Study to look at value of Cape harbors

Provincetown Harbor

The working harbors of Cape Cod are some of the region’s most vibrant and important cultural, economic and recreational resources. However, they can be challenging for local communities to prioritize and fund. Maintenance of docks, slips and other facilities, improvements to bulkheads and loading areas, and vital dredging of channels and harbors are among the ongoing capital costs towns need to address.

In an effort to help communities weigh decisions and understand the value of harbor investments, the Cape Cod Commission is developing a comprehensive approach to improve harbor management practices. The approach help communities assess the benefits and costs of the region’s harbors and secure funding for necessary planning projects.

The Commission invited communities with harbors representative of the many across the Cape to participate in developing the approach. The following harbors were selected: Provincetown Harbor; Chatham’s Fish Pier and Stage Harbor; Sesuit Harbor in Dennis; and Woods Hole and Falmouth Inner Harbor.

The pilot communities will assist in scoping the details of the project and providing baseline data of harbor infrastructure, management challenges, revenues and costs associated with operations, and risks to sea level rise and extreme weather events. Worksheets and mapping tools will be created using this data to illustrate both the challenges faced by harbors and the potential benefits associated with harbor investments relative to the costs. The tools will be designed to educate their communities, as well as other potential funders, on the economic values of harbors on Cape Cod.

This project will begin in earnest this fall; pilot towns will refine the scope and data collection beginning with an inventory of harbor assets, costs and revenues. Progress will be reported here and on the Cape Cod Commission website.

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