Where Does, or Will, the Water Go?

Message from the Prez

Rising flood tide at the Marttakeese Boat Ramp Blish Point

Blish Point Flooding

The Blish Point flooding events of 2018’s winter northeasters gained major attention from the Blish Point neighborhood, the harbor community, the Town of Barnstable, and elected officials.

Tuesday August 20th, a public meeting was held where Barnstable DPW’s Dan Santos presented the results of the Woods Hole GroupHydrologic & Hydraulic Study of the Maraspin Creek System.

The most prominent finding of the Maraspin Creek Study was that a large culvert at Commerce Road would not reduce flooding impacts.  The study offered two other possibilities for a Flood Mitigation Plan:

  • A “berm” or levee along the marsh-side of Commerce Road
  • An emergency flood gate at the Millway Bridge

Dan stated that both solutions would require further analysis before being recommended.  It was his best guess that because tidal floodwaters came from the north (over the seawall at Millway Beach) as well as from an overwhelmed Maraspin Creek, the emergency floodgate at Millway Bridge would be an unlikely solution for alleviating floodwater inundation in the Blish Point neighborhood.

The town is planning to replace the Commerce Road culvert at the eastern end of Maraspin Creek, and to raise the roadway at “the dip”.  This new culvert will transmit the same amount of water, nevertheless, by raising the roadway it would allow for emergency egress to the Blish Point neighborhood in the event of a storm-water flooding event.  

Additionally, the town plans to install a real-time tide gauge whose data will provide a publicly accessible early warnings in the event of tidal flooding.

In the Q & A following the presentation, comments ranged from “will it take a loss of life for something to be done?”, to “…the Blish Point neighborhood is the former home to the ‘saltworks’ that relied on saltwater inundation as part of the sea-salt-evaporation system”, the implication being that flooding was not new to neighborhood.

The Power of Kings

Do you know the story of Canute and the Waves?

King Canute, being an arrogant ruler, had his throne placed on the banks of the Thames and waited for the tide to come in. As the tide rose, Canute stood and held out his hand, demanding that the waves recede.

…he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine…”

“Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord.”

But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs… 

 Credit:  The Confessor’s Wife:  kellyevans.com

All signs point to preparation and long term planning as the best response we can have to storm water flooding, at least until we find a way to turn back the sea.

-Avery Revere, President FBH

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Storm Warnings

Message from the Prez

Radar Image of Cape Cy 2019od Tornado threat Jul

Last week brought unprecedented storm warnings and weather to Cape Cod. Thankfully, our Barnstable Harbor neighborhood escaped the tornadoes, wind sheers, and micro-bursts that knocked down trees and power lines across the cape. The videos and images on social media have been nothing short of eye-opening.

As a seasoned “storm chaser”, I’m likely to hop into my car to bear firsthand witness to major storm events. Upon learning of Monday evening’s “Tornado Warning”, I ran outside to take down the patio umbrellas then sat in the kitchen awaiting whatever might happen next. A friend texted me suggesting it would be a good idea to go to the basement in the face of a potential tornado. Instead, I moved to the living room to enjoy the lightening show.

The following morning, I learned my lesson. Thinking nothing of the weather, aside from grabbing my baseball cap, I headed out for an 11am fundraising meeting. Fifteen minutes into the meeting my cell phone sounded out odd tones and sounds. Next a phone call. At least three times I checked my phone to ensure that it was switched to “vibrate”. It was.

As the meeting wound down, it became evident my cell phone had overridden its privacy settings to warn me that in fact a “Tornado Warning” was in progress. With minimal fanfare, we adjourned, and I headed to my trusty storm-chasing car. My goal was to get home to my dog! Driving down 6A with small branches hitting the car, torrential downpours, and a lot of big puddles I made it home safely. Twenty minutes later I was back out on the street checking out the damage. In hindsight, I was very lucky!

Storm Signals

Storm Warnings Flags Tile

As a kid, I loved to look over to the Barnstable Marine Service fuel dock to see if red triangular “small craft warning” flag was up. Today, technology delivers our storm warnings via our phones. It’s not uncommon for television broadcasts to scroll weather warnings across the bottom of the screens. Some warnings come days in advance, while others only minutes ahead of time.

As we consider issues of “Coastal Resiliency” and “Emergency Preparedness“, it is reassuring to know that we have such powerful tools close at hand.  Of course, there are those that say weather has become sensationalized, HOWEVER, the next time that phone sends me a “Tornado Warning” or other such warning, I will hear and heed its messages.  Because, no Dorothy, we may not be in Kansas, but tornadoes do hit Cape Cod!

