Jul 5, 2015

Penobscot Bay Gas Chronicles continue - Rocklanders speak out on Big Carbon's plan to set up in Rockland & send a gas pipeline north to Belfast.

Listen to WRFR Community Radio host Ron Huber's interviews of Rockland residents detailing their concerns and insights about the proposal to  build and operate a pipeline-fed natural gas burning power plant in Rockland, Maine only a mile from the shore of Penobscot Bay.

Sandra Schramm  July 4, 2015.  25 minutes 
*  David Myslabodski June 27, 2015. 18 min
*  Judith Lawson June 27, 2015. 16 min
*  Ron Huber & Deb Atwell 6/25/1515 on WERU 58min

Topics include how the project is being handled by Rockland's municipal government, by nongovernment organizations, and by the company applying to build the gas plant: Rockland Energy Center LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Management Incorporated, in Boston.
Topics also include the regional and global implications of increased gas burning rather than adopting as  renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.

Jul 1, 2015

Maine DMR rebuffs National Marine Fisheries Service on intertidal cod habitat

Amazing interchange
First the recent  letter from the National Marine Fisheries service about the importance of intertidal fish habitat. Then the response by Pat Keliher of Maine DMR casting doubt.   Apologies for incomplete re-editing of the text!

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
National Marine Fisheries Service
55 Great Republic Drive Gloucester, MA 01 930-2276

Patrick Keliher Commissioner
Division of Marine Resources
21 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0021

Re: State of Maine Rockweed Working Group and Fisheries Management Plan

Dear Mr. Keliher
We have reviewed the Maine Department of Marine Resources Fishery Management Plan (FMp) for Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) implemented January 2014, and have been following the deliberations of the Rockweed Working Group that has been tasked with setting criteria for establishing "no take" areas along the Maine coastline.

We appreciate and commend your efforts to proactively establish a fishery management plan as the rockweed harvest industry appears to be on a rapidly increasing trajectory in Maine. Further, we acknowledge that the harvest management strategy of maintaining a minimum of l6" cutting height above the algal holdfast and recommended measures to limit the total biomass take allocations are representative of sustainable fishery management tools.

We are most interested in the development and implementation of the "no take,' areas since the protection of this macroalgal species has the potential to provide significant habitat value for managed fish species. As such we offer the following comments for youi consideration. Habitat Value of Rockweed As described in the Rockweed FMP, intertidal areas that support Ascophyllum growthconsist of rocky substrates from mid to lower intertidal coastal waters.

The FMP recognizes that this particular species of Ascophyllum is a dominant, major component of the rocky intertidal habitat along the Maine coast, especially within bays and estuaries.

Further, in Section vi., Ecology, of the FMp, the role intertidal rockweed plays in providing forage areas during periods of high tides for fish species is described. In our view, the FMP could provide additional information regarding the role intertidal zones play in providing juvenile fish species refuge from predation, and the importance of these areas in mediating the spatial distribution and survivorship ofjuvenile fish species.

Intertidal and inshore subtidal rocky habitats with added habitat complexity provided by macroalgal cover serve as important shelter and forage habitat for a variety of species including Atlantic cod, pollock, ocean pout, red hake, white hake, windowpane flounder, striped bass, cunner, tautog, and lobster. It is well established that intertidal zones serye as areas of refuge from predation anã foraging habitat for juvenile fish during periods of high tide (Helfman et al. 2009).

 Of particular concern is the juvenile life history stage for Atlantic cod. As you are awaÍe, we issued an update on the stock assessment for Gulf of Maine (GOM) Atlantic cod on August 7,2014. The indicators of stock condition for GOM cod have declined orworsened in20l3, and the spawning stock biomass levels are estimated to be at 3 to 4 percent of the biom *o'-** o, 'ooo target for maximum sustainable yield with biomass at all-time lows. The results of this stock assessment lead to the implementation of Emergency Gulf of Maine Cod Management Measures on November 13,2014.

Given the state of the GOM cod stock, it is essential to conserve as well as minimize adverse impacts to habitats that can support and increase survivorship of critical life stages for this stock. Juvenile Atlantic cod utilization of the intertidal zone has been well documented throughout their range in the northwestern Atlantic and within Maine coastal waters (Ojeda and Dearborn 1990, Moring 1993). Juvenile cod exhibit diel activity patterns within intertidal habitats, and this activity pattern differs based on juvenile age.

Age-O+ and age-l Atlantic cod are found in greater numbers within the intertidal zone at night, and young-of-the-year (age-O) utilize intertidal areas more frequently during the day (Methven and Bajdik 1994, Gran| and Brown 1998, Anderson et aI.2007). This shift in diel activity pattern is also found in subtidal habitats where separation of spatial distribution patterns based on age has been recorded and is attributed to conspecific predation ofage- 0 juveniles by age-l+ juveniles (Grant and Brown 1998, Gotceitas and Brown 1993, Gotceitas et al. 1995 and 1997, Ãnderson et al.2007, Theodorou 2013).

