It is now early May. Spring is here (almost here). The weather hasn't been very cooperative with cold, overcast, rainy conditions for days on end. But hope springs eternal and the warm weather will eventually arrive.
The calendar has been updated with all the scheduled events; concerts, ice cream socials, evening of poetry, bridge, book club, meetings and the Wednesday dinners.
You should have received the spring mailing with the letter from the President of HBA, summary of the summer schedule, dinner details, membership application form, and a new HBA phone directory.
The first event of the season is a Piping Plover Celebration on Sunday June 2nd from 2:00 - 4:00PM at the clubhouse. Join us in celebrating our successful 2018 Plover season. Photos of Higgins Beach adult plovers and chicks will be on display, Maine Audubon will be available to answer questions and provide educational materials for adults and children, and the authors and illustrator of "The Mystery Chick" (A Piping Plover Story) will launch and sign their new children's book at the event. There will also be guided beach walks to nesting areas, and refreshments.
For the Wednesday dinners this season, there have been some changes. We still have the popular Prime Rib dinner, Lobster Bake, and Haddock dinner. There is also an Italian dinner and a BBQ dinner. We have added a Pizza Night and an Appetizer Social. The Appetizer Social is free but you still need tickets so we know how many people are coming. The less popular dinners have been dropped this year.
A reminder to inform your renters and guests about Scarborough's fireworks ordinance. A link to the Town's website and ordinance is in the left sidebar below.
HBA Book Club
All are welcome to attend the first meeting of the season on Wednesday June 12 at 10:00 am. Meeting location is Barbara Bombaci's house at 22 Bayview Ave. The book to be discussed is "Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver.
Usually meetings are held every three weeks at someone's home. Check back here for future dates and meeting locations or call Barbara at 207-883-2060.
Higgins Beach Shoreline Changes Continue
Vin Bombaci sent along some photos of the erosion from the November 27th storm. The erosion was significant along the dunes between Pearl and Ashton Streets. The narrow strip of dunes are completely gone. Will the sand return? This result complements the article below on the shoreline changes.
Shows the erosion in front of Vin's house almost out to the street, leaving just rocks showing.
shows the battered snow fence that protected the dunes.
shows the long view from one end of the dunes to where the Silver Sands used to be.
Higgins Beach Shoreline Changes
Peter Slovinsky, Marine Geologist, Maine Geological Survey, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry earlier this summer sent results of a two year comparison of the mean high water line and vegetation line to one of our members. We are sharing this information. Peter's analysis shows 5 figures which use 2012 base aerial imagery and show the comparative shoreline positions. The
is an overview of the entire beach.
The following figures show specific areas of the beach.
The symbology of the MHW (blue lines, either solid or dashed) and VEG lines (black lines, either solid or dashed) is consistent throughout the figures.
It is clear that the majority of the beach along Higgins eroded substantially and deepened (hence movement of the MHW in a landward direction). This resulted in the MHW being in contact with an approximate additional 170 feet of seawall in June 2018 vs. June 2017. A “nodal point” exists, roughly where the seawalls along Higgins Beach end and the natural dune begins – here, the signal of beach erosion changed, and the beach grew substantially. It appears that sediment moved from in front of the walls to closer to the Spurwink River.
Where dune vegetation existed, about 10-15 feet was lost, depending on location, except for closer to the Spurwink, where the dunes were either stable or grew slightly.
Beaches, Sand, and Sand Cycling
Peter Naiden, a long-time resident of the Higgins Beach community and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine/Augusta and in the Marine Science Department at Southern Maine Community College, gave an interesting, informative, educational, and scientific presentation this past Friday evening to about 50 people at the Clubhouse. He described the macro parts of a beach, from backshore; including upland, lagoon and dune field, to foreshore; including the frontal dune, aeolian ramp, berm, berm crest, wrackline, to offshore; including the beach face, runnels, longshore trough, longshore bar. He explained how each beach has its own type of sand and can only be replaced with that type of sand. Higgins beach has fine sand and is different from Pine Point which has a medium sand. He also shared his experiment where he weighed 2 kilograms of seaweed and discovered that it contained 40% sand. Seaweed is important for the health of the beach. Peter's opinion is that we should never remove seaweed form any beach. Some beaches bury or "trench" seaweed under the sand rather than remove it. He also shared some data on the sand cycling history at Higgins. From 1985 to 2000, there was a deficit, from 2002 to 2010, there was a surplus, and since 2010, there has been fluctuations between deficit and surplus. It is a new trend that we don't understand yet. Peter could have gone on for hours, but had to cut it off after 90 minutes. Peter also had samples of sand and local seaweed setup on tables. If anyone is interested in learning more about this subject, they can contact Peter at 239-6421. Photos of the event are on the gallery page.
Scarborough Comprehensive Plan
If anyone missed the meetings at Town Hall on the comprehensive plan, it is running on the local cable station.
You can download your own copy of the plan by visiting https://www.scarboroughengaged.org/ . It is a lot to digest and the Civic Committee will be providing more information for us.
Adult Plover with 2 chicks and a third under the adult
Maine Healthy Beaches
Maine Healthy Beaches - Higgins Beach
Higgins Beach is part of the Maine Healthy Beaches Program. Water is tested weekly, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, for the presence of enterococci bacteria which is an indicator of fecal contamination. Maine Healthy Beach signs are posted at all beach entrances.
Trained volunteers, including some high school students, take samples of the water at various locations along the beach. The samples are sent to a lab and if there is a high bacteria level, advisory signs and a warning flag are posted at the beach entrances. Results are also available on the Maine Healthy Beach website.
The Spurwink River is the primary source of enterococci bacteria on Higgins beach and a Contamination Advisory is posted all summer for the river. Some other sources of enterococci bacteria include bathers, waterfowl, dogs, and runoff. Enterococci bacteria can also be found in seaweed and sand as well as in the water.
There are two types of Beach Advisories:
Rainfall Advisories: These are posted at Higgins whenever there is more than an inch of rain. Higgins Beach has a history of high levels of enterococci bacteria after a significant rainfall.
Contamination Advisories: These are posted whenever the bacteria in the water exceeds an Environmental Protection Agency standard for water contact.
It is recommended that all water contact be avoided when an advisory is in place due to the possibility of illness.
Look for These Advisory Signs if conditions warrant
Posted at Beach Entrances
Click on the Healthy Beach link below for more information
"The old wreck down by the river has been a part of the scenery here at Higgins Beach so long that most folks just take it for granted. But there are some of us who can remember when it wasn't there and when it came. Way back in 1897, August 11, that was a bad, bad night-foggy! It was so thick it looked as if the space between earth and sky was stuffed with gray-white cotton.
"A bunch of "us kids" rode over to Bowery Beach on our bicycles to a square dance that evening. It was clear when we started; but when the dance was over and we set out for home, it was so foggy we were afraid of running into each other on the river coming down Meeting House Hill and across Spurwink. However, we made it without a mishap. About two o'clock my mother was awakened by loud curdling noises out towards the water, but she could see nothing. When morning came and the fog cleared, we saw a three-masted schooner stationed well inshore near the first point in the river. It was a beautiful ship-majestic-setting there as if at anchor. She didn't look at all like a wreck with a big hole in her hull.
"It was the Howard W. Middleton, strongly built of white oak and yellow pine in 1882 at Camden, New Jersey-a really noble ship. It had left Philadelphia on August 2 with 894 tons of coal for Peter Nickerson and Company in Portland. Captain Shaw was trying to make Richmond Island Harbor inside the breakwater to lay over till morning. Instead, he ran onto that rock near the mouth of the Spurwink. On our geodetic map that rock is charted simply as "obstruction" and it is only about 28 feet (8.5 m) deep there. If you stand at the foot of Champion Street at a very low tide, you may see the top of the rock beneath a breaker. You can always see a breaker there a couple of hours before and after dead low water.
