Assessment of Multi-decadal Coastal Change: Beach Point in Truro to Jeremy Point, Wellfleet (MA)

Funding for this project was provided by MassBays to Center for Coastal Studies (2013)

About the project

The study conducted by Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in 2014 characterized and quantified sediment flux within the littoral cells of Cape Cod Bay from Beach Point in North Truro along 18 km (11.18 mi) of shoreline to Jeremy Point in Wellfleet. 

Shoreline erosion is a serious issue of concern on Cape Cod and in 2005 CCS began developing a simple geomorphic model to determine long-term volumetric coastal change and longshore sediment transport along outer Cape Cod. The method's applicability to Cape Cod Bay was evaluated in 2012 when CCS applied the model to a 4 km (2.48 mi) section of the Cape Cod Bay coast extending north from Beach Point in North Truro to the Provincetown/ Truro town line. The pilot project demonstrated that comparisons of contemporary bathymetric and terrestrial LiDAR with high quality historic hydrographic and terrestrial data along cross shore transects provide an effective means of estimating century-scale sediment budgets along Cape Cod Bay shores. In 2013, the 2012 analysis was extended north  into Provincetown Harbor. The results of these assessments were documented in two technical reports funded by the Island Foundation and together provide an estimate of the long term, regional scale sediment flux for 7 km (4.3 mi) of the southerly and westerly facing coasts of Cape Cod Bay.

The 2014 study funded by MassBays enhanced the characterization of the natural dynamics of this system and provided a quantitative assessment of sediment transport and sediment budget calculations for approximately 25 km (15.5 miles) of the Cape Cod Bay coast. Knowledge of these parameters is vital to an understanding of the historical conditions that contribute to future changes to the position, shape and size of the coastline. These data can be used to reduce the vulnerability of communities and ecological systems to the impacts of changing climate and rising sea levels.

Details of the study as well as a discussion of how the results provide insight into the sedimentary conditions and processes associated with the Provincetown - Truro - Wellfleet coast of Cape Cod Bay and how the findings, when combined with primary geographical features may be applied for coastal planning and management purposes are provided in the study report: Assessment of Multi-decadal Coastal Change: Provincetown Harbor to Jeremy Point, Wellfleet, MA. Center for Coastal Studies. 2013 

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