It was also found that there were significantly different spatial distribution patterns and shoaling behavior differences in juvenile cod based on habitat complexity (Grant and Brown 1998, Gotceitas and Brown 1993, Gotceitas et al. 1995 and 1997, Anderson 2007). Multiple studies have demonstrated that despite the potential that juvenile cod may initially settle to the substrate indiscriminately, age-O+ juveniles are more abundant in complex habitats (e.g. rocþ or vegetated habitats), whether this is due to active movement of post-settlement juvenile cod into complex habitats or due to higher survivorship rates in complex habitats is unknown (Lough et al., 1989, Gotceitas and Brown 1993, Fraser et al. 1996, Gotceitas et al. 1997, Grant and Brown 1998, Linehan et al. 2001, ).

The mark-recapture study conducted by Grant and Brown (1998) found a level of site fidelity exhibited by the age-O+ juvenile cod sampled indicating that once settled into complex habitat juvenile cod maintain a level of residency within that habitat.

The structural complexity of rocky substrates with attached macroalgal and macrofauna have been demonstrated to: 1) mediate the spatial distribution ofjuvenile cod, and 2) provide additional refuge from predation that significantly increases survivorship ofjuvenile cod over barren rocky and sand habiøts (Fraser ef al. 1996, Gotceitas et al. 1997 , Lindholm et al. 1999 and 2001).

In a laboratory study, Lindholm et al. (1999) found that juvenile cod survivorship was significantly higher in cobble substrates with dense, emergent coverage compared with smooth cobble and cobble with a low density of emergent coverage. Multiple field studies have demonstrated that juvenile cod occur with higher abundances in rocky habitats with macroalgal coverage versus bare rocþ substrates (Keats et al.1987, Gotceitas etal.1997, Cote et al.2004,Lazzari and Stone 2006).

While the relative abundance and survivorship ofjuvenile cod has not been directly studied inAscophyllum dominated intertidal habitats, the laboratory and field studies that have been conducted suggestthat higher density macroalgal intertidal rocky habitats would support more abundant populations ofjuvenile cod and significantly mediate juvenile survivorship over lower density macroalgal intertidal rocky habitats. Rockweed Working Group As discussed above, we believe that rockweed covered rocky intertidal and subtidal areas play an important role as habitat for managed fish species, particularly juvenile Atlantic cod.

We strongly support consideration by the Rockweed Working Group, of the importance and use of this habitat in I the establishment of criteria for designating "no take" areas and the potential benefits for Atlantic cod and other species from such designations.

We look forward to continued coordination in the implementation of the Rockweed FMP and Rockweed Working Group's development of "no take" area criteria.
Please contact Alison Verkade at978-281-6266 or alison.verkade@noaa.gov if you would like to discuss this further.

Assistant Re gional Administrator for Habitat Conservation co: Chris Vonderweidt, Chair RWG Tom Nies, NEFMC David Preble, NEFMC Kevin Madley, PRD.
References Listed below


Maine DMR's  response  letter

Dept of Marine Resources
21 State house Station
 Augusta ME

June 1, 2015

Louis A. Chiarella
Assistant Regional Administrator for Habitat Conservation
National Marine Fisheries Service
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930
Dear Mr. Chiarella,
1 am writing in response to your letter of March 31, 2015 "Re: State of Maine Rockweed Working Group and Fisheries Management Plan." Your letter states that rockweed is of significant habitat value to juvenile Atlantic cod and requests designation of no take zones along the coast. The request is predicated on an understanding that the Rockweed Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and current efforts to develop no—harvest conservation areas are in response to a ‘“rapidly increasing trajectory" of the rockweed fishery. It references several peer reviewed studies to demonstrate how rockweed has been
proven as significant juvenile cod habitat.

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) first became involved in creating the Rockweed FMP in late 2012 at the request of the Maine Seaweed Council (MSC)—an industry group created to maintain a sustainable seaweed resource in Maine. The MSC approached me because they wanted to develop a
management framework to ensure that Maine’s seaweed fisheries would continue to be harvested in a sustainable manner. As a proponent of FMP’s, 1 directed Dr. Linda Mercer and Chris Vonderweidt of my staff to attend MSC meetings and assist with the development of a seaweed FMP. My hope was that
their end product would include management recormnendations that DMR could implement through rulemaking. DMR eventually took over FMP development in 2013 following legislative approval of a DMR submitted bill (LD 585) that proposed development of a seaweed FMP. The initial seaweed FMP
focused on rockweed only, because rockweed landings comprise over 95% of Maine’s seaweed harvest.

