Recent evolution of an active barrier beach complex : Popponesset Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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LocationCape Cod, MA
Popponesset Spit, the barrier beach sheltering Popponesset Bay on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has experienced large changes in its location and shape over the past thirty years. Concern by the public over loss of this barrier beach and the associated recreational and wildlife resources, as well as its storm-protection function, resulted in a number of studies involving local, state and federal officials. The purpose of these studies was to identify causes and future trends (Benoit and Donahoe, 1979) and to identify engineering solutions to this instability (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1972; Camp, Dresser and McKee, 1981). For various reasons, these studies were incomplete and stated some conclusions which were generally misleading or incorrect. The purpose of the present study was to provide a thorough reexamination of the geological problem at Popponesset Spit, to dispel the misconceptions and to more rigorously document the large-scale changes. The impetus for our concern over the beach was a desire to contribute to an effective, rational management and utilization strategy for this coastal region.
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