropped beneath the path

Fissures

more photos (before-afters, repairs, boulder pyres, stairs or lack thereof, and nuisance popples) and videos of  seawall ramparts giant boulder shuffle

Continue reading “Long Beach status: sand creeps back, no stairs, more damage at seawall and walkway”

WGBH radio: Maggie Penman asks Mike Hale Gloucester DPW and Rockport DPW Richard Souza are the beaches ready?

Cape Ann Department of Public Works (DPW) have been at it clearing and repairing our coastal communities non-stop since three back to back winter storms. Both Gloucester and Rockport beaches are open for Memorial Day. According to the story, Cape Cod not so much.

Here’s the link to read the WGBH article and to listen to the story in case you missed it on the radio this morning  Memorial Day is Here. Are Massachusetts Beaches Ready? WGBH story (article and radio) by reporter Maggie Penman (apt name for journalist :))

WGBH radio interview Gloucester and Rockport DPW are MA beaches ready

portrait of Mike Hale Director Department Public Works Gloucester MA © c ryan _ April_ 2017.jpg
portrait of Mike Hale, Director of Public Works, Gloucester, MA, April 2017

Long Beach, Mass: storm damage unearths submerged grove of mystery roots

Does anybody know the age of the mangrove-like roots that began to surface back in 2012 aside Eagle Rock and the creek? The 2018 winter storm erosion exposed more of a grove line parallel to the seawall. I am curious about the seemingly fossilized piercings and how the landscape may have looked before the beach we walk today.

more photos in my GMG post from 2016: Shore nature challenge: what are these? Long Beach Easter Island

Long Beach Massachustts after winter 2018 storm damage- mangrove like roots surface©c ryan_20180523_134700InkedLong Beach Massachustts after winter 2018 storm damage- mangrove like roots unearthed - detail marked up©c ryan_20180523_134700

 

 

Paths of destruction winter storm damage Riley Long Beach #GloucesterMA

Damage everywhere we looked this morning, low tide, about 8am, March 4, 2018. With surf high at low tide, we expect the next high tide to surge more.

Guts of seawall exposed Winter Storm Riley March 4 2018 Gloucester MA Long Beach ©C Ryan _151948 (47)
Long Beach seawall sink holes

Long Beach seawall; Rockport Road; Gloucester and Rockport

Some evident damage to coastal homes in Gloucester MA and front row cottages by Long Beach pedestrian walkway. Surf inside and out found paths of entry.

The Long Beach pedestrian bridge was damaged. The boulder barrier seawall was cut down by half, maybe more.

dramatic change sea wall cut down by half Winter Storm Riley March 4 2018 Gloucester MA Long Beach ©C Ryan _151948 (32)

rip rap exposed as far as the eye can see, Long Beach (looking from Rockport back to Gloucester, MA) Note every platform from the stairs was ripped away

video of surf looking to Gloucester end of Long Beach. Would not risk this walk at storm high tides- note multiple crests with each surge Continue reading “Paths of destruction winter storm damage Riley Long Beach #GloucesterMA”

Riley Nor’Easter morning after second high tide #GloucesterMA: coastal damage homes and Long Beach seawall

Riley took bites out of the Long Beach seawall, and ripped out decks and fences wherever last night’s raging tide rushed. Debris strewn roads include large timber rails and rocks.

Morning after Riley second tide sea wall damage Long Beach _20180303_075741 © C Ryan (13)

 

Long Beach shifting sands and seawall: Rockport DPW targets nature and infrastructure

The other Singing Beach

As with Manchester Singing and other North Shore beaches, the white or “dry”  sand of Long Beach sings a musical sound as you scuff ahead. Lately though it’s whistling a shorter tune because there’s an astonishing loss of the dry grains.

Over the last 10 years,  so much sand has been washed away from Long Beach most every high tide hits the seawall. Boogie boarders need to truncate their wave rides else risk landing on the rip-rap.  It’s become a competitive sport to lay claim to some beach chair and towel real estate if you want a dry seat. On the plus side, low tide is great for beach soccer and tennis, long walks and runs. Bocce ball has replaced can jam and spikeball as the beach games of summer 2017.

Seasoned locals recall having to ‘trudge  a mile’ across dry sand before hitting wet sand and water. In my research I’ve seen historic visuals that support their claims.

Vista: Entrance from the Gloucester side of Long Beach

Historic photos and contemporary images –from 10 years ago– show a stretch of white sand like this one looking out from the Gloucester side of Long Beach to the Rockport side.

Long Beach

photocard showing the pedestrian walkway prior to the concrete boardwalk. Historic prints from ©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) show the damage after storm, 1931. See his GMG post and rodeo (ca. 1950)

fred bodin long beach after the storm

After the Storm, Long Beach, 1931   Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) “Printed from the original 5×7 inch film negative in my darkroom. Image #88657-134 (Long Beach looking toward Rockport)”

Fredrik D. Bodin Long Beach

Vista: Facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach

This next vintage postcard flips the view: facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach –looking back to glacial rocks we can match out today, a tide line that shows wet and dry sands, and the monumental Edgecliffe Hotel which welcomed thousands of summer visitors thanks to a hopping casino. The white sand evident in front of  the Edgecliffe bath houses (what is now Cape Ann Motor Inn) has plummeted since a 2012 February storm and vanished it seems, perhaps temporarily, perhaps not. It’s most evident where several feet of sand was cleaved off from the approach to the boardwalk.

EdgeCliffe Hotel and surf Long Beach Gloucester Mass postcard

 

Seasons of sand

I find the annual sand migration on Long Beach a fascinating natural mystery. It’s dramatic every year. Here are photos from this last year: fall (late Sept 2016), winter (December-  sand covers rip-rap), spring (April -after winter storms with alarming loss), and summer (today)

FALL

September 2016

 

WINTER

december 2016

 

SPRING April rip-rap uncovered, exposed. Climbing to the boardwalk is an exciting challenge for two boys I know (when the sand is filled in like the December photo it’s a short drop)

April Long Beach

IMG_20170410_150906 (1)

 

SUMMER July 14 sand is coming back though all boulders are not entirely submerged

IMG_20170714_103533

IMG_20170714_103222

 

Storms (namely February) strip the silky soft top sand away and expose the boulders strengthening the seawall. It’s easy to feel alarmed that the beach is disappearing. By summer, the sand fills back, though not always in the same spot or same quantity. Some rip-rap expanses remain exposed. Most is re-buried beneath feet of returning sand. New summer landmarks are revealed. One year it was a ribbon of nuisance pebbles the entire length of beach. The past two years we’ve loved “the August Shelf”. (Will it come again?)

This year there’s a wishbone river.

IMG_20170714_105940

 

“Apparently you do bring sand to the beach, according to the selectmen appointed committee ascribed with repairing the Long Beach seawall, which could cost up to $25 million.” 

In case you missed the Gloucester Daily Times article “Rockport Looks to Fix Long Beach Sea Wall” by Mary Markos, I’ve added the link here. They hope to finish by 2025. I look forward to learning more and reading about it. If extra sand is brought back will high tide continue to hit the seawall? (In the past it could hit the wall or blast over in storms, but dry sand remained lining the wall.) Will the new wall occupy the same general footprint? Will it be higher? Thicker?

IMG_20170711_102547