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Bren Smith seeks permit to install aquaculture gear to cultivate sugar kelp in Fisher’s Island Sound in Groton

Published Aug. 1, 2017

CONCORD, Mass. – Bren Smith is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with installing aquaculture gear to cultivate sugar kelp in Fisher’s Island Sound in Groton, Conn.


The proposed work involves the installation of seasonal aquaculture gear for a kelp farm located south of the Bluff Point State Park. The total acreage for the lease (SW13) is approximately 19 acres, and includes one gear area layout within the lease.


The gear area is a 600-foot by 650-foot rectangle which includes a 50-foot buffer perimeter around the entire gear area, marked by safe boating buoys 12-inches in diameter with 36-inch visual exposure areas that read "Danger: Surface Gear Area." These will be placed at the corners and midpoints as necessary. Inside the gear area are 12 longlines of 500 feet each, submerged a minimum of three feet (and a maximum of six feet) suspended horizontally. They will be suspended by 18-inch mooring buoys at each end and one in the center. Gear will be removed by late spring and reinstalled in the late fall.


The proposed project will impact .001 acres of Essential Fish Habitat for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of sandy bottom. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.


The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by Bren Smith, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.


Public comments on this work proposed by Bren Smith (file # NAE-2017-01100) should be forwarded no later than Aug. 30, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Taylor Bell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Taylor Bell), at 978-318-8952 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: taylor.m.bell@usace.army.mil.


Tim Dugan

Release no. 17-083