Jun 16, 2016

Rockland FOAA update, City Mgr Jim Chaousis re moratorium and consultants. 50 pages

Below are fifty pages of FOAA'd documents from Rockland city manager Jim Chaousis, requested by Mike Grondin. Uploaded to the web  6/16/16  They are broken into 10 page pdf files for ease of reading:
FOAA Chaousis 6/14/16. Pages 1-10  Rockland Energy Comm 1/14/16 mtg mins; copy of moratorium 12/14/15
FOAA Chaousis 6/14/16. Pages 11-20 Rockland Energy Comm 1/25/16 mtg mins; copy 1/14/16 mins; copy moratorium
FOAA Chaousis 6/14/16. Pages 21-29  Rockland Energy Comm 1/25/16 mtg mins; draft contract with SMRT
FOAA Chaousis 6/14/16. Pages 30-40 Rockland Energy Comm  2/24/16; mtg mins draft contract Woodard Curran, terms,conditions
FOAA Chaousis 6/14/16. Pages 41-50 Woodward and Curran terms and conditions Part 2

Jun 10, 2016

Maine offshore wind funding: French naval contractor getting a big piece of the pie?

Perched at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, Monhegan Island will soon find itself hosting DCNS, a France-based naval military contractor with no experience with offshore windpower. DCNS has become a partner in Maine Aqua Ventus, the University of Maine-led consortium working to develop and deploy two fullsize prototype floating wind turbines off in state waters off Monhegan.

With contractors like DCNS, $40 million won't be going very far. What's DCNS' bite of the Maine Aqua Ventus funding pie? Why them and not BIW or another Maine company?

DCNS cites "Our knowledge of complex systems and maritime technologies, as well as our expertise in managing complex programs..." as reason for hiring out-of-country.

Those skills are not to be found here in the Dawn State? DCNS is simply a big naval contractor that, having snapped up some tidal power businesses, now proposes to expand into ocean windpower, of which they, by their own admission have zero experience.
Milking the cash cow. How much do the various individuals within the ivory tower & the consultancies feeding off this grant expect to earn? Not to mention expense accounts and junketing around our windy world, as consumed much of DOE's seed grant that ended up with Dagher's Folly, a dwarf prototype too small and frail to be tested at Maine's ocean wind test center! Don't think it can't happen again. Leadership of the consortium whose prototype failed the DOE competition hasn't changed. Maine is back in only because of the inability of the winner states to follow through. Do we really expect different results from the same crew that mismanaged its federal seed money? Isn't that the definition of.......naive? Worse: Statoil's shortlived wind effort here was a model of transparency compared to the DeepCwind team's consistent opacity. It took litigation to free up information about their offshore wind test center selection process. Top windie Habib Dagher absolutely refuses to debate with critics of "his" project or even appear on a wind energy panel if an "unbeliever" is allowed too.
In short Maine's ocean wind power consortium, under whichever name: DeepCwind or Maine Aquaventus has always been more like a private Game of Thrones: a great wasteful scramble for personal advantage, with the smallfolk not welcome.

Maine can do better than that

Jun 7, 2016

Ocean Planning meeting 6/1\6/16 Rockland Library - Audio

Listen to an audio recording of the 6/6/16 Ocean Planning meeting at the Rockland, Maine library. Stacie Smith of the Consensus Building Institute emceed. The ocean plan is a result of Executive Order 13547 

1. Intro by Stacie Smith 3 min  

2.Richard Nelson,47sec 

3. Ocean plan review by Betsy Nicholson Part 1. 25 min  
Stacie Smith

4.Ocean plan/portal review,Nicholson Pt2  24min

5. Q&A session 33min  

6. Public comments on draft plan Part 1 38min  

7. Public comments on draft plan Pt 2. 24min  

Chief Presenter was Betsy Nicholson of NOAA's Regional Coastal Program. Nicholson is federal co-lead of the Northeast Regional Planning Body. 

Ron Huber & Betsy Nicholson
She and other officials then fielded questions from the audience. These included representatives of NGOs Friends of Penobscot Bay and Island Institute.

Other attendees included Friendship Maine lobsterman Richard Nelson, Patty Aho for Senator Susan Collins. and many member of the public.

