Development, characteristics, and effects of the new Chatham Harbor inlet
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LocationChatham Harbor, Massachusetts
A new tidal inlet into Chatham Harbor, Massachusetts, has developed from a breach in the barrier beach, Nauset Beach, that forms the outer shoreline of southeastern Cape Cod. Increased tidal range and wave energy resulting from the new inlet produced acute coastal erosion and channel shoaling within Chatham Harbor, with significant impacts on the fishing and boating industries, and on private and public propeny and interests. Study results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Nauset-Monomoy barrier beach system undergoes a long-term cycle of geomorphological change, and that a new cycle was initiated with the formation of this new inlet. Based on this new understanding, future changes in the system can be foreseen and provided to coastal resource managers.