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During the year surveys have been made, and projects of improvement are being considered, for the following localities : Kingston harbor, Weymouth Back River, Town River, Chatham harbor, Essex River, Mystic and Malden rivers.
It will be noticed that but little progress has been made in most of the improvements during the year. This is owing to the exhaustion of the funds provided by the act of 1888, and the very late date during the present year when additional funds were provided. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. M. MANSFIELD, Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers.
Improvements on the Southern Coast of Massachusetts.
The board is indebted to the courtesy of Major Livermore for a copy of the official report of the work done in the rivers and harbors under his charge during the year ending June 30, 1890, from which the following facts are taken:
1. Hyannis Harbor. No work was done during the year ending June 30, 1889. During the last year the work of dredging in the 15t-foot anchorage ground protected by the breakwater, was resumed with dredge, tug and scows belonging to the general government. The execution of the project of deepening this anchorage area will be continued.
The amount available for the work, including an appropriation of $8,000 by the river and harbor act of September 19, 1890, is $9,916.00.
2. Nantucket Harbor. During the last year 6,055 tons of stone have been placed in the eastern jetty under a contract, and 830 tons with plant belonging to the United States.
It was reported in May, 1890, that the steam-boat running to Nantucket had difficulty in entering the harbor on account of the shoaling of the channel. A survey in June showed that the 74-foot channel still existed, but that it was to the eastward of the course followed by the steam-boats, and about in the same position as the preceding November.
It is proposed to continue the construction of the eastern jetty as far as the funds will permit. The amount available, including $25,000 appropriated by the river and harbor act of 1890, is $25,048.70.
3. Vineyard Haven Harbor. The plan of improvement contemplates the protection of the chops at the mouth of the harbor from the action of storm waves, by jetties and other works along the shore.
A temporary wharf and three jetties, 150 feet, 80 feet, and 100 feet long, were completed on the West Chop the last year. The work of protection will be continued, beginning at the East Chop.
The amount available, including $10,000 appropriated by the river and harbor act of 1890, is $11,661.00.
4. Wareham Harbor. The dredging of the southern half of Reach No. 8 to a width of 175 feet and depth of 10 feet was completed, and the Middle Ground, a shoal in mid-channel of Reach No. 9, was removed, during the last year.
The amount available for continuing the improvement, including an appropriation of $5,000 by the river and harbor act of 1890, is $5,031.47, which will be applied to the completion of the channel and the further building up of Long Beach.
5. New Bedford Harbor. During the last year, 43,665 cubic yards of mud, sand and gravel were dredged in excavating a channel, 100 feet wide and 18 feet deep at mean low water, from the deep water of Buzzard's Bay, near the 11-foot bank, to the vicinity of the New Bedford wharves.
The work of dredging in the new channel will be continued with the funds available, $10,033.98, including an appropriation of $10,000 by the river and harbor act of 1890.
6. Edgartown Harbor. The sum of $2,000 was appropriated by the river and harbor act of 1890 for improving the inner harbor by dredging, and will be expended for that purpose.
7. Taunton River.
No work was done in this river the last year. The sum of $7,012.78 now available, including an appropriation of $7,000 by the recent river and harbor act, will be applied in completing the widening and deepening of the channel at a few points above Berkley bridge, and in the removal of a small amount of ledge rock uncovered in dredging below the bridge.
Vessels of 11 feet draught can now reach Taunton at the head of navigation.
CONNECTICUT RIVER. The “ general care and supervision of the Connecticut River within the confines of this Commonwealth, and of the banks thereof, and of all structures therein,” were committed to this board by chapter 344 of the acts of 1885. This was done “in order to prevent and remove unauthorized encroachments and causes of every kind which may in any way injure the said river, and in order to protect and develop the rights and property of the public therein."
As a means of securing these ends, it was provided in the act that all persons authorized by the general court to build any structures in the river, should first obtain from this board its approval of the plans and mode of peforming the work; and the board was further empowered to license the building of structures in the river upon such terms as it should prescribe. The provisions of chapter 19 of the Public Statutes applicable to structures in tide waters, were in general made applicable to struetures in this river.
