Martha's Vineyard

Beach Management

What is the status of the Beach Management Plan?

This past summer we released a draft of our updated Martha’s Vineyard Beach Management Plan (BMP) to the public and our partners at the local, county, and state level, and asked the community to review, evaluate, weigh in with their ideas, and work with us towards a final plan. We appreciated the feedback, including over 400 survey responses, and many members of the community expressed a desire to have even more voice and input into this planning process. With that in mind, in late July we rescinded our draft beach management plan and began work on expanding our process to allow for more discussion on these complex issues through local collaboration. With this additional collaboration and input through the fall and winter, we will draft a new beach management plan which will be submitted to the Edgartown Conservation Commission, the County and the State. The broader public will have a chance to comment on the plan before it is finalized. The new plan will be put into effect in fall of 2023, at the earliest.

What’s next for the Beach Management Plan?

To create space for more collaboration and input from various local stakeholders who have interest in beach management, The Trustees is convening a working group, facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute, with representation being sought from:

  • Edgartown Town officials (Town Manager, Conservation Agent, Conservation Commission)
  • Cape Poge and other Chappaquiddick residents
  • Members of the MV conservation community
  • Members of the Fishing and Shellfishing community
  • MV Beach Access Group
  • An experienced beach manager from another area in Massachusetts
  • Dukes County Commission
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Martha’s Vineyard landowners

The group will meet every three weeks beginning in October and running through the winter. The meetings will be facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute, and written summaries of each meeting will be posted to this webpage, and available to the public.

How can the general public participate?

A  public report has consolidated all the feedback received so far. This report is posted publicly here on the BMP webpage, and there will be continued chances for the public to weigh in. This includes listening in to Martha’s Vineyard BMP Working Group sessions and submitting questions (more information below), and a public meeting in early 2023 where the working group will share an update on their progress. Additionally, the broader public will have an opportunity to provide comment on the revised plan before it is finalized. Information about public meetings will be posted on this BMP webpage, and @TheTrusteesMV social media accounts as soon as it is available.

What is the goal of the working group?

The working group is being formed for The Trustees to better understand areas of greatest concern from representatives of various conservation and recreation interests for The Trustees owned and managed beaches and to surface collaborative solutions for the next draft of the BMP around issues such as bayside Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) access and the dog policy. We aspire to come out with consensus on as many things as possible. While we know we won’t come to full consensus on everything, by pausing to have these conversations we are optimistic that we can come up with a collaborative plan that best balances recreation and resiliency.

When will the new drafted BMP be finalized?

The goal is to have an approved draft that can be approved by the Edgartown Conservation Commission, the County and the State, to be finalized and put into effect by fall of 2023 at the earliest.

Why is this process being managed by The Trustees?

While each stakeholder group appreciates the beaches for various reasons, The Trustees has the overall responsibility of balancing public access with conservation—especially in the face of the unprecedented issues like sea level rise and erosion that accelerating climate change brings to the forefront. As was the case with the initial draft, we remain committed to listening to feedback from all parties and taking their concerns into account before we finalize the upcoming BMP draft.


Summary of Stakeholder Feedback on The Trustees’ Rescinded Martha’s Vineyard Draft Beach Management Plan

Meeting Summaries

Session 1 | October 17, 2022 | 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM ET
Meeting Summary

Session 2 | November 10, 2022 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET
Meeting Summary
Meeting Presentation
Meeting Q&A

Session 3 | December 1, 2022
Meeting Summary
Meeting Video
Meeting Presentation
Meeting Q&A

Session 4 | December 22, 2022
Meeting Video
Meeting Q&A

Session 5 | January 19, 2023
Meeting Video

Public Meetings

Facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute and in collaboration with The Trustees, a series of meetings to collect feedback from and collaborate with community stakeholders are being held, before drafting the next Martha’s Vineyard Beach Management Plan (BMP). The public is invited to view and listen to the Martha’s Vineyard BMP Working Group sessions, and submit written questions about the BMP. Answers to questions will be posted, along with a meeting summary, here on the BMP webpage. Please check this webpage and @TheTrusteesMV on social media to stay up to date on other ways the public can participate, including a public meeting to be scheduled in early 2023.

To register for a Working Group session (Dec 1, Dec 22, Jan 19, Feb 2, Feb 23, March 16, April 6), click here.

Learn more about our work on the coast

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.