Rockweed has been harvested in Maine for over 40 years and landings are not on a rapidly increasing trajectory as your letter states. The total annual harvest is less than 1% of the coastwide biomass, while natural processes remove 34-50% annually. Only a fraction of rockweed is sold fresh or raw because
unprocessed rockweed brings a relatively low boat price compared to other fisheries. Value must be added through processing into concentrated fertilizers or nutraceuticals. A significant increase in landings is unrealistic and could not happen quickly because processing capabilities are fmite, which
limits the demand for rockweed.

A key question for the Rockweed Working Group’s (RWG) analysis is whether rockweed is a keyhabitat component. lf rockweed is not a key habitat component for a sensitive species then closures to protect that species would be unnecessary and inappropriate. The section of your letter titled "Habitat
Value of Rockweed" is pertinent to this question because it suggests that studies have shown how
rockweed covered rocky intertidal areas play an important role as habitat for juvenile Atlantic cod.
However, the majority of literature that is referenced in your letter has little or no relevance to intertidal macroalgae or juvenile cod utilization of rockweed.

For example, the Habitat Value of Rockweed section of your letter states "Juvenile Atlantic cod utilization of the intertidal zone has been well documented throughout its range in the northwestem Atlantic and within Maine coastal waters (Ojeda and Dearbom 1990, Moring 1993)". The referenced
studies are Diversity, abundance, and spatial distribution of fishes and crustaceans in the rocky subtidal zone ofthe Gub"of Maine by Ojeda and Dearbom and Checklist ofthe tidepoolfishes of Maine by Moring. Ojeda and Dearbom’s study site was a subtidal area devoid of macroalgae. The study site was "sloping relatively flat ledge" from 10-12 meters (33 — 40 feet) depth, "large rocks and boulders" from 12-20 meters (40 — 65 feet) depth, and “primarily sand with occasional boulders" at depth greater than
20 meters (65 feet).

Additionally, cod represented only 3.5% of intercepts. ln other words, the study area was not rockweed habitat or representative of an area that could be rockweed habitat and few cod were caught.

Dearborn’s paper focuses on fish species that were collected in studies of fish trapped in saltmarsh and
rocky intertidal tidepools during low tide. The intent of the paper as explained in the introduction is
documenting species that were collected in other studies generally (including published and unpublished
literature). As Dearborn explains, species listed on the checklist of tidepool fishes fall into one of three
categories of intertidal habitat use. "Fishes in tidepools, whether in rocky intertidal areas or in trapped
pools in salt marshes, can generally be grouped in one of three categories: (1) resident fishes using
tidepools over an extended period of the life cycle, (2) juveniles using tidepools in only the first (or
sometimes second) year of life, and (3) transient or rare visitors to tidepools that are not expected to be
encountered during successive tidal cycles. In other words, it is inappropriate to infer significant
intertidal use solely because a species was doctunented in a tidepool. That aside, cod were never
actually collected in any of the nine studies of tidepool fish that Dearbom compiled. American cod are
listed as "Potential tidepool species that have been reported intertidally in Maine waters (but not trapped
in tidepools) or in tidepools in other states".

The paragraph continues by referencing three studies on “diel activity pattems within intertidal habitats”
by Methven and Bajdik 1994, Grant and Brown 1998, and Anderson et al. 2007. However, Methven and
Badjick’s study site was the only of the three conducted in the intertidal zone and the paper makes no
mention of macroalgae or submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The paragraph concludes by discussing
behavioral studies conducted in the subtidal zone or laboratory, with eelgrass (Zostera marina) as the
SAV component of the study site, or having no SAV component at all.

The Habitat Value of Rockweed section of your letter concludes by discussing and referencing several
studies that have "demonstrated that juvenile cod occur with higher abundances in rocky habitats with
macroalgal coverage versus bare rocky substrates." Generally, this is an accurate assessment ofthe
results, that juvenile cod appear to prefer SAV covered substrates versus bare rocks, but the studies
provide little evidence of juvenile cod utilization of rockweed. Of the four studies that are referenced
here, Cote et al. is the only one having an intertidal study site, but the authors clearly state that “it was
therefore unclear from this study if juvenile Atlantic cod were selecting habitat on the basis of a vertical
relief or structural complexity." Lazzari and Stone investigated habitat use in four shallow water
habitats (eelgrass, Laminaria Zongicruruis (kelp), Phyllophora sp. (algae), and mud/sand) and found that
cod preferred eelgrass over other SAV. ln the discussion section, the paper notes that presence of cod
“occurred more in the Zostera tows." The authors elaborate in the discussion stating "Other published information comparing algae to other vegetated habitats also found them to be less utilized as juvenile
fish habitat."

