Annual Beach Replenishment Project Washes Away

Alert “06880” reader — and longtime Westport observer — Chip Stephens writes:

Those of us who have been around a while remember that not so long ago, Sherwood Mill Pond neighbors had the sand in front of their houses replenished once a year. A barge would recover sand washed into Compo Cove from their beaches by storms and high tides. Big Kowalsky front-end loaders spread it out, recovering private beaches up and down the cove.

In recent years, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has restricted that activity. You can see what’s happened by not replenishing the beaches from Hillspoint Road. Landowners see it more painfully from their windows.

Old Mill "Beach." (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Old Mill “Beach.” (Photo/Chip Stephens)

We’ve long been told that the reason the sand washes away is that the Army Corps of Engineers made errors when they replaced reefs and stones on Sherwood Island and Compo Beach. That caused misdirection of natural currents, sweeping away sand on those local beaches into the Mill Cove flats.

Now the landowners face difficulties with DEEP and local boards in placing erosion controls, walls or reefs to save their beach, their land and their houses.

DEEP’s answer is to plant the beach with grasses and plantings. Unfortuantely, even modest storms wash them away.

What will happen? Well, time and tide wait for no man…

6 responses to “Annual Beach Replenishment Project Washes Away

  1. Wow, what a mess. If I was one of the affected property owners, I’d consider adding this to my basket of deplorables when fighting the next assessment.

  2. Michael Calise

    We have lost Old Mill Beach as well. It was not to long ago that it was a swimming beach with a lifeguard stand! But all is not lost pretty soon we will have sidewalks at Compo.

  3. Erosion Control walls or “retaining walls” should not be permitted….that’s “it”. Simple. Thanks to the DEEP and Sherwood Island for ceasing sand replenishment programs and saving the environs from worsening.

  4. No matter. Homes along all coasts, worldwide, will be under water soon enough thanks to… us.

  5. Then again, “beach nourishment” sand from Canada has been sent to California since the rivers have run dry.