In 1965, sportsmen from the MBBA purchased one-half mile of snow fence. Member volunteers from the association erected the fence at several problem areas on Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach. The snow fence concept was implemented to rebuild a severely windblown portion of the beach.
The snow fence acted as a trap to stabilize the sand dunes by causing a sand build up at the fence base. This process was completed one year later when the beach buggies returned to plant discarded Christmas trees alongside the snow fence. Trees, when strategically placed beside the fence, act as a “fine” filter to further dune growth and increase the reconstruction rate for the problem dune. At Plymouth and Duxbury Beaches, dedicated MBBA members coordinated similar Christmas tree planting about mid-January.
Debris pick up and beach grass planting are just a few of the tasks the MBBA takes part in.
More recent projects at these beaches have been most successful. The barrier dunes at Plymouth Beach have built up almost 12 feet since the Christmas tree planting began in 1973. Over the years, high tides and fierce winter storms have left their mark as well. The MBBA sponsored fund-raising raffles with proceeds to purchase hybrid beach grass plants. In 1975, a convoy of 53 beach buggies, mostly four wheel drive vehicles, assembled on Nauset Beach amid a late winter storm to plant 20,000 beach grass plants.
Because of the concern and dedication these beach buggy folk have for the beaches, the 150 plus volunteers donned rain suits and foul weather gear to insure a successful planting. Matching funds for the 1975 planting were donated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant Program.
Throughout the summer, the MBBA courtesy patrol photographed and recorded detailed information on plant root systems and sand retention habits. Information was then documented by Sea Grant volunteers so a working knowledge of sand dune development will be available to interested students.
Hybrid varieties of Barnstable beach grass showed rhizomes has established themselves as far away as 8 feet form the initial plants.
April 1976 found 265 MBBA conservationists on the beach engaged in planting 25,000 hybrid Barnstable beach grass plants. This new experimental grass from Church’s Nursery in New Jersey is formulated for areas where rapid growth and deep rooting are important factors.
Average planting time for 25,000 grass plants is approximately five hours. The MBBA is most grateful for the assistance of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, Division of Forests and Parks for providing hybrid beach grass plants from the nursery based at Miles Standish State Forest in Plymouth.