CONCORD, Mass. – Nordic Aquafarms, Inc., of Portland, Maine, 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 the development of a facility to raise Atlantic salmon in Belfast, Maine. This work is proposed in freshwater wetlands, unnamed intermittent streams, and the intertidal and subtidal zones of Belfast/Penobscot Bay at 282 & 285 Northport Avenue (U.S. Rt. 1) in Belfast.
The proposed work involves the development of a private, commercial land-based facility utilizing a recirculating aquaculture system in order to rear Atlantic salmon for commercial seafood sales. The landward facility sited on 54 acres will require the construction of buildings to house administrative and operational functions, production modules, processing wastewater treatment, facility infrastructure (water, power, sewer), access drives and parking. The waterward portion of the facility will require the installation of 2 water intake pipes and 1 water discharge pipe which will be buried in the intertidal zone and anchored with concrete collars in the subtidal zone of the bay.
The natural resource impacts associated with this planned development is: 1) temporary fill impacts of 3,960 square feet and permanent fill impacts of 192,070 square feet to freshwater wetlands; 2) temporary fill impacts of 628 square feet and permanent fill impacts of 6,876 square feet to unnamed intermittent streams; 3) temporary fill impacts of 2,295 square feet to shoreline coastal saltmarsh, 486 square feet to intertidal cobble beach, and 78,300 square feet to intertidal mudflat (for water pipe installation); and 4) temporary fill impacts of 222,006 square feet to subtidal substrate and permanent fill (precast concrete collars) impacts of 4,303 square feet to subtidal substrate.
The project applicant is obligated to try to avoid and minimize impacts to Corps-regulated aquatic resources and compensating for those which are unavoidable. This project will be utilizing the Natural Resources Mitigation Fund by payment of an In-Lieu Fee. In addition, the project applicant proposes to improve natural stream conditions by the replacement of 2 badly constructed culverted stream crossings.
This project will have an adverse effect on a total of 14.62 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). This habitat consists of saltmarsh, cobble beach, mudflat and subtidal substrate. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. The Corps has made a preliminary determination that site-specific impacts may be substantial. Accordingly, the Corps will submit an expanded EFH assessment to the National Marine Fisheries Service, who in tum will provide conservation recommendations to the Corps. The Corps will coordinate with the applicant regarding implementation of these recommendations. The EFH consultation 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.; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Nordic Aquafarms, Inc., can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Nordic Aquafarms, Inc., (file # NAE-2019-01481) should be forwarded no later than March 5, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division, Maine Project Office (ATTN: Peter Tischbein), 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350, Augusta, Maine, 04330. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Peter Tischbein at 207-623-8367, ext. 3 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.