Jan 19, 2017

ME Legislature's new Marine Resources Committee gets DMR & NGO briefings: AUDIO

On January 18, 2017 Maine Legislature's new Marine Resources Committee  was briefed by  DMR officials and NGOs representing fisheries and conservation. The committee also received written material from NGOs that couldn't appear.

Part 1 committee and agency introductions

Committee Introductions. 2 minutes

DMR Carl Wilson 6min 37sec (in midspeech as recording begins )
DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher on fishery & aquaculture confidentiality regs. 1min

Keliher on experimental 53 metric ton shrimp fishery 2min53sec

John Lewis, Maine DMR Research & Aquaculture Director, 4min 24sec

Part 2 NGOs
Sebastion Bell, Maine Aquaculture Association. 14min

Julie Eaton, Maine Lobstering Union 5min 25sec

Unidentified speaker, naturalist on seaweed, 8minutes

George Siever Seaweed 6min 9 sec

Melissa Gates, Surfrider Foundation 3min49sec

Nick Battista, Island Institute 5min 48sec

Afternoon presentations
Presentations Pt 2 Penobscot East to Maine Water Assn. 33min

Presentations Pt 3. Down East Institute to Maine Lobster Dealers Assoc 34min 

Includes Mike Talhauser and Christina Fifield Penobscot East
Former DMR officialTogue Brawn on Scallops
Gulf of Maine research Institute, Dana Morse Coop Extension, Daniel Harrington Independent Maine wormharvesters,  Ben Martens ME coast fishermens Assoc, Annie Tslikas Maine Lobstermen's Association







Jan 13, 2017

Food Sovereignty Ordinance advances in Rockland. Hear supporters speaking. AUDIO

Rockland's City Council gave initial approval Monday night, 1/9/17 to a draft food sovereignty ordinance.Supporters from around the region joined city residents.  Rockland would be first _city_ to adopt such an ordinance.(WRFR Interview of  Rockland FoodSov expert Jesse Watson. 23min 

Public comments on the proposed food sovereignty ordinance are followed by  the Rockland City Council discussing and voting 3-2 in favor of the proposed ordinance.
Judith Lawson
Ron Huber



Debby Atwell





David Myslabodski







After the vote , food sov advocate Jesse Watson praised the turnout, noting also that  it was a "surprise close vote" . He said that supporters differed from critics and holding that the ordinance do not frustrate the purpose of state or federal  regulations.

"For us supporters its not a question of exceeding authority." he said. "What is the purpose of these regs? The purpose is to provide a resilient food system that  makes safe,  nutritious and readily accessible food.  This ordinance does not frustrate the purpose of the combined department of food conservation and forestry." Watson told WRFR correspondent Ron Huber.

Jan 11, 2017

Maine Coastal Program's 11/22/16 FOAA response on offshore wind project Aquaventus/ Volturnus

Maine Coastal Program's 11/22/16 response to Friends of Penobscot Bay's FOAA  re Aquaventus/Volturnus 
request was for "Public records in custody of you or your staff dating from April 1, 2016 to November 14, 2016 that pertain to the Maine Aquaventus /Volturnus floating ocean wind turbines project, slated to occupy the Maine Offshore Wind Test Center.   (FOPB letter is page 34)

Much ado about trying to tweak the rules  to make the state offshore wind test center into a permanent windpower site - which it certainly was not intended to be!
A bit of groaning about opposition from Protect Monhegan folks

FOAA Part One Pages 1-12  PDF  Articles sent to each other

FOAA Part 2 Pages 13-34    PDF   Emails between the  people listed below 

People and email addresses used within the FOAA'd material:

State Agencies
Kathleen Leyden  <Kathleen.Leyden@maine.gov> Dir Maine Coastal Prog (MCP)
Mark Bergeron  <Mark.Bergeron@maine.gov>   Dir DEP Bureau of Lands
Robert G. Marvinney <Robert.G.Marvinney@maine.gov>  ME Geologic Survey
Patrick C. Woodcock <Patrick.C.Woodcock@maine.gov> Governor's Energy Office
Meredith Mendelson <Meredith.Mendelson@maine.gov>  DMR Deputy Commissioner
Philip deMaynadier <Phillip.deMaynadier@maine.gov>  DIFW Coordinator
Todd Burrowes <Todd.Burrowes@maine.gov>  MCP federal consistency reviewer
Peggy Bensinger  <Peggy.Bensinger@maine.gov>  MDEP's  Asst AG
Matthew Nixon  <Matthew.E.Nixon@maine.gov>  MCP  GIS &  Ocean Planning