Upon close inspection, the studies referenced in your letter present compelling information that eelgrass
(Zostera marina) is significant habitat for juvenile cod. However, it is misleading to infer that this
referenced literature supports the claim that rockweed beds are significant habitat to juvenile cod. lt is
important to understand that eelgrass is a seagrass, not a macroalgae. There are significant differences in
habitat, structure, growth, and reproduction between eelgrass and intertidal macroalgae such as
rockweed. Finally, the list of publications in your letter is not comprehensive and omits studies such as
Substrate selection and use of protective cover by juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in inshore waters
of Newfoundland by Gregory and Anderson, who conclude that "Juvenile cod did not exhibit selection
for substrates with macroalgal cover."

As explained above, the infonnation and analysis included in your letter provides insufficient
justification for the Department to promulgate rulemaking to establish no-harvest rockweed areas for
protection of juvenile Atlantic cod. As with any marine resources issue, I ani always open to
considering new and additional information if you wish to provide it. Thank you for your interest in
Maine’s marine resources.

Patrick C. Keliher

NMFS' References Listed below
 Anderson, J. L., Laurel, B. J., and Brown, J. A. 2007. Diel changes in behaviour and habitat use by age-O Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) inthe laboratory and field. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 351(I),:267-275. Cote, D., Moulton, S., Frampton, P. C. 8., Scruton,D.A., and McKinley, R. S. 2004. Habitat use and early winter movements by juvenile Atlantic cod in a coastal area of Newfoundland. Journal of Fish Biology 64(3):665-679. Fraser, S., Gotceitas, V., and Brown, J. A. 1996. Interactions between age-classes of Atlantic cod and their distribution among bottom substrates. Canadian Joumal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53 (2):3 0 5 -3 1 4. Gotceitas, V., and Brown, J. A. 1993. Substrate selection by juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): effects of predation risk. Oecologia 93(1): 3l-31. Gotceitas, V., Fraser, S., and Brown, J. A. 1995. Habitat use by juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the presence of an actively foraging and non-foraging predator. Marine Biology 123(3):421-430. Gotceitas, V., F¡aser, S., and Brown, J. A.1997. Use of eelgrass beds (Zostera marina)by juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54(6):1306-13 19. Grant, S. M., and Brown, J. A. 1998. Nearshore settlement and localized populations of age 0 Atlantic cod(Gadus morhua) in shallow coastal waters of Nervfoundland. Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 55(6): l3l7 -1327 . Helfman, G., Collette, B. B., Facey, D.E., and Bowen, B. W. 2009. The diversity of fishes: biology, evolution, and ecology. John V/iley & Sons. Keats, D. W., Steele, D. H., and South, G. R. 1987. The role of fleshy macroalgae in the ecology ofjuvenile cod (Gadus morhua L.) in inshore waters off eastern Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Zoology 65(1): 49-53. Lindholm, J., P. J. Auster, and L. Kaufman. 1999. Habitat-mediated survivorship ofjuvenile (O-year) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Marine Ecology Progress Series 180:247-255. Lindholm, J., P.J. Auster, M. Ruth andL. Kaufman. 2001. Modeling the effects of fishing and implications for the design of marine protected areas:juvenile fish responses to variations in seafloor habitat. Conservation Biology 15:424-437. Linehan, J. E., Gregory, R. S., and Schneider, D. C. 2001. Predation risk of age-O cod (Gadus) relative to depth and substrate in coastal waters. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 263(l):25-44. Lazzari, M. 4., and Stone, B.2.2006. Use of submerged aquatic vegetation as habitat by youngof-the-year epibenthic fishes in shallow Maine nearshore waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 69(3): 591-606. Lough, R. G., P. C. Valentine, D. C. Potter, P. J. Auditore, G. R. Bolz, J.D. Neilson, & R. I. Perry. 1989. Ecology and distribution ofjuvenile cod and haddock in relation to sediment type and bottom currents on eastern Georges Bank. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 56:1-12. Methven, D.4., and C. Bajdik. 1994.Temporal variation in size and abundance sfjuvenile Atlantis cod(Gadus morhara) at an inshore site off eastern Newfoundland. Can. 1. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 5l : 78-90. Moring, J. R. 1993. Check list of the tidepool fishes of Maine. Maine Naturalist: 155-160. Ojeda, F. P., and Dearborn, J. H. 1990. Diversity, abundance, and spatial distribution of fishes and crustaceans in the rocky subtidal zone of the Gulf of Maine. Fishery Bulletin S8(2): 403-410. Theodorou, P., Snorrason, S. S., and Ólafsdóuir, G. Á. 2013.Habitat complexity affects how young of the year Atlantic cod Gadus morhua perceive predation threat from older conspecifics. Journal of fish biology 82(6):2lal-2146. 

