CONCORD, Mass. –Cos Cob Kelp and Shell, of 16 Winnipauk Drive in Norwalk, Connecticut, 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 cultivation of kelp in Long Island Sound, off the coast of Connecticut.
This work is proposed in waters of Long Island Sound, in an area northeast of Payea Reach, approximately 1,400 feet southeast of Wee Captain Island, approximately 1,700 feet southeast of Hen and Chickens, and approximately 1,700 feet southwest of Green Gong “1”. The project is proposed to be undertaken at a Department of Agriculture 5.02-acre, state-issued lease identified as 2016-SW#19/L-678.
The proposed work involves the installation of lines, buoys, anchors and aids to navigation for the commercial cultivation of a winter crop of native sugar kelp. Gear installation will occur within an area between 2.3 acres and 4.1 acres, encompassed by state regulation aids to navigation on or after Nov.1 of each year and the crop harvest and lines will be removed by June 1 of each calendar year. The gear to be deployed will be set in a 500-foot-long by 200-foot-wide configuration.
The regulated activities involve the installation of 10, 500-foot-long lines. Each longline will be anchored at each end and in the middle with a total of three mushroom anchors weighing 300 to 400 pounds each. The gear will be set in water depths of approximately 27 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) and 34 feet mean high water (MHW).
Each anchor line will be attached to a 24-inch white surface float with 8 feet of 3/8-inch sinking (vertical) chain. Between the pair of terminal anchors will be affixed a 500-foot-long horizontal seaweed growing line made from 3/4-inch sinking poly line, strung between 4 and 6 feet below the water’s surface. Along each of the 500-foot-long lines, there will be between 11 and 17, 12-inch black flotation buoys, to accommodate the weight of the growing seaweed throughout the growing season. There will be a minimum of 20 feet of space between each of the set longlines.
In total, the project will involve installation of 10 longlines, 30 anchors, 30 white 24-inch buoys and 170 black 12-inch flotation buoys within the identified gear area.
The purpose of the proposed structures is to grow seaweed (kelp) as a harvestable crop for human consumption and commercial distribution.
The project will impact approximately 2.3 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) that has been designated through the New England & Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. This habitat consists of subtidal bottom of gravel/gravel-sand in open water of Payea Reach. Temporary obstruction or modification of subtidal 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 work proposed by Cos Cob Kelp and Shell, can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
Public comments on Cos Cob Kelp and Shell’s proposed work (file # NAE-2019-00271) should be forwarded no later than Sept. 14, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Cori Rose), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Cori Rose at 978-318-8306 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.