Monhegan Residents
* Barbara Hitchcock <barbaramonhegan@gmail.com> Monhegan residen,t Hitchcock House
* Laura T Singer <lsinger@maine.rr.com> Monhegan Resident

Wind Industry
* Beth Nagusky <bnagusky@leedco.org>  Lake Erie Energy Development. Former head ME Governor's Energy Office- Baldacci
Info@windindustry.com   "Website for the windindustry"

Jan 6, 2017

Maine draft metallic mining rules OK'd by BEP, despite widespread community oppo. Sent to Legislature for approval.


Listen to audios of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection at its January 5, 2017 meeting, where it approved its latest draft of controversial new metallic mining rules, with the support of Maine DEP's mining division; despite nearly complete community opposition for the last two years.   25 second  justification of mining under coastal wetlands (bays)  read by BEP staffer

Media coverage of meeting. BDN   PPH   Mainebiz  MTC   See ME Metallic Mining Act . 
AUDIO
PART 1






Rockland Maine "infilling" ordinance draft 12/12/16 Click on pages

Rockland Maine "infilling" ordinance draft version Dec 12, 2016
Links below to the pages of the draft.
Note  red type is most recent addition. Strike outs are deletions

Page 1    Page 2    Page 3  Page 4 

Page 5     Page 6   Page 7  Page 8  

Page 9  Page 10  Page 11  Page 12 Page 13
























Jan 5, 2017

NOAA's Maine coast charts as downloadable pdf files

Easy access to navigational charts of Maine's coastal waters. Right-click on chart # to save or open.
Chart #      Scale
1327880000Portsmouth to Cape Ann; Hampton Harbor
1327920000Ipswich Bay to Gloucester Harbor; Rockport Harbor
1328110000Gloucester Harbor and Annisquam River
1328220000Newburyport Harbor and Plum Island Sound
1328320000Portsmouth Harbor Cape Neddick Harbor to Isles of Shoals; Portsmouth Harbor
1328520000Portsmouth to Dover and Exeter
1328680000Cape Elizabeth to Portsmouth; Cape Porpoise Harbor; Wells Harbor; Kennebunk River; Perkins Cove
1328720000Saco Bay and Vicinity
1328880000Monhegan Island to Cape Elizabeth
1329040000Casco Bay
1329220000Portland Harbor and Vicinity
1329340000Damariscotta, Sheepscot and Kennebec Rivers;South Bristol Harbor;Christmas Cove
1329515000Kennebec and Sheepscot River Entrances
1329615000Boothbay Harbor to Bath, Including Kennebec River
1329715000Kennebec River Courthouse Point to Augusta
1329815000Kennebec River Bath to Courthouse Point
1330140000Muscongus Bay;New Harbor;Thomaston
1330280000Penobscot Bay and Approaches
1330340000Approaches to Penobscot Bay
1330540000Penobscot Bay;Carvers Harbor and Approaches
1330720000Camden, Rockport and Rockland Harbors
1330815000Fox Islands Thorofare
1330940000Penobscot River;Belfast Harbor
1331280000Frenchman and Blue Hill Bays and Approaches
1331340000Approaches to Blue Hill Bay
1331520000Deer Island Thorofare and Casco Passage
1331640000Blue Hill Bay;Blue Hill Harbor
1331840000Frenchman Bay and Mount Desert lsland
1332110000Southwest Harbor and Approaches
1332210000Winter Harbor
1332310000Bar Harbor Mount Desert Island
1332440000Tibbett Narrows to Schoodic Island
1332580000Quoddy Narrows to Petit Manan lsland
1332640000Machias Bay to Tibbett Narrows
1339250000Grand Manan Channel Southern Part
1339450000Grand Manan Channel Northern Part; North Head and Flagg Cove
1339620000Campobello Island; Eastport Harbor
1339850000Passamaquoddy Bay and St. Croix River; Beaver Harbor; Saint Andrews; Todds Point

Dec 26, 2016

Pesticides & Maine Lobsters. State's Dec 2016 report shows 9 coastal towns with anti-tick chem in flats

How do we keep Maine's coastal waters  as pesticide-free as possible, for the good of our oysters, lobsters, their predators and their prey that live in and breathe those waters? 