Jun 28, 2015

Maine sewer management and three Penobscot bay towns

Maine  public sewer system is based on a municipal-scaled "Sewer District" system.
Definition:"Sewer district means a quasi-municipal corporation...established to construct and operate sewer systems to assist in the abatement of the pollution of public streams, lakes and inland and ocean waters."

Enabling state law: Title 38 Chapter 12   
See  Review  of  standards of  Maine state sewer district law  

 Title 38 Sec 1042. Sewer Extensions; applicable to all sewer districts

Section 1042 has two basic requirements to be met when proposing extending  sewer:
* The development to be served by the extended sewer - and the sewer pipe that would connect it to the wastewater treatment system - must both conform with "adopted municipal plans and ordinances regulating land use."

* Sewer districts must submit their operating plans to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection for review and approval

MDEP 2010 streams bays water quality appendices


1. Rockland  sewage plant EPA permit 

2. Rockland Sewerline extension data
"Should the City extend public sewer and water to encourage development? "

From Rockland Comprehensive Plan: 
Regional wastewater coordination.
"Rockland wastewater lines not only serve the City of Rockland, but they also currently serve portions of Owls Head, Thomaston, and Rockport.

"The Glen Cove area and the Samoset Hotel, both located in Rockport are served by the City of Rockland sewer system.

"Rockland provides sewer service to a limited number of homes on Ingraham's Hill in Owls Head the remaining portions of Owls Head has no wastewater treatment system. Other surrounding towns have no public sewer systems

Rockland Comprehensive plan
Marine Resources
" As water quality improves in the harbor, in part due to extension of sanitary sewers to the Ingrahams Hill section of Owls Head, the City could work with the Town in the event they wish to develop public facilities along the southern shore of Rockland Harbor. Construction on the sewer line began in May 2000. "

"Rockland wastewater lines not only serve the City of Rockland, but they also currently serve portions of Owls Head, Thomaston, and Rockport.

"The Glen Cove area and the Samoset Hotel, both located in Rockport are served by the City of Rockland sewer system.

"Rockland provides sewer service to a limited number of homes on Ingraham's Hill in Owls Head the remaining portions of Owls Head has no wastewater treatment system. Other surrounding towns have no public sewer systems



Rockport Village is served by the Town of Camden wastewater treatment facility. 

Rockport wastewater section of its comprehensive plan (go to pages 94-96)


Rockport Wastewater Commissioners March 2013  (See VI-c.)  (
... Tracy Murphy motioned to open as the Wastewater Commissioners. Seconded by Geoffrey Parker. VOTE: 5 FOR – 0 OPPOSED.

VI. Wastewater Commissioners
a. Commitment of Commercial Sewer User Rates for the period of January 2013. Kenneth McKinley motioned to commit the Sewer User Rates for the period of January 2013 for collection. Seconded by Tracy Murphy. VOTE: 5 FOR – 0 OPPOSED.

b. Discuss issues raised by the review of the existing Sewer Ordinance. 1) No requirement to connect if functioning septic system is in place, 2) required to connect if systems fails, 3) debt service required if sewer goes in front of dwelling.

 c. How to proceed with the idea of extending the Commercial Street sewer north from its current terminus in the vicinity of South Street. Do in conjunction with a southward extension of the sewer from Elwood Avenue to Rockville Street.
1) Sewer line expansion - +/- 1,600;’
2) Contact Woodward & Curran for cost estimate;
3) Seven (7) bed hospice facility on Pen Bay Medical Center site. The proposed Sewer Ordinance will not be completed in time for a vote in June.

The Glen Cove system is at 83% capacity. DEP will review at 90% capacity. The Town of Rockport is in discussion with Pen Bay Medical Center for a joint sewer line extension project. Establishing a bond will be discussed.

Tracy Murphy motioned to close as the Wastewater Commissioners...

Camden POTW  MEPDES permit

Camden Sewer Ordinance

Camden Comprehensive plan 


Actual and predicted development Penobscot Bay 1940-2050

DHHS separation of water mains and sewer mains 

Jun 22, 2015

Public access in West Penobscot Bay for kayaking, pleasure boating & recreational fishing

A detailed list of public access ramps and docks of west Penobscot Bay. The list starts at the southwestern tip Saint George's Port Clyde and Tenants Harbor, then travels up to the mouth of the bay in Stockton Springs then upriver as far as Brewer and back down through Bucksport to East Penobscot Bay down to Stonington 
Where Route 131 ends on the St. George peninsula, lies the Port Clyde Boat Ramp. This site is often crowded, especially when the ferry is in from Monhegan Island. Due to this congestion, parking is limited with no spaces reserved for boat trailers. A single cement boat ramp services the site and outhouses can be found at the ferry dock. Mackerel fishing from the town dock is a popular activity. 
Traveling north on Route 131 brings you to the village of Tenants Harbor. Along the shore on Commercial Street lies the Tenants Harbor Town Landing. This facility has a single cement boat ramp serviced by a float. Parking in the small lot is limited to 4 hours with no spaces for boat trailers.

