Jan 31, 2007

Sears Island: next state meeting Feb 5, '07 9 to 3

Sears Island Planning Initiative Steering Committee meets February 5, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Searsport. NOTE start time of 9:00. AGENDA:

I. Welcome, Introductions and Agenda Review (9:00 -9:15)
II. Presentation of DOT White Paper on Container Port Parameters (and Q & A) (9:15-10:15)

BREAK (10:15- 10:25)

III. Presentation on Proposed Easement Language (10:25-11:15)
IV. Private Meetings among Affinity Groups for Discussion of DOT White Paper and Proposed Easement Language (11:15 - 12:15)

LUNCH (12:15 – 1:00)

V. Whole Group Stakeholder Discussion of Draft Consensus Agreement (1:00 - 2:00)
VI. Followup Private Meetings among Affinity Groups (if necessary) (2:00-2:30)
VII. Next Steps & Adjourn (2:30-3:00)

Useful Links:
Fair Play for Sears Island
Maine Dept of Conservation Sears Island webpage

Jan 23, 2007

Bay Management Study final report out: Weak on solutions

"Managing Maine’s Nearshore Coastal Resources: Final Report of the Bay Management Study" Click Here

The report was just given to the Maine Legislature's Marine Resources Committee
What's in it?

It starts by stating the problem:
Maine’s nearshore coastal waters are under increasing pressure from a variety of influences. The potential exists for both increased user conflicts and for further environmental degradation. At the same time, there are signs and symptoms that Maine’s current methods of nearshore management need improvement. Without embarking on enhancements to nearshore management, the health of the marine environment, the livelihoods and recreation that depend on it and the essence of Maine’s character may be at risk.

Solutions? Nothing new here.
A. Move towards regional management of nearshore waters.
B. Increase the amount, availability and accessibility of nearshore data and information.
C. Improve the state’s framework for nearshore management.
D. Increase the amount and diversity of funding sources.

Jan 13, 2007

Salmon manure - Maine DEP tightfisted on details

Under an aquaculture agreement with the federal EPA, Maine oversees the NPDES pollution permitting license for finfish aquaculture. The salmon farms dotting the downeast coast must file monthly monitoring reports with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, detailing the amount of manure that has emanated from the up-to million farm salmon swimming in foreign-owned cages from Passamaquoddy Bay to Blue Hill Bay at any given time.

Read DEP Fact Sheet on Salmon farm pollution monitoring (PDF)

The reports arrive at MDEP's Bangor office in a tabulated format that Maine DEP, several years into receiving these reports, says it has yet to come up with a good way of printing them out or otherwise making them available.
This has angered and frustrated coastal environmentalists seeking this info -- vital to keeping track of these absentee-owned marine hog farms. But MDEP has persisted making these reports available to the public as paper printouts. on unscannable unreadable gray paper stock with the oversized table figures overcompressed to the point of unreadability.

The MDEP official in question Matthew Young admitted that "the printed form is a challenge to read" and agreed to "look into the possibility of creating a cd-rom with the electronic reports we have now...".

Further Young'll see where the agency as it as far as adding this waste discharge data to its publically available database. Watch this space...

Jan 8, 2007

Rockland lobster fishery protection debated at City Council meeting.

On January 8, 2007, A lobsterman and a conservationist spoke their minds to the Rockland city council about the Samorock pier proposal.
Click here for coverage of that council meeting,
Excerpt: Pier proposed near Rockland Breakwater...On the application to build a pier near the Rockland Breakwater, Ron Huber, executive director of Penobscot Bay Watch, and Art Johnson, a Rockland lobster fisherman, asked the council to take a position opposing the Samoset pier project.

If built, the pier itself will close off fishing in the productive near-shore waters,” said Huber. “More fishing ground will be lost to the approach routes that would have to be kept free of lobster traps to avoid fouling the props of boats using the pier. It would increase pollution into this cleanest, most natural part of Rockland’s inner harbor.”

City harbormaster Ed Glaser has been too lukewarm about the subject, in their opinion, and can an earful from city fishermen, whose traps bring millions of dollars into the local economy. About two dozen harbor lobstermen have signed a petition to the city which was delivered last month.