According to a pair of Maine Board of Pesticides Control reports from  2015   and 2016 , with the exception of 9 towns coastwide, our coastal waters and sediments are relatively pesticide free. Or at least at non-detection levels. 

 The 12/16/16 16 report noted "There were no detections in sediments collected from sites previously identified as juvenile lobster habitat or adjacent to lobster habitat."  

Locations with Reportable Levels (RLs) of pesticide Bifenthrin (RL= 0.045 ppb) * 
Blue Hill           0.26 ppb Bifenthrin  
Camden           0.060 ppb Bifenthrin
Boothbay Hbr  0.26 ppb Bifenthrin 
Bath                 0.054 ppb Bifenthrin
Bath                 0.066 ppb Bifenthrin (dup)
Yarmouth         0.56ppb Bifenthrin
Portland           0.32ppb Bifenthrin 
So Portland     1.0ppb Bifenthrin
Biddeford         0.76ppb  Bifenthrin    Biddeford 5.0 ppb  Cypermethrin
Kittery              0.088ppb  Bifenthrin 

*RL  is the lowest concentration at which a chemical can be detected in a sample, and its concentration reported with accuracy.


Here's the timeline since this sampling/testing initiative began in 2014.
2014  
February 5, 2014  Legislation LD 1678. An Act to Protect Maine's Lobster Fishery introduced 2/5/14 by Representative Walter Kumiega, Deer Isle, before the  Maine Legislature's Agriculture and Conservation Committee. The bill would prohibit the use of pesticides methoprene or resmethrin  "in any body of water that drains into the Gulf of Maine or on land from which runoff could enter into any such waterway."  

February 6, 2014.  Maine Pesticide Control Board head Henry Jennings  testified against the bill (23 second excerpt) (Listen to Jennings'  full 40 minute Q&A with legislators)   He said impetus for the bill came from what he called the flawed study of the Long Island Sound lobster disaster the ID'd  heavy use of  methoprene and resmethrin in land around the Sound as a key reason. Alternative reasons for the Lobstercaust? He shrugged.


February 21, 2014   (1Ag & Conservation Committee voted 2/21/14 Ought Not To Pass on LD1678. killing it.
(2)  BPC chief Jennings agreed to organize a coastal Maine sediment & stormwater pesticide sampling project. However, he  said that the call for pesticide sediment and water testing is so small that local chemical labs don't do it. (Later he chooses  Montana State Analytical Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute (Texas) to do the sample testing)
March 18, 2014  Legislature writes to BPC's Jennings requesting an interim report by January 2015  and a final report by 2017.

April 18, 2014  BPC holds a  presentation on  testing sediments for pesticides.
See  meeting minutes    Jennings' slide show at the meeting  

2015
January 10, 2015 BPC releases an  "interim" report  on their first round of testing. 
See test results here  In Penobscot Bay,  BPC  water quality specialist. Mary Tomlinson sampled the northwest flats of Rockland Harbor, Laite Beach in Camden, and boat launches in Belfast and Blue Hill. The BPC collected samples between August 27 and September 10, 2014 and shipped to them to  the two contract laboratories. Montana Analytical Laboratory and  Southwest Research Institute.  

2016 
December 16, 2016 report This final report is limited to the Casco Bay  and Saco area;  BPC said Penobscot Bay and elsewhere on Maine coast, have  mostly very small to zero levels of pesticides. So the 22016 study dofused on Portland and Saco In fact the report states: "There were no detections in sediments collected from sites previously identified as juvenile lobster habitat or adjacent to lobster habitat."

