PLYMOUTH – The city is moving forward with plans to restore an eroded section of Plymouth Long Beach before a major seawall restoration in the same area by the Army Corps of Engineers.
the Custody commission on Tuesday approved a proposal to add up to 35,600 cubic meters of sand and cobbles to a 2,000-foot stretch of barrier beach that runs north of the daytime parking area.
The federal government has approved the restoration of a $25 million ocean-side seawall on the same beach, but that project is still in the planning stages and won’t be complete for a few years.
The refueling project would mix 20% sand with 80% pebbles and distribute this material along the 2,000-foot corridor on either side of Ryder Way, the dirt road that provides access to the outer beach.
The material would be compatible with the sediments already in place on the beach and would extend from the harbor side to the breakwater on the ocean side. The mixture would be graded more neatly on the ocean side to sink into the levee. It would slope more gradually toward the bay side to provide protection for nesting birds.
The Conservation Commission approved the work under several conditions. Work can only be done from September to March so as not to interfere with bird nesting or recreational access to the outer beach.
The contractor will be required to work with beach residents to allow access to the cottages during construction.
The contractor would also be required to revegetate the disturbed area, repair any construction damage and dampen any stored material to minimize dust. Sand and pebbles will be stockpiled and mixed at the south end of Ryder Way and then trucked to the day parking area.
The city has not yet received funding for the project. David Gould, Plymouth’s director of marine and environmental affairs, said the town was first seeking permits for the work and then seeking funding through state grants.
There is no schedule for work beyond the restrictions of not working in the spring or summer. The 35,600 cubic yards also represents the maximum amount of material that would be added. The city could move less if the project is not fully funded.
Several landowners on the beach have come out in favor of the project, expressing hope that it will provide emergency access to the outer beach for years to come.
Jeramy Packard, an engineer representing the city, said the city projects the power supply will last another 10 years. By then, the Army Corps of Engineers should have rebuilt the deteriorating seawall along the same stretch.
While federal funding is in place for this larger project, planning is still only about 30% complete and the city estimates it will take another two years before work on the levee restoration begins.
Gould said the resurfacing project will be a significant improvement to the beach, but in no way will reduce or eliminate the need to rebuild the seawall.
“We are getting permits and hope to get state funding to help with the power project. All work should be done in the fall and winter to avoid time of year restrictions for shorebirds and recreational activities,” he said.