-Avery Revere, President FBH

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Resilient Communities

Message from the Prez

The agenda of resilient communities need not be viewed as a bleak or burdensome one, but rather as a profoundly positive vision that holds great promise for improving the quality and experience of coastal living.

-Timothy Beatley: “Planning for Coastal Resilience”

Long marsh view of entrance to Barnstable Harbor Marina

Thanks to an exceedingly generous person, I have the good fortune of living in a house that, in the far distance, overlooks Barnstable Harbor. In the near distance, it overlooks a marsh that on some high tides turns into a gentle harbor. The house is 24 feet above sea level, safe from the impacts of our evolving climate, at least for now.

My neighborhood has several homes at, or just above, sea level. Their backyards are part of the marsh. Heavy equipment is hauled up and down the lane leaving behind revetments, sea walls and other methods of armoring homes from the inevitable flooding tides.

January 2018 brought storms, surges, and tides that flooded many homes in our harbor community with seawater. On those days, the “harbor we love” had a tantrum, a tantrum forecasting the future for our community.

Resiliency & Preparedness

Resilient Communities and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness are just some of the words that have become part of my vernacular.  FEMA, an agency that we associate with large hurricanes, tornados and other people’s natural disasters, has become a household word here in Barnstable Village.  Do you know FEMA’s mandate?  It’s mission? It’s rules?

Management strategies will help us find new ways to live on the coast.  Resiliency and Adaptation will be key to developing these strategies.  As will Community!  Strengthening social networks will be a major factor in ensuring that our coastal community will thrive in the face of an evolving environment.

As the president of Friends of Barnstable Harbor, I feel that it is my job to share information about these important issues with the membership. 

Look for future emails addressing ideas and strategies for helping to keep our coastal community safe and vital for future generations.

-Avery Revere, President FBH

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Friend and Fund -Raising Event

Our recent Sunset Cruise was a huge success. Over 170 people were on board the Hyannis Whale Watch for a beautiful evening.

Friend and Fund -Raising Event

Barnstable Harbor did not disappoint. A full moon low tide coupled with a strong southwest wind kept the boat at the dock for extra 20 minutes while we waited for the water to return.

Friend and Fund -Raising Event

Refreshments abounded, keeping our crew busy and our guests happy!

Friend and Fund -Raising Event

Thank you to all of the vendors that contributed tasty treats!

Mattakeese Wharf Restaurant
Mattakeese Wharf Restauarant
Dolphin Restaurant Logo
The Dolphin Restaurant
Barnstable Market Logo
Barnstable Market
Nirvana Coffee Shop Logo
Nirvana Coffee Shop
Osterville Fish, Too Logo
Osterville Fish, Too
Pain D'Avignon Logo
Pain D’Avignon

And we raised almost 80 new “friends” and over $10K in donations! Plus we were offered a $25K matching grant! Please help us reach that $25K match by donating today!!!! Click here to donate!

And of course, what’s a Sunset Cruise without a beautiful sunset? Again, Barnstable Harbor did not disappoint.

Thank you to all of you that made this Sunset Cruise Friend and Fund -Raising Event happen!

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Youth Education Program -yep!

Youth Education Program:  BH Ecotours naturalist Phil Kyle teaching about horseshoe crabs
Youth Education Program Trip: A chilly May day

Friday’s Youth Education Program yep! trips with Barnstable Harbor Ecotour were a big hit with Barnstable High School English Language Learners.

Topics covered on the trips ranged from basic mapping, bird identification and behavior, description of Barnstable Harbor’s extraordinary tides and selfies! Yes selfies, it seems that no matter how beautiful the surrounding scenery, there is simply never enough selfies!

Barnstable Harbor Ecotours naturalist introduced students to electricity-free Sandy Neck Cottage Colony, reminding the students that there are lifestyles where the phone is a tool.

Nevertheless, the magic of Barnstable Harbor penetrates the even the age of electronics. Phones away and hands out to feel how horseshoe crabs really don’t bite.

Barnstable High School English Language Learners aboard the Barnstable Harbor Ecotours "Horseshoe Crab"
Barnstable High School English Language Learners were dressed
appropriately for the chilly May Day

We have 12 class trips scheduled for this spring. Students from the Lighthouse Charter School will be taking trips next week and in early June. We look forward to warmer weather for our upcoming trips.

Finally, if you are a teacher and would be interested in our Youth Education Program -yep!, please contact us at info@friendsofbarnstableharbor.org We feel that a boat ride with BH Ecotours expose students to coastal life on Cape Cod. We believe that students of all ages will have an experience that will never forget.

