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.
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  

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.  

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.

Audio of the 12/15/16 meeting:  
2Board Discussion & VotePart 1. 14minPart 2. 13minPart 3. 14min  and Part 4. 19min  
Public attendeesT

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 "

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.

Dec 9, 2016

Maine offshore wind test center: FOAA docs show state wants to make it a permanent windpower site.

November 22, 2016, response by Kathleen Leyden, head  of the Maine Coastal Program, responded to Friends of Penobscot Bay's Freedom of Access Act request 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)  

Topics  (1) tweak  rules  to make the state offshore wind test center a permanent windpower site. (2)  opposition from Protect Monhegan folks.

FOAA Part One Pages 1-12  PDF  Articles sent to  and from people listed below

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

State Agencies

Kathleen LeydenDir Maine Coastal Prog (MCP)
Mark BergeronDir DEP Bureau of
Robert G. MarvinneyME Geologic
Patrick C. WoodcockGovernor's Energy
Meredith MendelsonDMR Deputy
Philip deMaynadierDIFW
Todd BurrowesMCP Fed. consistency
Peggy BensingerMDEP's  Asst
Matthew NixonMCP  GIS &  Ocean

Monhegan Residents
Barbara Hitchcock
Concerned Resident
Hitchcock House
Laura T SingerConcerned

Wind Industry
Beth Nagusky
Lake Erie Energy Development.
Former head ME
Governor's Energy Office- Baldacci
Val Stori Clean Energy
 "Website for the wind industry"
Email to: