Cape Cod Beach Grass Comes From… A Farm?

Sure, you’ve probably heard of Cape Cod’s famous cranberry bogs, but there’s something else that’s being specifically grown in the region, and this one may surprise you. While it may stand to reason the beach grass grows naturally, in Cape Cod, much of it comes from a farm.

To help combat beach erosion, a type of beach grass called Cape American beach grass is locally grown. It’s not a new idea. Beach grass has been planted for hundreds of years in efforts to stabilize sand dunes and stop erosion. 

When beach grass is tall enough, it catches sand. After time, this forms a dune, which helps prevent coastline flooding, and in turn, erosion. 

While beach grass has the ability to grow tall, it’s anchored by deep roots that stretch up to 20 feet beneath the sand in search of water, thereby providing even more stability to keep the sand from moving. If enough beach grass grows on a sand bar, it can help the land mass grow even larger by trapping sand and sediments. 

Some private property owners on Cape Cod are known to plant their own beach grass to help prevent erosion and protect their own private property. Not only that, but beach grass also provides a habitat for shorebirds and other wildlife.

One well-known place that specializes in growing beach grass and installing it is Cape Cod Organic Farm in Barnstable. It’s been grown there for decades, and beach grass accounts for about half of the farm’s total production.

The farm installs its product in towns all across Cape Cod, and it sells it to other parts of New England, too. Beach erosion is a real threat on Cape Cod.

Beach erosion not only moves the sand but reshapes the shoreline. The Nauset Light Preservation Society estimates the Atlantic side of Cape Cod has an average natural erosion rate of close to four feet per year.

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