Sometime in the fall of 1894, or the winter or spring of 1895, Captain Bixby of the Army Corps of Engineers visited Bass River to see if river entrance navigation improvements were a worthwhile way to spend federal money.
The main concern was a bar, off the mouth of the river:
From the apparent mouth of the river to its outer bar in Nantucket Sound, i.e., to the deep water of Nantucket Sound, the distance is about 1.5 miles, measured along the boating channel, this channel, as marked by stakes (cut down by the ice each winter and replaced every spring) being from about 60 to 600 feet in width; the depth on the outer bar
He wasn't enthusiastic about the value of investment in navigation. The small population and limited industry adjacent to the river meant that the demand for river traffic was small; there were also readily available substitutes in Hyannis Harbor, the wharfs at Dennisport, and the local railroad; a prospective mid-Cape canal down Bass River would shift the river mouth to the east, potentially negating the value of any work done on the existing mouth; the work would be relatively expensive in comparison with the benefits.