Sandy Neck/Barnstable Harbor Area of Critical Environmental Concern
At 9,130 acres, the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach system – one of the largest barrier beaches in New England – is composed of 9,130 acres. It received ACEC (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern) designation in 1978 for its extraordinary natural resources: migrating sand dunes, fresh and saltwater marshes and ponds, vernal pools, wooded swamps, tidal flats, streams, and deciduous and coniferous forests. These areas provide flood control and storm damage prevention, improved water quality, diverse wildlife habitat (feeding, spawning and nursery grounds for shellfish, finfish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and recreational opportunities. It is one of the best examples of biodiversity with 300 species of birds, 160 species of vascular plants, and numerous rare and endangered species.