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January 9, 2015
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

R/V Hugh Sharp
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Research vessel Hugh Sharp departs Woods Hole in July 2014. The stone jetty is in the foreground. Photo Credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA

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Woods Hole Lab Stone Jetty Repaired

Jetty Dates back to 1884-1885 Construction of First Permanent Fisheries Laboratory at this site

The stone jetty by the Woods Hole Laboratory’s main building on Great Harbor has been the scene of activity in recent weeks as workers from the Robert B. Our Company, Inc. of Harwich, Mass. repair sections of the NOAA-owned structure.  The jetty was in disrepair and was further damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Work began December 11 and is expected to be completed by the end of January. NOAA worked closely with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, New England District, who awarded the $305,000 contract in September.

A barge has been relocating stones from the outermost damaged sections and using those stones to rebuild and fortify the remaining inner 126 feet of the jetty.  “Much of the jetty at the outer end is submerged, and a number of top or cap stones and supporting stones were missing along much of the jetty.  It looked like bad dental work with missing teeth,” said Jack Emberg, chief of the Facility Operations and Safety Branch. 

Once all the stones and riprap are in place, the final phase of the work will include securing the capstones that top the jetty to the underlying stones. That work involves drilling holes in the stones and securing them to the stones beneath with reinforced steel bars and epoxy.

The jetty has been part of the Woods Hole Laboratory for more than 100 years. It dates back to the 1884-1885 construction of the Fisheries lab’s first permanent facility at its current Water Street location.   The jetty is among the last vestiges of a larger enclosed boat basin that served as dockage for laboratory vessels, a place to keep live specimens, and that was open to private craft during severe weather. Because it was a refuge or safe haven for small boats, the area acquired the unofficial name “Refuge Point.”

Prior to being located on its present Water Street site,  the Woods Hole Laboratory, established in 1871, was located in temporary remodeled facilities borrowed from the U.S. Lightboard Service on nearby Little Harbor, where the U.S. Coast Guard facility now stands.            

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