Norton Point Breach Focus of Scientific Study

The breach at Norton Point, with its ever-shifting inlet, dramatic changes in currents and resulting severe erosion, has been billed as “one of the most dynamic coastal systems in Massachusetts.”

Beware Shortsighted Answer to Erosion

When George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” he was not envisioning people repeating their own mistakes. But that is what is transpiring at Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick this spring. In 2007 the Schifter family completed a large house about 300 feet from the bluff edge. Six years later, with the house poised to fall into the ocean, they are proposing to move it about 300 feet from the edge while damaging the environment and native artifacts and disrupting users of this magnificent landscape.

Possible Shipwreck Remnants Discovered

Shifting sand at both Wasque and Lucy Vincent Beach has uncovered what may be parts of two shipwrecks.

Last Sunday afternoon, Andrew Orcutt of Edgartown and Albany was out walking the shoreline near Wasque and the Norton Point breach. He discovered remnants of what appeared to be a ship in the wash.

Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks

Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks


Over the past four days, public and private officials have closed sections of Norton Point and East Beach to four-wheel-drive vehicles to protect newly hatched piping plover chicks and nests with eggs yet to hatch.

In Massachusetts, the piping plover is a threatened species. After hatching, the chicks take about 30 days before they fly, making them vulnerable to the tires of four-wheel-drive vehicles driving along a beach.

Spring Gale Roars Through Island, Norton Point Is Breached

A powerful spring storm that inundated the entire East Coast pounded the Vineyard south shore with heavy seas this week, marrying with extreme tides to carve a substantial breach through Norton Point Beach at Katama at the extreme southeastern end of Edgartown.

The event leaves Chappaquiddick a true island for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

Plovers Abound, Stripers Are In: Katama Breach Boosts Ecology

The forces which punched a hole in Norton Point and opened Edgartown harbor to the Atlantic Ocean might present a headache for town officials, but from an ecological viewpoint, they have all the benefits of a big natural spring cleaning.

Land Ho! Island Forms in Wake of Storms

First there was one opening and now there are two at Norton Point Beach.

The second, closer to the Chappaquiddick side, occurred on the weekend of March 8 and 9 during the height of a windy storm.

Between the two openings, there is a 150-yard little island. It already has the name Charlie’s Island.

“You’ve heard of Gilligan’s Island. This is Charlie’s Island,” said Chris Kennedy of The Trustees of Reservations.

News Update: Saturday, July 16 - Norton Point Beach Opens to Oversand Vehicles

All of Norton Point Beach, on the Edgartown side, has been reopened for oversand vehicle access, The Trustees of Reservations announced Saturday. The piping plover chicks which had been using the eastern end of the beach for feeding have successfully fledged, so under state shorebird guidelines vehicle access is allowed again to this beach.

The Edgartown side of Norton Point Beach stretches for two miles from Left Fork to the Breach in Norton Point.

Swimming in the breach on either the Chappaquiddick or Edgartown side remains strictly prohibited.

Breach Narrows At Norton Point, May Close This Year

The Norton Point Beach breach may close as early as this year, an event that would bring to an end a dramatic, five-year phenomenon that has eaten away large chunks of the southeastern corner of Chappaquiddick, according to a top regional expert in coastal erosion.

Norton Point Breach May Close, Good News for Small Boaters

With growing evidence the Norton Point breach is appearing to close — lessening the current running through the harbor—there is buzz on the waterfront that the summer ahead will be easier for a lot of visiting boaters, particularly the local fleet of day sailboats.