Mar 8, 2016

Maine Dredge Team March 7, 2016 meetings Audio mp3s of the interagency meeting

Monday March 7th, the Maine Interagency Dredge Team met in Augusta. 
Listen to audio from the event.

Intro of Dredge team 4min 19sec |

Part 1 21 min |

Part 2 22min |

Part 3. 16min

Participants were there to discuss dredging projects underway and under consideration. This included the Searport Harbor expansion dredge project, as well as other harbors along the Maine coast.
The public was represented by eco-attorney Kim Ervin Tucker of Lincolnville Beach, Becky Bartovics, Maine Sierra Club, North Haven Island, and Ron Huber, Friends of Penobscot Bay, Rockland.   The meeting allowed public participation by speakerphone 

The dredge team included: 
Pete Tischbein, Army Corp Craig Martin, navigation section, ACOE Wendy ____ Army Corp of Engineers planning John Chelley Chief of planning, f Army Corps Mark Habel Corps new eng, navigation Ed O'Donnel chief navigation section and the ONF program Dennis Nault Maine DMR Rob Elder MDOT trade office Maine DEP ____ Green Paul Mercer, commissioner DEP Mark Bergeron on MDEP Maine Geological Survey Maine Port Authority - Dredge committee Patty Aho, Sen Collins office staffer, Sen Collins for York County Pingree staffer Portland Senator Angus King staffer Tom Dobbins Portland harbor commission Jim Katz Saco coastal waters chief Patrick Fox Saco Payne, Normandeau Associates Biddeford harbor commission Wells harbormaster & town manager
Also attending: Maine Lobstering Union members (3) Kim Tucker Lawyer for Maine Lobstering Union David Black, Belfast Zone D lobsterman

The meeting was frustrating for critics of the Searport harbor dredge plan (aerial photo) . Dredging officials told Tucker at first that they had absolutely no new information about when the withdrawn Searsport harbor expansion dredge project might be reactivated. She managed to pull a few things out of them, like the identity of the till-now army corps officials in DC are who will decide when the Sarsport : Tab Brown, Army Corp Chief of Policy Regarding the Big Gas plan, the Corp's <Edward.G.O'>, told Huber that they have not received any communications at all about natural gas pipelines coming down from Massachusetts to the Penobscot Bay coast (with all the stream & river crossings required by such pipelines etc, the Corp will be involved. Huber also brought up the failing condition of the surface of the Rockland Breakwater, which has reduced pedestrian travel to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. He said that the Rockland Harbor Commission was concerned that if they complained, the Corps might shut off pedestrian access entirely. Corp official Ed O'Donnell asked Huber to forward him some details.

The meeting was frustrating for opponents of the Army Corps of Engineers massive dredge plan for Searsport harbor:  It seemed that  try as they might, it was near impossible to get details from the army corps staff there on when the "withdrawn" application would become active again.   Federal officials claimed to have no information! Check out this exchange between Kim Ervin Tucker and an Army Corps official 
Q: What is the time frame you're talking about resurrecting this during the course of 2016?
A. We don't know.
Q: Who in DC specifically are you working with, what office?
A. Planning and Policy.
Q: A specific person there involved in that ?
A. Not a specific person, but  Tab Brown is the chief of that.
Q: Was there anything in particular you all are looking at?  Pockmarks? What specifically is now being re-evaluated for that project?
A.We don't know yet
Q: When will you know?
A: laughs
Q: Before the next team meeting? Will there be some activity taken before the next dredge team meeting?
AThe corps and DOT have to do a lot of talking, before the half stretch.
Q Thank you. 

 To get notified about  future  Maine  dredge meetings  write to  Todd Burrowes  at the Maine coastal program < and ask him to put you on the list.   Burrowes is the Maine Coastal Program's "Federal Consistency Coordinator", meaning he's the contact when fed permit-requiring projects - including dredging but also  shoreline development like  riprapping  & piers-  come up. Coastal program phone: (207) 287-3200.

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