Since the passage of this statute, the board has not infrequently been called upon to approve and license new structures, or to investigate · cases of actual injury or threatened danger from the natural action of the river, or from structures built and encroachments made by riparian owners and others. There is evident need of the regulation and protection which the act was designed to secure, and its provisions will prove more useful as they come to be better known and understood.
In order, however, that the statute may fully accomplish the desired results, there should be a more prompt and effectual remedy than it now provides for the prevention and abatement of unauthorized and injurious works.
It is provided in chapter 19, section 17, of the Public Statutes, that every erection and work made or done in tide water without authority from the general court or from this board, or in a manner not sanctioned by the board where its approval or license is required, shall be deemed a public nuisance, and be liable to indictment as such ; and that the board may order suits on behalf of the Commonwealth to prevent or stop any such nuisance by injunction or otherwise; and that the attorney-general and district attorneys within their districts shall conduct such suits. The same provision is found in chapter 318, section 6, of the acts of 1888, for the protection of great ponds. It is recommended that similar provision be made for the more effectual protection of the Connecticut River.
Protective Works at Hadley. The work authorized by the General Court to be done under the direction of this board “to prevent the further inroads of the Connecticut River upon the northerly side of the town of Hadley, and the destruction of the principal streets in said town,” has been completed. The necessity for undertaking the work, and the methods of conducting it, have been explained in previous reports.
The operations of the last year, and the success of the work so far as its results can now be known or foreseen, are detailed in the following report of Mr. Emory C. Davis of Northampton, who has been the engineer in immediate charge of the work from the beginning, conducting it with much skill and good judgment, and to the entire satisfaction of the board :
To the Board of Harbor and Land Commissioners of Massachusetts.
GENTLEMEN : — The following is a report upon the work done the past year for the protection of the town of Hadley against the further encroachments of the Connecticut River upon said town, as provided for by chapter 95 of the resolves of 1888, and chapter 17 of the resolves of 1889, of the legislature of Massachusetts.
The work done during the summer and fall of 1889, in sloping the banks of the river and laying mats and riprapping thereon, was set the past spring with young willows, and these have made a satisfactory growth during the summer, and will serve as a support for the riprap work after the decay of the mats above the water line.
Soundings were taken in June last, on the same lines across the river as in previous years, to ascertain what changes, if any, had taken place in the general character and profile of the river bottom since the commencement of the protective works in 1888. These soundings are shown on the accompanying profiles of the river bottom. The black lines indicate the contour of the bottom on the different lines across the river in June, 1888, before the protective works were commenced; the red lines, the contour on the same lines across the river in June, 1889; and the green lines, the contour in June, 1890.
The soundings of June last show a decided shoaling of the water against the protective works, and a corresponding scouring on the bottom of the river and increase in depth of water on the opposite side ; and, so far as can be ascertained, the works are accomplishing in a highly satisfactory manner the results anticipated at the commencement of the work.
The work done the past season has been confined principally to completing and securing the work at the head of Front Street, where left in an unfinished condition at the close of operations in 1889, consequent upon the usual fall freshets. Mats and riprap work have also been laid in places on the bank of the river for a distance of 400 feet below Front Street, where there were indications of scouring and weakness in the banks.
Judging from all present appearances, and from the general conduct of the river against these works, the town of Hadley is effectually protected from further encroachments of the river on its lands within the limits of these works.
The total cost of the work done and material furnished the past season is $613.04, including the cost of setting willows and other work done in the spring. All bills incurred in the prosecution of the work have been paid, and all claims presented by parties for damage to crops, brush taken, etc., have been satisfactorily adjusted and paid, with the exception of that of Mr. Thaddeus Graves of Hatfield, for a small lot of brush taken in 1889, of which mention was made in my report for that year. Respectfully submitted,
E. C. Davis, NORTHAMPTON, Mass., December 20, 1890.
The whole amount which has been appropriated for the protective work at Hadley, is $30,000. The total cost has been $29,581.55, leaving a balance of $418.45 uncalled for in the treasury.