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Coastal Hazards Commission
June 12, 2006 Meeting Summary
Steve McKenna, CZM, and Wayne Jaedtke, Barnstable County Department of Dredging, led a field trip to Cold Storage Beach on the east side of Sesuit Harbor. Wayne gave an overview of the dredging program and projects that placed dredged material on beaches. Then, the group investigated the beach where the dredge recently placed sand from a maintenance project at the inlet. This project provides a good example of beneficial reuse of compatible sand.
Public Forum Summary
Julia Knisel, CZM, provided a summary of the comments at the public forums as well as the written comments. Copies of the written comments were handed out with the summary. The comments covered the full spectrum of concerns regarding coastal hazards. Development in high-hazards areas, seawalls, and beach nourishment were particularly hot topics.
Working Group Updates
Hazards Information - John Tommaney, co-chair
The group is compiling a list of coastal hazards data and tools including sources. Recommendations will be the focus of the next meeting on June 22 in Framingham.
Protection - Jim O'Connell, co-chair
Primary potential benefits and impacts of structural and non-structural shoreline stabilization measures are being evaluated. The group will provide a table of the benefits and impacts for the report. A range of costs is difficult to estimate. The group will make a recommendation regarding alternative technologies. The next meeting will be held on June 15 in Barnstable.
20-Year Infrastructure Plan - Representative Frank Hynes, chair
The scope of work for the contract will focus on hard structures including seawalls, revetments, and jetties. The contractor will locate structures in the South Shore region and grade their state of disrepair on a five point scale. The next meeting is scheduled for June 13 in Boston.
Planning & Regulations - Madelyn Morris, member
Hazard mitigation planning was addressed by Bill Clark, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), at the last meeting on May 26. Coordination issues between building inspectors and conservation commissions were raised by the Technical Advisory Committee on Coastal Construction and Environmental Issues (TACCEI). FEMA's Community Rating System will be discussed at the next meeting on June 23.
Policy - Susan Snow-Cotter, co-chair The group is looking at recent changes in the insurance industry leading to several companies pulling out of Cape Cod. Smart growth and acquisition of storm-damaged properties is also being discussed. Development of guidance on the implementation of Executive Order 181 will be recommended. The next meeting is on June 16 in Boston.
South Shore Coastal Hazards Characterization Atlas - John Ramsey, Applied Coastal Research and Engineering
John Ramsey, who was contracted by CZM to compile a coastal hazards atlas for the South Shore, gave an overview of the project. The primary purpose of the atlas is to provide assistance for the review of projects that may be vulnerable to coastal hazards. A range of variables were considered, including:
Examining the Southeast New England Hurricane Threat - David Vallee, National Weather Service
David Vallee provided an overview of the history of hurricanes in Southeastern New England, described our current risk, and provided tips on how to prepare for a hurricane. The frequency of hurricanes has been low in this region, but the intensity has been severe. Twelve major hurricanes made landfall between 1900 and 2005. Four category three hurricanes made landfall during the active period between 1938 and 1954. Warming in the tropical Atlantic is driving the storm cycle. An above normal season is predicted for this year. We may see 13 to 16 named storms during the 2006 hurricane season. Landfall west of Fairhaven could be bad for Cape Cod, which should be most concerned about storm surge. North to south oriented shorelines along Buzzards Bay, including Wareham, Bourne, and Falmouth, are at the greatest risk. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to predict the rapid acceleration of a hurricane up the coast. Average forward motion is 33 mph. Heavy rainfall usually precedes the height of the hurricane by 12 to 15 hours and is focused along and west of the storm track. Half of the hurricanes since 1900 have produced river and flash flooding. Many dam failures have also occurred. High winds and storm surge are focused east of the storm track and are most significant within an hour of landfall. Homeowners need to secure garage, sliding, and French doors because they frequently fail during hurricanes. It would be wise to retrofit homes with hurricane clips and shatterproof glass. Widespread and long-term (more than three weeks) loss of utilities is likely during a category three hurricane. Coastal engineering structures are not likely to protect homes against hurricanes.
The next meeting of the Commission is on July 17 at the Mariners House in Boston.