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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