Access to the Weskeag River and its locally known striped bass fishery can be had via the South Thomaston Town Landing. This site, located off Route 73, Has a single blacktop boat ramp and adequate parking. Shore fishing here can be excellent, especially below the Route 73 bridge. 

Snow Marine Park, on Mechanic Street (off Route 73) in Rockland's southend, is the busiest boat ramp in the area. Two cement ramps, a float, an outhouse and large parking lot can be found here. Be prepared to pay a fee if you plan to use the ramp. 
One of the most visited attractions in this region is the Rockland Breakwater Light. This mile long breakwater, which is constructed of large granite blocks, is used by both sightseers (the light house at the end of the breakwater is the chief draw) and fishermen. The catch of shore anglers fishing off the breakwater consists mostly of mackerel and pollock, with the occasional striped bass, cunner and black sea bass mixed in. To get to this site, take Waldo Avenue off Route I at the north end of town and follow shore access signs until you arrive at the breakwater. Parking here is limited at best.
Rockport Marine Park lies at the foot of Rockport Harbor. The park has one black-top boat ramp, picnic tables, benches, out-houses and several floats. Parking for this facility is adequate with a few places set aside for boat trailers. A fee is charged to use the ramp. Fishing off the Harbor Master's dock is permitted, but fishing off several other docks in the park is not allowed.
LINCOLNVILLE In the town of Lincolnville, next to the Maine State Ferry Landing and along Route 1, is the Lincolnville Beach Boat Ramp. This is a town maintained boat ramp. A launching fee is charged for use of the blacktop ramp, there is limited free parking in the town lot and an outhouse is nearby. When the town lot is full, paying to park in the state owned lot is an option.

The Northport Public Landing (no boat ramp here) is a popular shore fishing location, especially when mackerel are running. To get here, take the Shore Road off Route 1 at Northport and follow signs to the landing. Parking here is adequate.
Another good shore fishing site is off the Bayside Town Dock in the village of Bayside. Follow the Shore Road north to Bayside Road to arrive at this location. Parking here is limited at best. 

The Belfast Town Landing is located in Belfast's waterfront district. An excellent extra-wide blacktop boat ramp, a large pier with floats, picnic tables, restroorns and large parking lot make this site user-friendly. A launching fee is charged to use the ramp and, due to boat traffic, shore fishing is not permitted off the dock. If you need assistance or information about the harbor, check in at the Harbor Master's office next to the ramp.
The Searsport Town Landing offers both shore fishing and a boat ramp. The town pier, float, a blacktop ramp, large parking lot, picnic tables and an outhouse can be found here. To locate the landing, look for a shore access sign on the right as you enter Searsport on Route 1 from the south. 
The Searsport Causeway connects Sears Island with the mainland. At this site parking is along a side road and shore fishing for stripers is possible off both sides of the causeway. To get to site, take a right onto Kidder Road when traveling north on Route 1 from Searsport.
Providing access to Stockton Springs Harbor is the Cape Docks Boat Ramp. To get to this site, follow Route 1 north into the town of Stockton Springs; proceed to the center of town and turn right onto Cape Road; follow Cape Road until making a right onto West Cape Road; then turn onto Dock Road and continue to the site. This town maintained facility has a single cement boat ramp that is in good condition. Parking is adequate. This site is mostly used by commercial fishermen and pleasure boat owners whose vessels are moored in the harbor. 
The Penobscot River has a history as one of Maine's most noted Atlantic salmon rivers and still supports several Atlantic salmon fishing clubs near its head-of-tide. Please note that fishing for Atlantic salmon in Maine requires an Atlantic salmon fishing stamp.  In addition, this is a hook and release fishery and only fly fishing gear can legally be used.  This paragraph has been superceded by Atlantic Salmon Commission Regulation which currently prohibits fishing for or taking Atlantic Salmon by any means from all Maine waters.
The Penobscot River is also experiencing growth in its striped bass fishery.  Several boat ramps on the lower reaches of the river provide good access to anglers with this species in mind.
Two boat ramps provide access from the west side of the Penobscot River. The northern-most is Turtle Head Marina Boat Ramp off Route 1A in the town of Hampden. This ramp is in good condition and is serviced by a float. Parking is not a problem and restrooms are available. The second boat ramp is at Grist Mill Park, down river along Route 1A in the town of Frankfort. Available here are a paved boat ramp (not usable at low tide) and a large parking lot. 
Anglers targeting Atlantic salmon may try their luck shore fishing at the Penobscot River's head-of-tide In Eddington. This paragraph has been superceded by Atlantic Salmon Commission Regulation which currently prohibits fishing for or taking Atlantic Salmon by any means from all Maine waters. From Brewer, follow Routes 9 and 178 east; turn left with Route 178 where Route 9 separates; immediately take Monument Drive; follow to the dirt and cobble access road on the left, just before Monument Drive reconnects with Route 178; walk or carefully drive to the shore. 
Located farther down river along the east bank are two more boat ramps. just off Routes 9 and 178 in Brewer is the North Main Street Boat Ramp with a large cement ramp (not usable at low tide) and large parking lot. 
Still farther down river is the South Orrington Boat Ramp (unusable at low tide) which has adequate parking. In the village of South Orrington, turn onto Blake Road from Route 15, cross Settlers Way Road and continue to the site. 
Verona Park boat ramp is at the lower reaches of the Penobscot River on Verona Island. This ramp is in good condition, there is plenty of parking and this site has the added benefit of being a fine shore fishing spot for stripers. To get to the park, take a left off Route I north prior to going over the bridge connecting Verona Island and Bucksport. 
The South Penobscot Boat Ramp provides access to the Bagaduce River. To get to this site, follow Route I north out of Bucksport and connect with Route 175 south; just before entering the village of South Penobscot, look for the boat launch on the right. This town maintained cement ramp is in poor condition, is not usable around low tide and has limited parking. 
Next to the Fire Station in the center of downtown Blue Hill lies the near Blue Hill Town Landing. This boat ramp provides access to Blue Hill Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. To get to the site, take Route 15 south off Route 1, just north of Bucksport. This site has a single cement boat ramp (unusable at low tide) serviced by a float. Parking for the site is adequate.  

