Topics: Waterways

CHATHAM – There's actually some good news for boaters: The town's dynamic, shoal-ridden waterways are no more difficult to navigate this summer than last. In fact, some spots have improved. A little. But local knowledge still remains critical, and conditions are subject to change at any time, Harbormaster Stuart Smith told a capacity crowd at an informational meeting at the community center Saturday sponsored ...

CHATHAM – Despite dredging this past winter, shoals have filled in the channel between Outermost Harbor and open water, making the marina inaccessible two hours either side of low tide. The town has provided about 30 moorings in the open water off Morris Island where the marina will stage boats for its customers. During the times when the marina basin is inaccessible, customers will be shuttled to their vessel...

ORLEANS — The selectmen voted unanimously last week to move ahead with the first year of a revised scope of field investigations and permitting for a less ambitious dredging of Nauset Estuary, for now at least without the financial support of neighboring Eastham. “We've revised dredge volumes,” Woods Hole Group consultant Leslie Fields told the board May 15. “Before, the channel that started at the inlet and...

CHATHAM — Town officials have mixed news when it comes to two projects they’d hoped to have complete before the Memorial Day weekend. While the Mitchell River drawbridge repairs were completed ahead of schedule, the construction of a new observation deck at the fish pier might not be. The contractor carrying out the work at the fish pier has requested a slight extension of the deadline for building the new o...

An Eastham man died while paddleboarding off Nauset Light Beach Sunday afternoon, having apparently suffered a medical emergency while in the water. Because of shoaling at Nauset Inlet, the closest rescue boats had to come from Chatham, about 12 miles to the south. And had the tide been lower, some of those rescuers might also have been prevented from responding because of shoaling in Chatham Harbor. Respon...

Town Officially Served With Suit Over Dredging

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — The conservation commission has officially been served with a suit by a Minister’s Point property owner alleging that it wrongly permitted future dredging in an area that provides the only deep-water access to Chatham Harbor. The area in question, just inside the North Inlet, was approved for emergency dredging last year, but the dredging was not carried out because of deteriorating weather. Filed ...

ORLEANS — The town's dredge advisory committee reviewed dredging and disposal options for opening up Nauset Estuary April 8, but members started off focusing on what to expect in the way of support from neighboring Eastham. The takeaway from the March 25 meeting of the two towns' boards, committee chairman Bill Amaru told his colleagues, “is that the town of Eastham is partly in and mostly out until they hav...

Selectmen Like Scaled-back Plan For 90 Bridge St.

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Selectmen are advancing a plan to build a new shellfish upweller, floating docks and a public rest room on the small town-owned parcel at 90 Bridge St., next to the Mitchell River drawbridge. The conceptual plan they reviewed Monday evening would cost about $3.44 million to build, less than the $4.17 million projected for an earlier, more ambitious plan. Consulting engineer David Anderson of Stante...

CHATHAM – With shoaling creating difficulty in accessing the inlets in Chatham Harbor, the Coast Guard is looking for an alternative location for its rescue vessels that will provide greater flexibility. The agency has suggested creating docking space at the town-owned Old Mill Boatyard on Stage Harbor for its two 42-foot lifeboats. Currently, two of the vessels are docked at the municipal fish pier in Aunt Ly...

EASTHAM — Before the scooping, there must be scoping. The selectmen of Eastham and Orleans agreed March 25 that two potential plans for dredging Nauset Estuary have merit. One would dredge the system from Town Cove through the main channel and behind the barrier beach to Nauset Inlet with spurs to the Priscilla and Hemenway landings; the other would not include the spurs. “The (first) provides the most us...

Desperate Mariners Seek Answers

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM  —  With fishing boats and Coast Guard surfboats now frequently bottled up in Chatham Harbor because of severe shoaling – and with peak commercial fishing season less than three months away – mariners are demanding answers. Town officials have very few. “June is coming very close for us,” commercial fisherman and Aunt Lydia’s Cove Committee Chairman Doug Feeney told selectmen Monday. “We’re in need rig...

CHATHAM – Selectmen last week declined to support proposed federal legislation to declare Nantucket Sound a National Historic Landmark. Chatham is the only Cape town bordering Nantucket Sound that has declined to endorse the legislation, which is being promoted by the Alliance To Protect Nantucket Sound. Some 50 towns, municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations signed on to a letter to Senators Edward Mark...

CHATHAM — For vessels over a certain draft, getting in and out of Chatham Harbor is now impossible except during the most favorable tides. While smaller boats can still pass freely, commercial fishing vessels and even Coast Guard rescue boats are increasingly unable to leave the harbor. Experts say the south inlet opposite Outermost Harbor is predominantly feeding Nantucket Sound through the so-called Foo...

ORLEANS — The “air” B&B over Cedar Pond enjoyed by roosting cormorants for decades is no more. “As of yesterday, I witnessed that all wires, including the communication wire, are now down from spanning Cedar Pond,” Conservation Agent John Jannell told the conservation commission Tuesday. Some members applauded, with Judith Bruce asking that town counsel “convey our thanks” to Eversource. It was a high...

ORLEANS — It's been a long haul to get dredging Nauset Estuary on the public's radar, but now that the signal is strong some eager proponents are urging patience. “I ask that people in this room open their hearts and their minds to the obvious challenges that are going to be ahead of us, to not lose patience with the amount of time it will take for the permit process,” fisherman and dredging advisory committ...

CHATHAM – A short “listening session” last week kicked off the town's effort to square its waterways bylaws and regulations with state and federal rules. In a meeting that lasted less than half an hour, a handful of speakers raised several questions and made comments about the town's regulations, mostly focused on the contentious issue of moorings. Waterways officials and the town's waterways advisory commi...