B.I.G. Grant Sailing to Mattapoisett

Whether you’re an experienced mariner familiar with the winds and tides of Buzzards Bay or just a salty dog who enjoys spending time on the historic wharves that punctuate the seaside village landscape of Mattapoisett, one thing you know for certain – those wharves take a beating. But help may be sailing into the harbor very soon.

On May 31, the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board and Harbormaster Jill Simmons discussed repairs that have taken place on the wharves and the potential for protecting them in the future.

Simmons said Mattapoisett is the recipient of a B.I.G. Grant, which stands for Boating Infrastructure Grant program. The grant is funded by the state’s Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund that collects cash from excise taxes paid on fishing equipment, motorboats, small engine fuel, and import duties. If that isn’t complicated enough, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also involved in the two-tier grant process.

Town Administrator Michael Gagne told The Wandererthat the official word received by his office was that Mattapoisett would receive $160,000 in B.I.G. Grant money. He anticipates receiving the signed documentation any day.

“The money is to be used for building more transient space that would allow visiting boaters to come into Mattapoisett, tie up, and visit our town and businesses,” said Gagne.

Like other grants, Gagne said, towns are required to contribute a percentage of the grant value. In this case, for Mattapoisett it would be $60,000.

“We’ll ask for that at the Fall Town Meeting,” Gagne said.

Simmons told the MAB that she hoped the design of a new transient dock would position the new dock to the west of Long Wharf. In this position, Simmons said, the dock would act as a wave attenuator protecting the two shorter wharves.

In a follow-up interview, Simmons said the storms that do the most damage to Mattapoisett’s wharves generally come in from the southeast, build up in the harbor, and wreak havoc on the wharves and associated structures.

Simmons believes constructing the new dock system in the westerly position makes sense, given the added protection it may provide. Additionally, Gagne said the Town was looking into adding wave attenuating structures to the overall design for an extra layer of protection.

In other business, Simmons said that channel marker No. 2 in Brandt Island Cove had gone missing over the winter and needed to be replaced, and that marker No. 6 was destroyed and also needed replacement or repair.

The group also discussed placing markers at certain locations to warn boaters of hidden rocks that previously had been marked but whose markers had recently been removed during the U.S. Coast Guard’s re-configuration of navigational aids in Buzzards Bay.

Also discussed was the discontinuation of mushroom-style moorings. Simmons and some members of the MAB agreed that due to improper setting, many times these moorings move out of their grid locations. In her written report, Simmons stated, “Almost always, if I have a problem with two moorings impeding each other, it is the one with the mushroom that most often is in the wrong (off station).”

The MAB members discussed giving mooring owners up to three years to replace mushrooms. The topic will be re-visited during the July meeting, Chairman Carlos DeSousa said.

The board also discussed a rule change. Simmons said the Mattapoisett Boat Yard used a mooring numbering system inconsistent with the grid system, making it nearly impossible, Simmons said, “to find anything over there.”

According to Simmons, “All other commercial providers have to use our numbers….” Simmons said she wasn’t sure why MBY did not also.

MAB elected to bring this to the Board of Selectmen’s attention and to propose a rule change that would bring MBY in line with the rest of the mooring grid system.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board is scheduled for July 26at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board

By Marilou Newell


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