Jun 14, 2015

Searsport dredging issue,Summer 2015. Audio from DMR's June 9, 2015 public hearing about the proposed dredge project.

Dredging plans for Searsport Harbor have aroused a great deal of ire at the likelihood of major contaminants' releases into the water column, both -light-blocking silt and an array of heavy metals, chlorinated wastes, hydrocarbon wastes and more   At DMR's June 9th public hearing, no supporters of the project spoke at all.  Are the agencies listening?

More audio to come.....

Searsport dredging issue heats up Summer 2015

Local and regional media coverage of the public hearing Held June 9, 2015 by maine DMR about  the proposed federal dredge

Audio of selected speakers from the 6/9/26 public hearing

Coverage of the meeting
WCSH TV  Searsport Harbor dredging opponents speak at public hearing
Excerpt: "Opponents of the proposal said this dredging will harm the fishing industry. The Friends of Penobscot Bay Group says it will take at least four years for recovery and re-colonization of lobster in the area, and that would cause at much as a $68 million loss for the industry."

Belfast Republican Journal/Waldo Village Soup
Fishermen, environmental activists urge state officials to revisit dredging plans Department of Marine Resources hearing attracts more than 100 people
Fishermen and activists warned officials from the Department of Marine Resources June 9 that a "calamity of turbidity," seven years' bad catch and other hazards await the fishing industry if a major dredging at Mack Point marine terminal goes ahead as planned.

Bangor Daily News
Objections Raised over Searsport Dredging
Excerpt: "During the Maine Department of Marine Resources public hearing on the impact to the fishing industry of the dredging project....[all] who spoke warned of the possible negative effects the dredging and dumping of 900,000 cubic yards of silt and sediment could have on the bay."

Jun 13, 2015

News: Fishermen, environmental activists urge state officials to revisit dredging plans- Republican Journal stlory

Fishermen, environmental activists urge state officials to revisit dredging plans