Dec 16, 2016

Saint George: controversial ramp & float application sent back to Planning Board - for 3rd time. AUDIO

Saint George Board of Appeals
SAINT GEORGE.  On December 15th, the Saint George Board of Appeals voted to send back to the town's planning board for reconsideration, an application  by two property owners  to put a ramp and float into Saint George's biodiverse Watts Cove. 
Listen to Audio of the 12/15/16 Board of appeals meeting:  
2. Board Discussion & VotePart 1. 14minPart 2. 13minPart 3. 14min  and Part 4. 19min  
Public attendees
The appeals board told the planning board to take a second look at  the November 17, 2016 appeal by Bryce & Gail Molloy of the rejection of  their second application on October 4th  to build a ramp with chained floats extending out from the shore of Watts Cove, a small intertidal embayment of the tidal Saint George River.

The cove is well documented by  conservation agency Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife,  and in reports from environmental consultants Paul Leeper of Moody Mtn Env. (report)) and Sr Ecologist Richard Podolski PhD of the Ecology And Technology firm, (report) . Both identify Watts Cove and surrounds as high quality, highly productive estuarine shore and wading bird and shellfish habitat.

The St George Planning Board denied the 2 requests  based on  Section 15C of the shoreland  "The facility shall be no longer in dimension than necessary to carry on the activity and be consistent with the surrounding character and uses of the area. A pier, dock or wharf in non-tidal waters shall not be wider than six feet for non-commercial use."

However, their review  included  extensive consideration of the plan's fitness to meet the standards of Section 16 D-4 :

"4. Will not have an adverse impact on spawning grounds, fish, aquatic life, bird or other wildlife habitat;"

In their October 25th rejection of  the  10/4/16 application, the Planning Board's Motion to Deny stated:
"The facility is not consistent with the surrounding character and uses of the surrounding area because:  
1.  of the unique character beyond Watts Cove beyond the dam 
2.  the existing conservation easement and resource protection in the cove 
3.  the tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat 
4.  the absence of existing floats in the water "

CONTROVERSY
After deciding in the Molloys' favor to send the application back to the Planning Board, controversy arose as Appeals Board members and the two attorneys sparred over what the scope of the Planning Board should be in its review of the newly sent back application:
Both Sections 15C and 16D-4?  Or 15 C only?

Atty James Katsiaficas
They disagreed over whether the float would unlawfully intrude into an area identified by the Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife as Significant Wildlife Habitat  for shorebirds and other species.   

James Katsiaficas, the Molloy's attorney, said that as a seasonal ramp and float, the proposal fell outside Maine DEP's purview. The Dept of Inland Fish and Wildlife's involvement would have been contingent on Maine DEP  seeking IFW's expertise. With DEP not involved, there was nothing for IFW to review. The findings of the Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife need not be factored in. LISTEN TO KATSIAFICAS 31MIN MP3.

Atty Paul Givens
Paul Gibbons, attorney for Watts Cove shoreowner Matthew Stern and other interested parties, held to the opposite opinion. He said that the Planning Board was  entirely free to use all of the evidence and information it had put into the official record, and discussed during its deliberations, when looking at the application again, and determining if it would : "have an adverse impact on spawning grounds, fish aquatic life, bird or other wildlife habitat."   . LISTEN TO GIBBONS TESTIMONY 22MIN

 Gibbons said the documented facts of the unacceptable impacts to wading birds & other wildlife should compel the Planning Board to reach the same conclusions as before.

 He noted that the float would  intrude into an area identified by the Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife as Significant Wildlife area for shorebirds and other species. 
These concerns were about Section 16 D-4 of the Saint George shoreland zoning ordinance which requires a positive finding that a project "[w]ill not have an adverse impact on spawning grounds, fish aquatic life, bird or other wildlife habitat."  
Watts Cove lower. Saint George River, upper .

However, the planning board did not specifically include these Section 16 D-4 related issues in its list of "findings" in the final wording of their rejection of the Molloy's plans. Only 15C.

Did the Planning Board begin its review of the Molloy stair and floats, and then end its review when they found 15C to be a showstopper? Not  the facts found re the impacts of the project on Sec 16D-4 

Thus, said the Appeals board chair and the Molloys' attorney. the planning board could not consider those Section 16D-4 issues in its new review.  Only Section 15 C-5 standards on the size and shape of the proposed ramp and floats  should be reviewed *

Members of the Board of Appeals were initially mixed on whether the Planning Board should be directed to review the project under 16 D-4 In addition to Section 15 C-5 of  the shoreland zoning ordinance, but ultimately voted to request only that they review the project under the latter.