May 31, 2016

Rockland officials responded May 26, 2016 to FOAA responses on city gas ordinance development

Below read documents supplied by Rockland City Councilor Larry Pritchett , city Mgr Jamesa Chousis and city mayor Mayor Ruf to Courier Gazette editor Daniel Dunkle & to city tree warden Michael Grondin, in response to their separate Freedom Of Access Act requests. These were for docs related to the  energy moratorium proposed & draft Rockland city energy ordinance, including emails, memos,  drafts of the proposed ordinance, promo literature from consultants,  Rockland Energy Committee minutes & more  from January to May 2016,  as well as  info from consultants Woodard & Curran and SMRT. More! Thanks Dan Dunkle,  for making this post possible

*  FOAA requests from Mike Grondin & Dan Dunkle, April 26 & May 4th 2016 . 5pgs
* Rockland city manager. emails with Rockland planning board jan 25 - May 5 2016.  34pgs  
*  Rockland City Manager disputes Pritchett's claim he ran contract by him  May 2 and April 23rd.  2pgs 
*  Consultant's undated, unsigned contract. 3pgs
*  Pritchett Jan 25, 2016  to Planning Board re gasplant  standards. 6pgs
*  Enegy Committee  Feb 24 2016 recommendations to Planning Board re consultants  8pgs
*  Rockland City Manager to Ruf; Pritchett to Chaousis. emails  1pg
* Rockland Energy Jan 25, 2016 committee rpt to Planning Bd   6pgs
*  Rockland City Manager
* Chaousis draft agreement with Woodard Curran. undated   8pgs

* Pritchett & Rockland city manager.,Consultant hiring issue, & energy committee draft ordinance Feb 24 - May 2.  15 pgs
* Rockland city manager. Draft gas ordinance,. draft contract with Woodard & Curran17pgs
Rockland Mayor Ruf  emails special council meeting re Larry. April 20 - May 4, 2016.  11pgs
* Pritchett to city atty Beal 5/26/16 re FOAA requests Dunkle and Grondin, more/  2pgs

* Pritchett  33pgs Dec 2015 emails & two drafts of the gas moratorium
* Pritchett  25pgs Rockland Energy Comm meetings  Dec 2015 &Jan 2016

* Pritchett Feb 4 to Feb 23 2016  Energy Comm emails & info 23pgs
* Pritchett 2_SMRT  qualifications 5pgs.
* Pritchett 3_Dan Kelley CVWoodward & Curran 4pgs
* Pritchett 4_Woodard & Curran in-depth skills undated. 88pgs.
* Pritchett 2/24/16 - 2/24/16 Energy Comm recommendations to city planning board 25pgs

*  Pritchett 4/23 - 25, 2016. Draft contracts with SMRT and Woodard & Curran. Emails on pages 1 & 5  16pgs
*  Pritchett April 20 - May 4th 2016 .emails/memos of mayor, others critical of Pritchett's unilaterally approving contracts 22pgs

Pritchett  File 1 Full 145pgs

May 28, 2016

Habitat Area of Particular Concern in Penobscot Bay for juvenile cod.- background info.

Assorted facts and figures relevant to our  plan to use towed video and diver photos/video to  document habitat type and benthic species along specific shallow depth contours of portions of four Penobscot Bay towns:  Rockland Rockport,  North Haven and Vinalhaven (Hurricane Island).

Video Dive and Towed Camera Purposes:
- Document existing benthos of  HAPC Essential Fish Habitat
- Analyze how non-fishing activities affect EFH
- Identify ways to encourage conservation/enhancement of EFH of these areas
- List the major prey species for the species in the area and their locations
- Identify habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC)
- Recommend research efforts, preferably in priority order

Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard  June 2012 
Marine & Coastal Spatial Data Federal Geographic Data Committee

DMR's  enviro reviews  Maine DEP and Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands require DMR's Environmental Coordinator's to evaluate every coastal development application they review,  Link is to several years of development applications that would have an impact on Penobscot Bay's coastal environment, on the living marine resources of the bay, on the fishermen of the bay or on shoreline landowners.

How severe such impacts would be, and what ought to be done. The links below take you to 78 of Mr Swan's environmental reviews of development projects around Penobscot Bay in 2011 and 2012.


