Jul 23, 2005

Invader asian crabs spread downeast

A volunteer working for a Canadian researcher Dave Delaney of McGill University just found a 22 mm female Asian shorecrab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) on the north shore of Schoodic Peninsula, (presumably Gouldsboro.

This is unfortunate news. Now the ASC has colonized the southern (Isle au Haut) and northern extents of Acadia National Park. Even more alarming, the found organism was a gravid female with only a few eggs remaining.

This is the furthest north that the lobster-threatening invasive crab has been confirmed.

The staff of Acadia National Park, especially Jim McKenna and David Manski, have been assisting in the crab-watch.

This crab has had impacts in more southern Atlantic states. (massive population growth in the intertidal, crowding out other crustaceans.)

The strategy the Canadian resaerch calls for: start a trapping program throughout Acadia and the rest of Maine to control for the invader. The invader green crab now has an official trapping fishery with a commercial license. )

Jul 14, 2005

Rockland Dredge Disposal Site - state to mandate more community involvement.

Changes are in the wind for how decisions are made about dumping dredge spoils in Penobscot Bay. Towns will have to become experts. A held over bill LD 1592 at the state legislature will require all towns where dredging is to take place to develop a plan for the disposal of dredge spoils. In an email sequence below, Maine Port Authority head Brian Nutter has Maine Port Safety Forum staffer Eileen Lord forward to a broad spectrum of the state maritime community an email from Jay Clement of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Titled "Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area" it apparently refers to the bill, which was held over by the legislature till the next session or special session.
Read the bill at this link or below pasted in below the email.

The last paragraph of the bill is the added language, the only change it would make in this law: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/38/title38sec480-d.html .

-----Original Message-----
From: Nutter, Brian
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 12:00 PM
To: Lord, Eileen
Subject: FW: Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area

Please forward this to the Port Safety Forum.

Thanks, Brian

Brian C. Nutter, Executive Director
Maine Port Authority
16 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0016

Tel. 207-624-3564 Fax 207-624-3251

-----Original Message-----
From: Clement, Jay L NAE [mailto:Jay.L.Clement@nae02.usace.army.mil]
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 1:42 PM
To: brian.nutter@maine.gov
Subject: Dredging/Disposal and the Rockland Disposal Area


I didn't want to wait until October so feel free to pass this message along to the members of the forum. Apparently the legislature instructed DOT and DEP to work together on the issue of use of the Rockland Disposal Site. At DOT the POC is Chris Olsen; and at DEP it is Judy Gates or Jeff Madore. At this point in time no outcomes are pre-ordained nor has a work group or even a work plan been developed, let alone a time table. It is likely that nothing will happen until at least September. Our office would expect to be involved, particularly since we've worked with your shop and DEP for many years on dredging/disposal issues.

I may have more information by the October forum meeting or I may not. This initiative seems to have had some gas in the beginning but now the tank is empty.


----------------------End of Emails----------------------------------------------

The bill LD 1592's language. The addition of the last paragraph about municipalities is the ONLY change.

LD 1592. An Act Regarding Disposal of Dredged Materials.
Introduced by Representative KOFFMAN of Bar Harbor

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 38 MRSA §413, sub-§2-C, as amended by PL 1989, c. 656, §1, is repealed:

Sec. 2. 38 MRSA §480-D, sub-§9, as amended by PL 2001, c. 248, §1, is
further amended to read:

9. Dredging. If the proposed activity involves dredging,
dredge spoils disposal or transporting dredge spoils by water,
the applicant must demonstrate that the transportation route
minimizes adverse impacts on the fishing industry and that the
disposal site is geologically suitable. The Commissioner of
Marine Resources shall provide the department with an assessment
of the impacts on the fishing industry of a proposed dredging
operation in the coastal wetlands. The assessment must consider
impacts to the area to be dredged and impacts to the fishing
industry of a proposed route to transport dredge spoils to an
ocean disposal site. The Commissioner of Marine Resources may
hold a public hearing on the proposed dredging operation. In
determining if a hearing is to be held, the Commissioner of
Marine Resources shall consider the potential impacts of the
proposed dredging operation on fishing in the area to be dredged.
If a hearing is held, it must be within at least one of the
municipalities in which the dredging operation would take place.

