Sandy Neck Barrier Beach System
Designation Date: 12/15/78
Total approximate acreage: 9,125 acres
Watershed/subwatershed: Cape Cod/Barnstable Harbor
Municipalities (% of ACEC): Barnstable (90%) and Sandwich
The Sandy Neck Barrier Beach System ACEC was nominated
by the Selectmen from the Towns of Barnstable and Sandwich, and was designated
as an ACEC in 1978 because of the area’s extraordinary natural resources.
The ACEC boundary generally follows the 100-year floodplain elevation
on the landward side and mean low water on the seaward side of the Harbor.
Included in the ACEC is one of the largest barrier beach systems in New
England. Sandy Neck extends eastward approximately seven miles and shelters
Barnstable Harbor and the extensive saltmarsh habitat. This barrier beach
is considered relatively stable, helping to establish a variety of natural
communities including migrating sand dunes, fresh and saltwater marshes
and ponds, wooded swamps, tidal flats, streams, and deciduous and coniferous
forests. These areas provide flood control, storm damage prevention, improved
water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities to surrounding
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What coastal resources are included (partially
or entirely) in the ACEC?
- Harbors, Sounds, Bays: Barnstable Harbor, Broad Sound (Barnstable);
Scorton Harbor (Sandwich)
- Rivers: none
- Lakes, Ponds: none
- Brooks, Creeks: Bass, Boat Cove, Brickyard, Bridge, Eel, Great
Island, Mill, Scorton, Smith, and Wells Creeks (Barnstable); Scorton
Barrier Beaches included in ACEC
(Massachusetts Barrier Beach Inventory, CZM, 1982): Sandy Neck (Ba-29,
Sd-1), beach on east side of Scorton Harbor running to Scorton Shores
(Sd-2), several areas along southern side of Barnstable Harbor (Ba-25,26,27,28)
Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs): Barnstable Harbor.
(ORWs are waters, such as public water supplies and vernal pools
that are protected by the most stringent standards because they constitute
an outstanding resource as determined by their socio-economic, recreational,
ecological, and/or aesthetic values).