Selectmen approve beach maintenance group to protect Wareham's assets

Sep 27, 2017

Wareham beaches are about to have a new task force in charge of upkeep, which could help Wareham receive more grants for beach maintenance.

At Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Administrator Derek Sullivan suggested forming a group, led by town officials, that would be in charge of the nourishment and maintenance of beaches in town. The group would make plans for upkeep of beaches that could be used in applying for state and federal grants.

Currently, there is no specific group in charge of beach maintenance.

“This is grouping everybody together to pull in one direction,” Sullivan said. He asked for the approval of selectmen in this endeavor.

Sullivan said there were some revisions to the beach maintenance plan made in 2014 that have not been followed that will allow more maintenance to be done. Beach maintenance will help the town protect its assets and be prepared for any future hurricanes, Sullivan said.

Selectman Alan Slavin agreed a plan for the beaches will be beneficial in applying to grants.

“People with beachfront properties are losing their beaches,” Slavin said. “Wareham is a summer resort area...if we don’t protect our assets, we’re going to lose it all.”

Selectman Judith Whiteside said the issue is not so dire.

“Erosion, runoff, changing of landscape is part of nature,” Whiteside said. “Trying to change Mother Nature’s mind doesn’t work.”

Whiteside said coastal areas will change regardless of beach maintenance efforts.

“You don’t sneeze into the wind unless you expect to get it back in your face,” Whiteside said.

Though the beach maintenance may be a short-term solution, it is still necessary, Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum said.

“How successful is it long term? God only knows,” Teitelbaum said. “But you’re never going to know if you don’t make the effort.”

With the approval of the Board of Selectmen, Sullivan said he will be assembling a group in charge of beach maintenance in the near future.