Inshore marine resource assessment


 Alternative 8 – Inshore Gulf of Maine Juvenile Cod HAPC

2013 Draft EIS EFH - Inshore juvenile Cod section 4pgs


Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecoregional Assessment

Land Cover and Wetlands of the Gulf of Maine Watershed 

Maine's Intertidal Habitats  A Planner's Handbook

Gulf of Maine habitat primer

Maine's Intertidal habitat 1985

Explanation of Maine Marine Geology

Definition of HAPCs

"So What? Habitat Areas of Particular Concern"

Regional  Fishery Council approaches  to HAPC identification

Opportunities and requirements for essential fish habitat and deep-sea coral protection

HAPC Cases

NMFS to Delaware

Penobscot Bay's, Maine's, shallow cod habitat getting new federal protection

Backstory:   HAPC IJAC
Habitat Area of Particular Concern for Inshore Juvenile  Atlantic Cod  (HIJAC) was first given approval in 1999 by the council.

 Ecology of young cod 

Age-O Cod   Movements and Diel Feeding

Shallow water depths (<5 m) and a strong attraction to features on most substratums, except sand, afford settled juveniles an environment conducive to growth and survival  The shallowness appears to ecologically segregate the 0-group cod from older age-groups at least during daylight;

 Age-0 cod maintain a strict diurnal foraging cycle, school (or shoal) feeding on zooplankton in a tide-related pattern during the day, and remain near protective bottom habitat which they readily seek when threatened. The mottled coloring of young juveniles effectively conceals them in a pebble-gravel environment

The diel change in vertical distribution and activity of 0-group cod coincides with a nocturnal shoreward movement and foraging by older (age-1-3) conspecifics.

Intercohort cannibalism is common. The occurrence of age-O cod in very shallow water (<1.2 m) at night has also been interpreted as possibly an evasive response to predation risk."

May 26, 2016

NOAA's 5/2/5/16 Northeast Ocean Plan webinar. Audio from event

On May 25, 2016  the Northeast Regional Planning Body, a consortium of ocean interests led by NOAA, held a webinar to unveil their draft Northeast Ocean Plan The following are audio recordings of the webinar's presenters & the Q & A that followed.

Part 1 intro in progress 5min 48sec

Part 2  Marine database 6min 30sec

Part 3 Updating maps, other actions 8min 40sec

Part 4 Energy and Infrastructure   6min 24 sec

Part 5  Plan administration and oversight   5min 30sec

Part 6 a reaserch priority 3min 13sec

Part 7 Grover Fugate 4min 24sec

Q&A part 1. 13 min   * Q&A part 2 10min39sec
]* Q&A part 3 8min 39sec   * Q&A part 4 to end. 10 min
Q&A full  42 minutes

The plan examines the issues facing the New England offshore Environment, evaluated the the state of regulation over ten top concerns  Marine Life and Habitat,  Cultural Resources* Marine Transportation * National Security * Commercial and Recreational Fishing* Recreation * Energy and Infrastructure, * Aquaculture * Offshore Sand Resources * and Restoration.

The plan  includes  creating an ocean information online portal with information about the above from and of value to  state and federal agency decisionmakers, indian tribes and the New England Fishery Management Council and all other stakeholders.

May 21, 2016

Rockland's Harbor Mgmt Commission ponders state of breakwater, Harbor Park changes, more.

Listen at this link to the 55 minute long 5/17/16 Rockland Harbor Mgmt Commission meeting, in which commissioners and guests discuss those things that arise as spring finally arrives at this lobstering and tourism harbor, midway up the Maine coast. Topics ranged from state of the Rockland Breakwater, the fate of a long derelict ferryboat Monhegan anchored inside the breakwater, to reconfiguring Harbor Park and more. Speakers included Melissa Maker, Chair, Howie Edwards, Jr from the Rockland Port District, and lobsterman/workboater Richard Whitman. Rockland's new harbormaster Matt Ripley also spoke. Steve Betts of Bangor Daily News was there. Guests on the recording begin with Mike Grondin, Rockland tree warden and blind advocate of the Americans with Disability Act, and his concerns with the reduced accessibility of Rockland Breakwater, to disabled persons, due to gaps on the walking surface from shifting blocks of stone, and Ron Huber of Friends of Penobscot Bay. Later, a presentation by two engineer consultants from Milone & MacBroom on reconfiguring Harbor Park to improve public access and services where the blues festival and Maine lobster festival are held and cruise ship passengers come ashore . A good mix of people on and overseeing this important city commission.