A Chilmark policy of allowing natural erosion to take its course at Squibnocket beach was reconsidered by the select board on Nov 16, when a Woods Hole Group representative proposed a privately funded beach nourishment project.

The project, said WHG senior coastal geologist Tara Marden, was initiated on behalf of a town resident with property near Squibnocket, and would be fully funded by their contribution.

Ms. Marden said she had come before the board to understand the permitting process which would allow them to work on the plots southwest of the beach parking lot. According to town administrator Tim Carroll, the town has historically held long term-leases on those plots, however they are currently tied up in land court after the town initiated a process to purchase them.

James Malkin, who served on the town’s Squibnocket Beach Committee in 2014, expressed concern that the project contradicted the town’s policy of managed retreat in the area.

“At the end of the day mother nature is going to win down there,” he said. “I’m kind of puzzled that we seem to be going back and doing something”

Chairman Bill Rossi, however, said he would support the project as long as it remained privately funded.

“It might be fruitless, but if someone wants to undertake that I don’t have a problem with it,” he said.

Harbormaster Ryan Rossi added that in coming years there would not be a location to store dredged sand, and that a beach replenishment project would solve the problem at no cost to the town.

The board did not take an official vote on the matter but lent their support to Ms. Marden pursuing research and permitting.