Dunes and beaches provide habitat as well as dissipating storm wave energy, which minimizes effects to landward areas. In 2011, where the dune access path of Lambert's Cove Beach opened to the beach was relatively wide and during the winter months this configuration allowed windblown sand to enter the beach access path though many angles (it looked, and acted, like a funnel). Greg Berman, coastal processes specialist for WHSG & CCCE, was invited to assist with this site in order to discuss the goal of how to continue to improve the beach access (i.e. reduce steepness) while restoring some of the areas that have been damaged due to wind scour, past practices, and foot traffic.
Additionally, an analysis of short and long term wind patterns was generated in order to determine when sand fencing should be installed to take advantage of the strength and direction of seasonal winds.
WHSG & CCCE provided a dune building sequence coupled with a schematic fencing/planting plan, with different locations and styles of fencing intended to serve difference purposes (control foot traffic, accumulate sand for planting, beach width, reduce dune height, etc.). 2012 observations indicate that the installed fence seems to have had the desired effect of accumulating sand at the fence, thereby reducing the amount of wind-blown sediment being transported to the top of the dune.
The processes that began in 2011 is not going to be finished in one season, however the speed at which the existing fences have collected sand is encouraging. After several years there should be a beach access that is not only going to require less costly/frequent/destructive maintenance but also allow for a greater area of dune function. The vegetation and sand accumulation since 2011 has performed at or above expectations, and there are plans to continue this work during the fall of 2012.
Looking at Razor Clams as an Alternative Species
The shellfish aquaculture industry in the northeast primarily farms two species, the American oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the quahog or hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). There has been a recognized need to diversify bivalve ‘crops’ with the addition of alternative species such as the razor clam (Ensis directus) and numerous attempts to culture this species have occurred over the last decade. A market for this species currently exists and is supported by wild capture but expansion beyond current markets would benefit from the introduction of an aquacultured product. Growth rates for the razor clam in the northeast suggest that a marketable product could be produced in many areas within a two-year window.
The razor clam presents challenging behaviors such as rapid digging and swimming which necessitates appropriate gear to keep animals from emigrating from the planting site; they are equally challenging during the hatchery phase. The hatchery bottleneck determines the outcome of seed availability, usually resulting in few seed (or none at all). Successful production of razor clam seed and subsequent adoption of this alternative species depends on overcoming these bottlenecks. Recognizing this, WHSG, in cooperation with CCCE and SEMAC (Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center) has expanded current efforts to advance the razor clam as an alternative species for aquaculture through applied research. In addition to ongoing research, staff collaborated with University of Maine and Roger Williams University on writing and submitting a $93,616 grant proposal: Optimization of hatchery and culture technology for razor clams to NRAC (NE Regional Aquaculture Center) to investigate hatchery and culture technology for razor clams which was awarded in 2011.
Utilizing connections with shellfish growers in the southeastern Massachusetts region through the Research Farm Network (RFN), the local shellfish hatchery (ARC) was contracted to produce razor clam seed for distribution to eleven participants representing different growing regions. They each received an allotment of seed in 2012 which will be monitored through 2013. This program allows a low-risk opportunity for growers to explore best practices for raising a new species which they would otherwise not have. Additional seed were kept in the Massachusetts Maritime hatchery facility to closely monitor growth and survival, as well as conduct tests of different sand types and stocking densities.
Hurricanes vs. Nor'easter Marine Extension Bulletin
Shorelines are subject to erosion when wind, waves, and currents wear away the land along the water’s edge. Occasional coastal storms can dramatically intensify the erosion process in the short term and have a significant impact on longterm erosion rates. In Massachusetts we hear about erosion caused by hurricanes and by “nor’easters”. While heavy winds, rain, large waves, and storm surge from both types of systems have potential for coastal damage, there are some significant differences between the two types of systems. This Marine Extension bulletin, recently produced by Woods Hole Sea Grant in conjunction with the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorlogical Studies/National Severe Storm Laboratory, covers the two types of storms, explains the differences, and discusses the potential coastal impacts in Massachusetts.
Coastal Training Opportunities
The Massachusetts Coastal Training Program (CTP) provides support, training, and information to communities so they can better manage the coastal resources so vital to their economies and way of life. The program gives decision makers information, tools, and skills to improve decisions that affect the health of the state's coastal areas including the North Shore, Boston Area, South Shore, Buzzards Bay, and the Cape & Islands. For more information and the current schedule, click here.
Interested in a career in the marine sciences? You won't want to miss our web site Marine Science Careers: A Sea Grant Guide to Ocean Opportunities. The site offers profiles of people working in the marine sciences, and includes overviews of the fields of marine biology, oceanography, ocean engineering, a look at what the future is likely to hold for careers in these fields, links to a wide range of additional resources, information on salaries, frequently asked questions, and more. Be sure to set a bookmark to www.marinecareers.net today!
The SEMCO (Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal Outreach) listserve was created to help enhance the communication of coastal outreach organizations in southeastern Massachusetts. The listserve provides an easy way of communicating your announcements, needs, and resources in one easy step. To sign up and for information on posting messages, click here.
Northeast Regional Web Site
The web site of the Northeast Sea Grant programs serves as a portal to the individual program sites and includes links to other sites of interest to the region -- click here.
Discover Adventure at the Beach!
With summer here, a Beachcomber's Companion is a great way to spend a day at the beach. Each set of these easy-to-use guides to common Atlantic coast marine invertebrates includes 50 colorful marine invertebrate identification cards, a mesh collecting bag, a species checklist with erasable marking pencil, and a handy clip for your beach bag. Click here to order a set! And be sure to visit our companion website, www.beachcomberscompanion.net, to go virtual beachcombing, send a friend an e-postcard, and more!
Woods Hole Sea Grant 193 Oyster Pond Road, MS#2, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (508) 289-2665 firstname.lastname@example.org