"Well, there was lots of excitement! The crew came ashore and talked with the residents. Tugs from Portland Harbor plied the water for days taking off coal. She had soft coal in her lower hold and hard coal between decks. On August 12th, she was declared a total loss and was placed in the hands of the underwriters. People began to pick up coal on the beach by the buckets and barrels. Mrs. Kenney remembers that her father drove over from Westbrook with a cart and got two tons of coal for winter.
"People were eager for souvenirs, of course, and many of us remember when some big boys stole the ship's bell. But the Captain or the Sheriff made them return it to the Captain. "There she stayed on the rocks, pretty as a picture (although she was really broken in two), all the rest of August and was there when we left in September. Sometime that following winter a storm broke her up and washed her ashore where she now lies. There is a piece of it in the river, too, which can be seen at low tide. There are always changes around the old wreck. Years ago there was quite a big swimming pool around the ocean end of it with water as deep as eight feet near the boat. A twelve year old boy was drowned there one summer.
"Some years the ribs of the hull stand up head high above the beach and perhaps the next year they will be buried in the sand. For years we picked up beautiful iridescent pieces of coal showing red, green, and blue; and even now you may find a lone piece from the old Howard W. Middleton. A few people have a picture of this boat on paper weights. These pictures were taken from the beach and showed this proud, three-masted vessel in her last days of beauty.
"P.S. In talking with several people, I found that my memory did not agree with theirs. I had the date wrong and I couldn 't think of the name, but I did remember the number of tons of coal. However all the facts herein have been verified by the old newspaper records of August 11 and 12, 1897."
The Howard W. Middleton aground 1897
The Wreck Today
What to do when a Seal or Seal Pup is stranded on Shore
Call Marine Mammals of Maine
More information here
Consumer Fireworks Ordinance
This is an important notice for all Higgins Beach property owners, renters, and guests regarding the Town Fireworks ordinance. The ordinance requires any consumer of fireworks in the Town of Scarborough to submit a Notification of Intent to the Scarborough Fire Department. Renters and guests must have the property owners permission. The consumer must also state that they have liability insurance for any bodily injury or property damage caused by the fireworks. After approval by the Fire Department, fireworks may be used only on July 3rd, July 4th and December 31st and January 1st beginning at 9:00AM and ending at 10:00PM. Fines for violation are $100 up to $500.
The link to the official Town website and ordinance 608a with a copy of the Intent form is HERE
Calendar Page - May 5
Piping Plover Celebration - June 2 - 2:00-4:00PM
Silent Auction & Hors D'oeuvres - June 8 - 5:30PM
Wednesday Doughnut Breakfast begins - June 19 - 9:00AM
Welcome Back Pot Luck Dinner - June 22 - 6:00PM
HBA urges you to bring your own coffee mug to reduce costs and help the environment
Starting June 12
First Book - "Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver
Contact Barbara Bombaci 207-883-2060
Bridge Mondays at 1:00PM
Starting Monday June 24 - 1:00PM
Optional Bridge Lesson at 12:45PM
Contact David Haskell 207-885-9958
Higgins Beach Open Golf
July 24th - Valhalla in Cumberland - 10:00AM
July 31st - Riverside North in Portland - 10:27AM
August 8th - Nonesuch River in Scarborough - 10:03AM
Contact Tom Murphy 207-883-2246 or email@example.com
Courtesy of Lisa Jesmain & Steve Seabury Higgins Beach Properties
Higgins Beach Flower Show
Clubhouse Use For Members Only
Mid-May to Mid-Oct
Contact Sue Naiden for Details
There are many activities that the HBA organizes for our members. Most of the time it is the same people doing all the work. If you would like to help at any of our activities, contact a Board member or email us.
Want to be a Board Member
Contact Barbara Bombaci, Nominating Committee Chairperson. Each year three positions become open. See the By-Laws for more information and deadlines.
Higgins Beach is Pedestrian Friendly
Protect the Safety of our Beach
Obey the Speed Limit