Last year, the Cape Charles Town Council tasked the Wetland and Dunes Board with coming up with a series of Beach Management recommendations. The main concern was how to manage the sand and the rising height of the dunes. Since that time, a few recommendations have been implemented. Town Council held a joint meeting with the Board on Thursday June 29th to get an update on the beach’s progress.
According to the Wetlands Board, they have walked the beach during the winter, and few times during this summer season. This integrated approach to beach management has led to several best practices and a list of further recommendations including:
1. The swale at Madison and Monroe needs to be addressed, possibly with more fencing, or even a grass island construct.
2. Volley ball courts need to be moved—they are too close to the dunes.
3. Modify beach grooming—mechanical cleaning should stay several hundred feet from the base of the dunes to give beach grass a chance to take hold.
4. Move trash cans closer to the water (grass issues again)
5. More sand fencing during the winter, to help slow sand movement.
6. Make the entrance at Jefferson narrower.
7. Create elevated walkways at every entrance (they only approved method of beach access via dunes).
According to chairwoman Ann Walker, the goal is to keep as much of the sand on the beach as possible, and in the process, create on single dune from the north to south end of the beach. The dune system should be low and wide, supported by a mature system of beach grass. Dealing with a dynamic system like a beach, a strong dune system is the only way to manage erosion, and protect town property (the boardwalk and Bay Avenue) from large scale storm surge.
As was noted several times, this is a process that will take time to implement. The town has added $40k in additional funding to help this along.