Sea-level rise leads to revival of an old idea

By Phil Crossman | Jun 23, 2017

On Aug. 17, 1894, the United States Congress passed the latest of many iterations of the River and Harbor Act, which was first enacted in the early part of that century. The Act was generally intended to ensure safe passage, riparian rights and defense of the nation’s many navigable salt and fresh waterways.

On Feb. 9, 1895, the secretary of war, under whose auspices the Act was administered, submitted to Congress a plan to construct a breakwater from Lanes Island to Green Ledge, a distance of more than a quarter-mile, to protect Carver’s Harbor from southern storm surges and from accumulating sediment. At the time Carver’s Harbor was a valued and very busy commercial hub, shipping its prized granite all over the country.

That wall was never built, but it’s interesting to note it was once contemplated as, today, the island addresses the likelihood of sea levels continuing to rise and eventually threaten the village community and downtown area. A breakwater from Potato Island, or perhaps Bar Island or Lanes Island, across the mouth of the harbor to Smith Point, a wall of sufficient height to protect the area from the twice-daily tides that are, during the next century, going to comprise that threat, is among the proposals being considered by the town’s Downtown Revitalization and Sea Rise committees.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 23, 2017 16:30

I am sure the cost will be exorbitant compared to what it would  have been had they built the wall back in the 1800's.

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