As Breach Retreats, Erosion Picks Up Speed
Dramatic changes are taking place again at Wasque where the Norton Point breach continues to have a mind of its own. The breach has retreated 800 feet since September, leaving one summer house at the brink.
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Abandoned Sailboat Washes Ashore at Norton Point
Salvage plans are under way for an abandoned 36-and-a-half-foot sailboat that washed up at Norton Point beach on Friday night. No one was aboard the Running Free, which was abandoned in the Bermuda Triangle on Mother’s Day.
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History and Science Tell of Cycles of Rapid Erosion at Wasque Point
On a misty, windy morning in April 2007 Chris Kennedy, Martha’s Vineyard superintendent for The Trustees of Reservations, had just returned from the part of South Beach in Edgartown known as Norton Point. The night before Katama Bay had filled to overflowing by the flood of an astronomical high tide, topped off by the overwash and storm surge of a Patriots’ Day gale.
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Norton Point Breach Focus of Scientific Study

The breach at Norton Point, with its ever-shifting inlet, dramatic changes in currents and resulting severe erosion, has been billed as “one of the most dynamic coastal systems in Massachusetts.”

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Beware Shortsighted Answer to Erosion
When George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” he was not envisioning people repeating their own mistakes. But that is what is transpiring at Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick this spring. In 2007 the Schifter family completed a large house about 300 feet from the bluff edge. Six years later, with the house poised to fall into the ocean, they are proposing to move it about 300 feet from the edge while damaging the environment and native artifacts and disrupting users of this magnificent landscape.
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Possible Shipwreck Remnants Discovered

Shifting sand at both Wasque and Lucy Vincent Beach has uncovered what may be parts of two shipwrecks.

Last Sunday afternoon, Andrew Orcutt of Edgartown and Albany was out walking the shoreline near Wasque and the Norton Point breach. He discovered remnants of what appeared to be a ship in the wash.

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Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks

Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks


Over the past four days, public and private officials have closed sections of Norton Point and East Beach to four-wheel-drive vehicles to protect newly hatched piping plover chicks and nests with eggs yet to hatch.

In Massachusetts, the piping plover is a threatened species. After hatching, the chicks take about 30 days before they fly, making them vulnerable to the tires of four-wheel-drive vehicles driving along a beach.

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Spring Gale Roars Through Island, Norton Point Is Breached

A powerful spring storm that inundated the entire East Coast pounded the Vineyard south shore with heavy seas this week, marrying with extreme tides to carve a substantial breach through Norton Point Beach at Katama at the extreme southeastern end of Edgartown.

The event leaves Chappaquiddick a true island for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

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Plovers Abound, Stripers Are In: Katama Breach Boosts Ecology

The forces which punched a hole in Norton Point and opened Edgartown harbor to the Atlantic Ocean might present a headache for town officials, but from an ecological viewpoint, they have all the benefits of a big natural spring cleaning.

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Charlie’s Island
Land Ho! Island Forms in Wake of Storms

First there was one opening and now there are two at Norton Point Beach.

The second, closer to the Chappaquiddick side, occurred on the weekend of March 8 and 9 during the height of a windy storm.

Between the two openings, there is a 150-yard little island. It already has the name Charlie’s Island.

“You’ve heard of Gilligan’s Island. This is Charlie’s Island,” said Chris Kennedy of The Trustees of Reservations.

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