“These Dunes Aren’t Made for Walking” It’s a message that will hope to get the attention of folks as they walk up to Ellis Landing Beach this summer. Erosion has been significant over the last several years, and the beach and dune face are rapidly eroding. The sign goes on to politely ask: “Heading to the Beach? Be kind to the dune plants!” The popularity of the beach has led to unauthorized foot traffic over the dunes, leading to the creation of a trail on the back dune area, leading from the east edge of the parking lot over the dune crest to the beach below. Walking on the dunes is prohibited because over time it kills the grass, leading to increased erosion. The signage, urging people not to walk on the dunes, is just one part of a conservation project that will help maintain this popular beach.
In an effort to slow down the rate of erosion and keep the beach from being swept away by wind and water (and footsteps) – the Brewster Conservation Trustees, staff and volunteers along with assistance from AmeriCorps Cape Cod, have taken several “dune protection” measures at the beach front, just east to the town owned, Ellis Landing Beach. In addition to the signs, they have installed sand fencing that extends from the town parking area approximately 125’ to the east. And then, landward of the fence, on the dune face, 800 culms of American Beach Grass were planted in order to help stabilize the dune. The newly planted grass is concentrated on the eroding dune face.
BCT began looking at protecting the beach in conjunction with the Town’s efforts to restructure the adjacent Town landing because of significant erosion. BCT asked Coastal Specialist, Greg Berman of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service to look at how BCT could protect its land from coastal erosion and dune erosion from foot traffic. The beach grass plantings and sand fencing were part of Greg’s recommendations.
BCT plans to monitor the project over the summer as well as, tend to the beach grass and hopes to see increased deposition of sand and the accretion of the dune and beach in the immediate area. The late Frances M. Nickerson donated this shorefront parcel to BCT in 1993 after removing a dilapidated house from it.