Department of Marine Resources hearing attracts more than 100 people
Photo by: Ethan AndrewsLobsterman Wayne Canning speaks at a public meeting with Maine Department of Marine Resources officials in Searsport, June 9. Canning was among a number of fishermen who voiced concerns about a major dredging project planned for the winter.
SEARSPORT — Fishermen and activists warned officials from the Department of Marine Resources June 9 that a "calamity of turbidity," seven years' bad catch and other hazards await the fishing industry if a major dredging at Mack Point marine terminal goes ahead as planned.
More than 100 people came to the public meeting at Searsport District High School. Many were dressed in red — the color of boiled lobsters and, on this night, solidarity among local interests opposed to a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen and widen the navigation channel into the port.
Dredging is scheduled to take place between November 2015 and March 2016.
The purpose, according to the Army Corps, is to accommodate larger cargo ships at Mack Point, which is one of three deep-water ports in the state.
Opponents of the plan, which would entail dredging 900,000 cubic yards of material from the bay floor and dumping it at a site northwest of Islesboro, fear the dredging will disperse a legacy of toxic materials left over from decades of heavy industry around Penobscot Bay.
Tuesday night, several speakers with marine biology credentials added another concern — that disturbing the dredge area and disposal site could release significant amounts of methane gas.
Joseph Kelley, a professor of marine biology at the University of Maine who has worked extensively on mapping the seafloor of the Gulf of Maine, said the methane would have come from organic matter that grew in marshes 10,000 to 12,000 years ago when the sea level was lower than it is today. That material would have been covered in mud when sea levels rose and undergone a gradual anaerobic decomposition, creating methane gas in the process, he said.
Kelley said the "pockmarks" at the disposal site, which appear as craters on maps of the seafloor, looked too steep to exist in an active sedimentary environment.
This opinion was echoed by David Laing, a retired geologist who attributed the shape to methane and water compounds called clathrates.
"In other words, something's coming out of those pits on a fairly regular basis to maintain that topographic form," he said. Laing said clathrates hold their form but could break down and release methane if disturbed by disposal dredge spoils.
This combined with the unknown effects of currents on the disposed sediment could lead to what Kim Ervin Tucker, an attorney for several fishermen's associations and environmental and small business advocacy groups, would later call a "calamity of turbidity" that could devastate fishing in the area.
That prospect was too risky for some fishermen who have made their living selling healthy crustaceans and shellfish.
David Black, a Belfast lobsterman, said lobster landings have doubled in the past four years, largely as a result of careful management of the fishery by lobstermen themselves. The dredging project threatens to undo that work, he said.
Matt Samuels, who works out of Rockport, said landings fell off for two to three years in the area where he fishes after dredging spoils from Belfast Harbor were dumped nearby.
Fishermen and environmental watchdogs have generally supported "maintenance dredging," which would remove drifts and return the channel to its most recent dredged depth.
On Tuesday, there was talk about a third idea proposed in a report by Dawson & Associates. Islesboro Islands Trust commissioned the study from the Washington, D.C.-based firm, which specializes in regulatory and environmental issues relating to federal waters.
The so-called "Dawson alternative" would entail dredging around the piers at the cargo terminal to the depth proposed by the Army Corps and limiting the dredging in the navigation channel to basic maintenance. The material would be brought upland instead of being dumped elsewhere in the bay.
According to the report, this combination would fulfill most of the goals of the original proposal with much less dredging, and as a result, fewer environmental risks.
"I think we'd all get along quite well that way," said Wayne Canning, a longtime Penobscot Bay lobsterman.
Canning said if the larger dredging project went wrong and the catch was depleted or contaminated, local fishermen could be out of work for years.
"This whole thing is high risk for a guy on my end," he said.
Julie Eaton, a lobsterman from Deer Isle, echoed concerns that the dredging could wipe out some of the best lobster fishing in the state and challenged the assertion by dredging supporters that large boats can't navigate the channel at low tide today. Eaton said she has traps in a shoal area that can't be reached by boat at low tide and has done just fine.
"I organize my day so I get there at high tide," she said, drawing a round of laughter from the crowd. "And I'm just a little fisherman. The captains of these big tankers should be able to do the same thing."
Steven Tanguay, co-owner of Searsport Shores campground, talked about town efforts to restore the clam flats in Long Cove after decades of pre-Clean Water Act pollution, a jet fuel spill in the '70s and construction of the Sears Island Causeway, which environmental advocates blame for disrupting aspects of the marine ecosystem. The recovery has been slow, he said, but last year the town sold 100 recreational clamming permits.
Tony Kulik of Belfast said he was told "off the record" that the dredging was "a done deal" among other government agencies, leaving DMR as the last hope for opponents.
"Somebody in government has got to stand up for the fishermen," he said.
Comments from Tuesday night's meeting will be considered in a recommendation by the DMR commissioner to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Denis Nault, a biologist and environmental review coordinator with DMR who listened to testimony on Tuesday, said the agency would compare this project with others to the extent possible — a dredging in Portland, for example, had removed a similar amount of material but was different in that it was offshore — and consider any relevant scientific studies.
"I understand people have a feeling for these things," he said. "But I have to look at science and data."

Jun 10, 2015

Maine new oil train railroad rules. MDEP says, here they are!

Chapter 696: Oil Discharge And Pollution Control Rules For Rail Tank Cars

Concise Summary:
The Department is proposing a new rule establishing minimum inspection, preparedness, and reporting requirements for operators of rail tank cars transporting or storing oil in Maine. The rule establishes requirements for the remediation of any oil discharges from rail tank cars, requires the submission of federal Response Plans to the Department, and establishes inspection requirements for rail cars that are used for storage, and parked at a siding for more than 5 consecutive days.
Agency contact:
Jeff Crawford
17 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
Public hearing: N