• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Access at seashore locations

    Sections of the boardwalk at the Red Maple Swamp Trail have been closed due to structural deterioration and safety concerns. Check at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the current status of this trail, and for your safety, remain out of closed areas.

Marsh erosion as a consequence of edge vegetation losses

Marsh loss around Lt. Island (Wellfleet)

Creek widening and marsh area reduction as a result of vegetation loss around Lt. Island area (Wellfleet) between 1970 and 2000.

The loss of creekbank marsh vegetation (S. alterniflora in most cases) results in erosion and subsequent widening/lengthening of tidal creeks and a reduction in marsh area click for enlarged photo.

In contrast, where edge vegetation has not been lost (i.e., marshes with no reported dieback), these changes are not evident - i.e., creek architecture and marsh area are very stable over long time periods. The one exception to this is where the width of tidal inlets have increased and bank undercutting (not plant loss) results in widening.

West Dennis marsh losses
Shrinkage of a marsh island near West Dennis Beach between 1952 and 2005 (photos courtesy of Don Liptak, NRCS, Barnstable and MassGIS).
Changes in the Swan River (Dennis) over time.

Changes in the Swan River (Dennis) - a place where edge vegetation losses have been extensive -  over time.  This changes have occurred in the absence of any alterations in the tidal inlet width.


Did You Know?

dune shack in the Province Lands

The Dune Shacks of Peaked Hill Bars Historic District Seashore was designated in 1989 as a special place in the dunes within Cape Cod National Seashore. Dune shack living emerged in the early 20th century and was based in cottages built by coastguardsmen stationed at nearby stations.