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Three applicants seek Corps permit to construct kelp aquaculture farm in three locations off Chatham coast

Published May 1, 2018

CONCORD, Mass. – Carl Douglas, Jamie Bassett and Richard Curtiss of 720 Main Street in Chatham, Mass., are 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 constructing and maintaining a kelp aquaculture farm in three locations off the coast of Chatham, Mass. This work is proposed in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Harding's Beach in Chatham. 


The proposed project involves work and structures below the mean high water line of waters of the U.S. in order to construct and maintain a kelp aquaculture farm in three different locations off the coast of Chatham. Site 1 is approximately 27 acres in size, site 2 is approximately 12.6 acres in size, and site 3 is approximately 23 acres in size.


Initial construction will consist of a maximum of 15 lines placed across the three sites. The complete build will consist of 350 lines across all three sites. The kelp lines will consist of two moorings with a 200-foot line between the moorings containing a seeded kelp line. Gear visible above the water is anticipated to consist of two 30-inch mooring buoys and two 12-inch buoys per line. All other gear will be located below the water line. Kelp lines are proposed to be placed at the sites in October and removed by April.


The proposed project will impact 62 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). This habitat consists of medium to fine grain sand with no submerged aquatic vegetation. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. 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 proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.


Public comments on the proposed work (file # NAE-2017-02116) should be forwarded no later than June 1, 2018 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Christine Jacek), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Christine Jacek at 978-318-8026 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: christine.m.jacek@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 18-041