If the Commissioner of Marine Resources determines that a hearing
is not to be held, the Commissioner of Marine Resources must
publish a notice of that determination in a newspaper of general
circulation in the area proposed for the dredging operation. The
notice must state that the Commissioner of Marine Resources will
accept verbal and written comments in lieu of a public hearing.

The notice must also state that if 5 or more persons request a
public hearing within 30 days of the notice publication, the
Commissioner of Marine Resources will hold a hearing. If 5 or
more persons request a public hearing within 30 days of the
notice publication, the Commissioner of Marine Resources must
hold a hearing. In making its determination under this
subsection, the department must take into consideration the
assessment provided by the Commissioner of Marine Resources. The
permit must require the applicant to:

A. Clearly mark or designate the dredging area, the spoils
disposal route and the transportation route;

B. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the
area adjacent to the route the approved transportation route
of the dredge spoils; and

C. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the area
adjacent to the route a procedure that the applicant
will use to respond to inquiries regarding the loss of fishing
gear during the dredging operation.

A municipality that is adjacent to coastal waters in which
dredging operations take place shall develop a plan for the
disposal of dredge spoils.

Current law exempts holders of a permit issued under the
United States Clean Water Act, Public Law 92-500, Section 404
from obtaining a waste discharge license for the disposal of
dredged materials into waters of the State. This bill removes
that exemption. The bill also requires coastal municipalities to
develop a plan for the disposal of dredge spoils.

End of bill
The law below, exempting dredger-wannabes from needing to get state permits will be repealed by the bill as well:

38 MRSA §413, sub-§2-C
Waste Discharge Licenses.

2-C. Dredge spoils. Holders of a permit obtained pursuant to the United States Clean Water Act, Public Law 92-500, Section 404, are exempt from the need to obtain a waste discharge license for disposal of dredged material into waters of the State when the dredged material is disposed of in an approved United States Army Corps of Engineers disposal site. Disposal of all dredged materials is governed by the natural resource protection laws, sections 480-A to 480-S. [1989, c. 656, §1 (amd).]

Jul 8, 2005

Maine fishermen fight Navy assault ship plan.

Maine fishermen fight Navy assault ship plan.
Rockland. In an ironic departure from efforts to retain naval ships in Portsmouth, angry fishermen from one of Maine's top lobstering areas rounded on the US Navy today, filling the Rockland Harbormaster's office in a hastily called meeting and demanding that the USS Wasp , scheduled to make a courtesy call to the town during the Maine Lobster Festival, move its anchoring location from choice lobstergrounds north of the Rockland Breakwater either a half mile south (closer to the Breakwater Lighthouse) or to the anchorage traditionally used by visiting navy ships off Owls Head across the harbor which has little fishing activity.

While no Navy officials attended the meeting, the Navy's concern was said to be the existence on the harbor nautical chart of a submerged wreck that could entangle anchor lines or foul the deep draft vessel. The Wasp is an 840 foot long, 106 foot wide amphibious assault ship, drawing 26 and one half feet.

The fishermen say the carrier and its surrounding no-vessels-allowed security zone will block dozens of fishermen from their traps for up to a week.

Representatives of the US Coast Guard and Marine Patrol joined the fishermen and harbormaster at the meeting. Asked by the fishermen if they would compensate them for the lost earnings, festival promoters at the meeting said no. The harbormaster was similarly unwilling to discuss compensation.

The meeting ended with the following plan: the harbormaster will hire a professional diver to videodocument the site and a sonar sweep of the wreck area will be taken and recorded. The results will be sent on to the navy, if they show that the wreck on the local nautical chart has crumbled into the seafloor, in hopes that the Navy will review it and consider anchoring the Wasp in that area, instead of prime lobster grounds.

Regardless of the ultimate location of the USS Wasp, fishermen say that the heightened security around Navy vessels since 911 has made life a bit less pleasant whenever a navy vessel visits Rockland harbor. One harbor fisherman described the eerie sensation of being tracked by a watchful seaman wielding a 50 caliber machine gun last summer while fishing his traps near a visiting warship then.