Sediment dredging can permanently remove pollutants from an aquatic ecosystem, which is considered an effective approach to aquatic ecosystem restoration. Eutrophication

Of the 31 dredging projects on the town’s wait list, 17 sites are considered as routine maintenance. Dredging the rest gets increasingly complicated due to fine-grain and silty sediments and water quality issues, like the excessive nutrient load in the Three Bays area.


The Department of Public Works, in collaboration with Barnstable Clean Water Coalition, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Barnstable County, will begin operations for Phase 2 of the dredging of the Cotuit Bay Entrance Channel and the western tip of Sampson’s Island during the week of October 15, 2019. 

Dredging is anticipated to commence on or about October 30th.   This work is a continuation of the work completed last year and will widen the existing channel by approximately an additional 130 feet.  The dredged material will be utilized for beach nourishment purposes on the southern side of the eastern end of the island and for a habitat enhancement area. 

Weather pending, dredging operations will be on-going, Monday through Saturday from 7 AM to 5 PM until completion of this phase of the project.  Dredging operations will be completed by January 14, 2020.

On Sept. 6, 2017 Barnstable Town Council unanimously approved a $1 million capital appropriation to fund dredging Cotuit Bay Entrance Channel.

Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells announced that the town was also awarded a $1 million MassWorks grant toward the project, which is designed to open up the channel and allow more natural flushing of nutrients.


Dredging is a non traditional component of the town of Barnstable’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan

What is the process of dredging?

Dredging is the act of removing silt and other material from the bottom of bodies of water. As sand and silt washes downstream, sedimentation gradually fill channels and harbors. … Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies.

What are the benefits of dredging?

There are many benefits to dredging a body of water. For recreational uses, boats will have more water under the boat and less sediment will get caught in the propeller. The water quality greatly improves which improves the lives of fish and fishing opportunities..

Does dredging affect marine life?

Sediment plumes are generally localized, and marine mammals reside often in turbid waters, so significant impacts from turbidity are improbable. … Dredging has the potential to impact marine mammals, but effects are species and location-specific, varying also with dredging equipment type.

Glossary of Terms

Beach Restoration

the act of replenishing the sand loss that occurs naturally over time from tidal cycles, currents, waves, and inclement weather. Beaches that have been restored by dredging are designed to protect local communities from future storm damage and to preserve recreational beach space. Dredges are often used as a primary tool for rebuilding beaches.