The little dredge needed help.
Each winter a small yellow dredge nicknamed Nessie cuts a channel through the sandy interior up to the edge of the barrier beach. The privately-funded Edgartown Great Pond Foundation bought Nessie seven years ago. The small dredge handles projects that town-owned equipment cannot, such as working in the smaller coves of the Great Pond and creating the interior channel. The work is done in tandem with Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall, whose department oversees the cutting of the Great Pond. Divided from the ocean by barrier beaches, most Island Great Ponds are opened to the sea several times a year to maintain salinity and flush pollutants.
But last year after Hurricane Sandy, an unprecedented amount of sand washed over the barrier beach and into the Edgartown Great Pond, creating a tidal delta, said Tom Wallace, president of the Great Pond foundation. The sheer volume of sand was too much material for Nessie to handle.
That’s when the big dredge was called in for assistance.
“What happened this year, I’m happy to report, is a public-private partnership,” Mr. Wallace said. The foundation began working in tandem with the town shellfish committee, pond advisory committee and dredge advisory committee to create a solution. The town dredge, much bigger than Nessie and not ordinarily used in the Great Pond, was brought in.
Dredging in the pond’s interior began two weeks ago.
“It’s the first time since we owned Nessie that we needed additional support,” Mr. Wallace said. Nessie operates under town permits.
Howell Kelly, chairman of the Edgartown dredge advisory committee, said the last time the town dredge was used in the pond was about 10 years ago.
Mr. Kelly said the dredge committee annually sorts through requests for where to use the town equipment.
“There are lots of places [that need dredging],” he said.
“It’s what makes the most sense in any given year for managing the resources.”