CHATHAM – Preliminary results of a hydrodynamic modeling study of the town's eastern inlets and waterways will be present at the end of the month.
Part of a $250,000, wide-ranging study of the waterways from Pleasant Bay to Nantucket Sound, the presentation will happen at 7 p.m. at Feb. 28 at the annex.
Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon said the focus of the update to be presented by Applied Coastal Research and Engineering of Mashpee is to look at computer models physical conditions in Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor, with a focus on the North Cut, which formed in 2007, and the geomorphic and hydrodynamic changes to the harbor's shoreline and underwater features. This past year has seen a sizable change in the system, he noted, with the North Cut, across from Minister's Point, taking over as the dominant outlet between the harbor and the ocean.
“The models they are developing are eye opening in just how well, from my perspective, they mimic what we're seeing,” Keon said. “They match very, very well.”
The overall study, entitled “Prioritization Assessment for Coastal Resiliency and Adaptive Management along Chatham's East-facing Shoreline” and done under the auspices of the Center for Coastal Studies, seeks to get a handle on the overall changes to Pleasant Bay, Chatham Harbor and Nantucket Sound caused by the shifting of inlets and erosion of beaches, as well as to look ahead to where additional changes may happen and predict where coastal flooding may occur.
“The purpose of the study is to be proactively thinking and dealing with what we should be doing to plan for coastal resiliency changes,” Keon said. “They're here now and more is going to be coming down the pike.”
The modeling study refines and updates hydrodynamic models developed for studies of nitrogen pollution in Pleasant Bay and elsewhere. “Each round is a further refinement and more sophisticated,” Keon said.
The Feb. 28 session will include information related to water levels, current speeds and tidal flow patterns, and will feature annual aerial impacts of the shoreline showing its evolution over the past decade as well as bathymetric survey information illustrating ongoing channel and shoal migration.
The study is jointly funded by a Coastal Resilience Grant from Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management and the town of Chatham.