Facts About Duxbury Beach
Duxbury Beach is owned by the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc., a Massachusetts charitable corporation. The Reservation’s mission is to preserve Duxbury Beach to safeguard the adjacent bays and mainland, protect wildlife and vegetation, and provide recreational opportunities for all.
In 2019, Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. celebrates its 100th anniversary of owning and preserving Duxbury Beach.
In 1919, eighteen Duxbury summer residents, fearing Duxbury Beach would become overdeveloped, raised enough money to purchase Duxbury Beach and thus the Duxbury Beach Association was formed. In 1974 the Association transferred ownership of the beach to Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. to continue the mission of preservation.
While many beaches have been armored, subdivided, or fallen under state or federal ownership, Duxbury Beach has remained under the guardianship of the Reservation, a non-profit committed to its preservation and protection.
The Reservation owns the beach from the south end of the Duxbury seawall to the Gunet-Saquish guardhouse just north of Gurnet. The Reservation also owns a portion of the marsh area on Gurnet-Saquish and several parcels on Gurnet and Saquish.
The Reservation leases a portion of Duxbury Beach to the Town of Duxbury, who in turn sells stickers to access the beach. The lease for 2019 is $800,000 which funds a portion of the maintenance, repair, resilience, and programming work at Duxbury Beach.
In 2007, FEMA declared Duxbury Beach a recreational beach that no longer qualifies for reimbursement.
Past contributions from generous donors enabled the Reservation to respond quickly and effectively to the March 2018 nor’easters that slammed Duxbury Beach. In 2018, the Reservation spent approximately $685,000 restoring dunes, rebuilding the road, mending fencing, and planting vegetation.
In 2019, the Reservation completed of one of its largest dune nourishment projects along a very narrow section of the barrier beach. The project was partially funded by a $500,000 Coastal Resilience Grant from the MA Office of Coastal Zone Management. The remaining $900,000 to complete the project was paid by the Reservation with funds from prior fundraising efforts.
In order to increase the resilience of the barrier beach, 76,633 tons of sand was installed and graded to raise 3,500 linear feet of the dune to 17ft in elevation and extend the top of the dune to a width of >45ft.
3,600 feet of sand fencing was replaced to protect the dune from foot and vehicle traffic and trap sand to help build the dunes, 80,000 culms of American beach grass and 100 woody shrubs were planted, and two vehicle crossovers were raised and realigned.
In 2018, the Reservation compiled a list of all mammals, plant, and avian species observed on Duxbury Beach. The results were as follows: Birds: 127, Mammals: 8, and Plants: 36. This data will be tracked annually to learn more about which species use Duxbury Beach.
Duxbury Beach hosts two listed species, the Piping Plover, listed as threatened under state and federal law, and the Least Tern, protected under state law. Due to the presence of these state and federally listed coastal waterbirds during the spring and summer, the Reservation is legally responsible for their protection. The Reservation funds the Duxbury Beach Endangered Species Program which is enacted by the Duxbury Police Department.
The Reservation set up three surveys, one for three different parts of the beach, which revealed more about who visits the beach and how they use it. This provides insight into recreational use and attitude that is important when making decisions regarding beach management, maintenance, and outreach.
Duxbury Beach is a barrier beach and is slowly moving westward towards the mainland. Beaches are dynamic with sand arriving and departing. Historically, Duxbury Beach was nourished by sand eroding from the shoreline north of the beach. However, due to the extensive armoring of the coastline region-wide, many beaches, including Duxbury Beach are now sand starved.
Duxbury Beach is changing annually as well. Duxbury Beach is rocky in the winter and spring months because northeasterly winds pull the sand out. In the summer and fall, the sand comes back in with gentler wave action.However, the sand supply in the system is altered by storms, armoring up shore, and nourishment efforts.
Duxbury Beach Reservation is embarking on an ambitious program to increase the resilience of Duxbury Beach with a new, all-inclusive approach to barrier beach management. This work is expected to result in a 10-year certification that will decrease time spent in the planning and permitting stages and allow the Reservation to respond more effectively to
changing conditions on the beach.
Click here to
see the latest beach status information
Duxbury Beach Operations Division.