2018 Annual Meeting Announcement

It’s that time of year for the 2018 Annual Meeting

Friday, December 14th, 2018


Long Pasture Audubon Conference Room

345 Bone Hill Road, Barnstable, MA

Click Below to download the:

Agenda Proxy 2018 Annual Meeting

Pretty Marsh Scene on Barnstable Harbor's Navigation Road


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Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay

Are you curious about our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project and the information that it will yield?

Here are the Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay:

Friends of Pleasant Bay Benthic Report

Center for Coastal Studies Pleasant Bay Report Final 2018

Side Scan Sonar Tracks

Geoforms of Pleasant Bay as determined by side-scan sonar and bathymetry.

The Friends of Pleasant Bay engaged the Center for Coastal Studies to assess their benthic habitat, study their fin fish populations as well as their seal populations.  The “final report” draws conclusions about the relationships between the three studies.  For example, through the inspection of seal scat, they discovered that main forage of the seals was sand lances!

The overall study took place across a three year period and commenced with mapping coupled with benthic grab sampling followed by a fin fish study and then the seal population study.

Macro Invertebrates

Micro-invertebrates most abundant in biotic groups.

Friends of Barnstable Harbor Benthic Habitat Mapping Project

Our own Benthic Habitat Study began this past June with the  22 days of sidescan sonar data collection.  Remaining for the 2018 season will be the collection of approximately 20 benthic grab samples.  Processing of data, sorting and counting of benthic samples will be performed in the lab.  If all goes well, we will be a position to embark on a fin fish study in the summer of 2019.

Benthic Habitat Mapping Ponton Boat

Center for Coastal Studies Pontoon Boat collecting side-scan sonar data in June 2018.












Our fundraising efforts are underway.  The total budget for the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project amounts to $214,000.  The Center for Coastal Studies has offered a 25% match leaving the remaining balance for funding of $165,000.  We have secured a $25K grant from an (as of yet) unnamed source, and we are working with the town and other foundations for further funding.

We have just begun efforts seeking private donations and will gratefully accept donations of any size.

Barnstable Harbor is one of the most robust and healthy harbors on Cape Cod.  Its large tidal flow contributes to its clean and fruitful waters.  It hosts several significant maritime enterprises including aquaculture grants, whale watching, harbor eco-tours, restaurants and several marinas.  Its charter fishing boat fleet is thriving on the bounties provided by the harbor’s sand lances, shrimp, and other forage fish.  Recreational anglers and shell fishermen also share in the abundance that Barnstable Harbor provides.

Added Value!

Finally, the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project will not only likely beget more scientific studies in the harbor (its baseline data will be very attractive to other scientists studying habitat, geoforms, horseshoe crabs and countless other subjects), but it will become the center of our own Youth Education Project.  The data collected and sorted by the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project can be incorporated into “programming” for students of all levels.

Please click the PDF links above and take a look at the completed study for Pleasant Bay.  The summary of these studies speak clearly to exactly why our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project is so important.

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Where Does the Water Go?

Where Does the Water Go Event

This event is co-hosted with APCC – Association to Preserve Cape Cod

Where Does the Water Go Event

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Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor

Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor Poster for the Event 4/6 @ 3pmMass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor

Join us to hear coauthor Professor Brian Howes from UMass Dartmouth and Tom Cambareri from the Cape Cod Commission discuss the important topics and issues discovered in this 217 page report -Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor.

Click here for a PDF copy of the report:

MEP Draft Barnstable Harbor

The event will be held at the Harbor View Conference Room at the County Complex, 3195 Main Street, Barnstable Village.

We’ve been waiting many years for the finalization of this report and data contained in it!  Don’t miss this event!

The Town of Barnstable, which had long recognized the potential threat of nutrient over-enrichment, developed a comprehensive water quality monitoring program to establish current water quality conditions in the harbor and monitor it for changes over time.

Harbor Report January 2017

Barnstable Harbor Report – January 2017

Barnstable Land Trust Gifted 4.5 Acres of
Barnstable Harbor Salt Marsh

CLICK HERE for details about this generous and important donation by the Bilezikian Family to the Barnstable Land Trust!

153 Freezer Road Marina Construction Project

Dredging began in October 2016 and appears (as of early December) to be progressing without any types of barriers (such as hay bales or booms) in place. There is visual evidence of erosion and silting in a number of areas surrounding the dredge site.  Town Councilor John Flores reported that a number of commercial shell fishermen have mentioned to him that sand is also building up on the launch ramp.

A stop order was issued by the Conservation Commission on December 21st for failure to comply with the silt fence condition.

As of January 4th, 2017, construction continues at the site with what appears to be new booms in place.