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Cape Cod, Massachusetts - Dredging in the Crown Jewel of New England using an Ellicott® Series 670 "DRAGON®" Dredge

(No) Beach Before Dredging Restored Beach After Dredging
The "COD FISH"  operating in Great Pond "COD FISH" dredging in Martha's Vineyard
Dredging continues through
winter due to severe environmental  window restrictions
Dredge cutter & ladder visible during dredging indicating low turbidity
The "COD FISH" finished for the season! Dredge Captain Wayne D. Julin at "COD FISH" controls
  Differential GPS sensor located directly over cutter

Source: Mud Cat™ Div., Baltimore Dredges, LLC

When one hears about the world renowned seashore - Cape Cod - thoughts immediately go to summer, warm sea breezes, sand dunes, rented houses on the beach, and full sails in the Atlantic!

Rarely does anyone think how those sail and power boats can freely move about, navigate in the bay, or gain access to the ocean. Without dredging it could never be done because nature, in a continual and almost unpredictable manner, deposits sand, gravel, and silt in the entrances to inlets critical to ocean access.

It sounds easy, just place a dredge in the inlet and start pumping - not so! The County of Barnstable is accomplishing the dredging of dozens of harbors and inlets for the various waterfront communities around Cape Cod on a rotational basis, and doing it in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the USA.

The County's dredge and its crew must allow for all environmental issues such as fish migrations, spawning periods, and protected shore birds like Piping Plovers and Least Terns, just to mention a few. Because of the high boat traffic peaking in late June, dredging halts for the summer and does not start again until October 1st. It is not unusual to see the County's dredge operating in a blinding snow storm with 6 inches of snow on the dredge.

The dredge, purchased in 1996, is an Ellicott® Series 670 cutterhead DRAGON®" dredge which has a 14 inch pipe discharge and is large enough to handle the sea swells and dig the compacted sand. The cutter can dredge to a depth of 26 feet below water surface elevation.

The crew can control turbidity or resuspension of the material in the water by observing the actual cut being made by the dredge cutter in the channel via graphic representation in the operator cab. Also, global positioning (GPS) is being used to plot the exact dredge cutter location at all times. 

The dredge is portable enough to move quickly in the channel in an emergency, and can be towed in the ocean to a new location if the seas are normal.

The sand and gravel being dredged is not being wasted - it is pumped via a 14 inch ID diameter polyethylene pipe to selected beaches within 5,000 feet of the dredge, and the beaches are being restored in the process.

"This is definitely an example of beneficial use" says Wayne D. Julin, Dredge Captain for the "COD FISH", who knows most every harbor by memory, and who maintains the tight schedule with a crew of three.

During the 1999-2000 dredging season, the "COD FISH" has dredged on Martha's Vineyard at Lake Tashmoo, Bass River, Allens Harbor, Sepuit River, Chatham Harbor, Great Pond, Falmouth Harbor, Pamet Harbor, Barnstable Harbor, Popponesset Inlet, Green Pond, Eel Pond and Bournes Pond.After four years of operation the "COD FISH" is still in excellent shape thanks to the County's good maintenance program.The dredging operation not only provides for the success of the resort area, but is being done in a cost-effective manner, reducing maintenance costs to the 14 communities using the dredging services.

Dredging is now a permanent ongoing maintenance function for Barnstable County, and the "COD FISH" with her crew are the heroes behind the controls. As small craft and sail boats pass by, you can tell in the wave from the sailors that they know the importance of the "COD FISH".

The "COD FISH" has finished dredging for the season.  The dredge will spend the next couple of months anchored in Bass River waiting for the next season to begin on October 1st.  After rebuilding the pump and painting the hull, the crew will take some time off.  The past 10 months were busy and successful with 19 jobs finished, and nearly 100,000 cubic yards of sand pumped to several beaches around Cape Cod.

The beach to the east of the bridge at Great Pond received 10,000 cubic yards of sand in July.

E-mail Paul Quinn for more information on the project.

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