Steady Stream Of Sand Is Replenishing Nauset Beach Dune

By: Ed Maroney

Some 250 parking space were removed to allow the creation of a dune to fend off erosion this winter. BARRY DONAHUE PHOTO

ORLEANS Since Dec. 17, the town has been preparing a treat for the ocean at Nauset Beach. It's not being delivered by food trucks but by dump trucks.

“We're either going to feed the ocean asphalt this winter or feed it some sand,” Natural Resources Director Nate Sears told town meeting Oct. 29. Voters agreed to spend $1.1 million to build up the dune between the ocean and the parking lot, and then approved borrowing for the project at the polls by 2,726 to 1,048.

And so earlier this month, the town tore up part of the asphalt parking lot, removing 250 parking spaces, and Cape Sand in Brewster began delivering 32,000 cubic yards of sand to Nauset. That breaks down to 60 trucks a day four times a week for six weeks.

On Dec. 27, with DPW/Natural Resources Director Tom Daley on hand to share information, a front-end loader was pulling up soil from around the recently-excavated septic system for the demolished Liam's clam shack, ahead of the new dune moving northward toward the site. When completed, the dune will extend from the south walkway to the beach to the location of the former north walkway just past the former location of the town bandstand, a total of 1,600 feet. The north walkway will be eliminated.

The height of the dune will vary, reaching nine feet at its highest. Its width will be 100 to 150 feet, following the curvature of its ocean side. It will be planted and fenced, and a walkway over it between the administration building and the former location of Liam's will be reestablished.

The dune will protect the admin building, but no one knows for how long. The structure's asbestos has been removed in case a storm knocks it out this winter; if it survives, it'll be back in business for the 2019 beach season.

If the weather cooperates, the dune project should be finished by March 22.