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Applicant seeks Corps of Engineers permit to place structures to harvest oysters in Nantucket Harbor

Published Jan. 15, 2013
CONCORD, Mass. – Permit applicant Charles Connors is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with placing structures to harvest oysters in Nantucket Harbor in Nantucket, Mass.

The proposed project in the Head of the Harbor in Nantucket includes structures and work below the mean high water line of waters of the U.S. to perform culturing and harvesting of bivalve molluscs (oysters) in the subtidal habitat of a 4-acre area. The culturing will be performed via wire mesh cages containing oyster bags under plastic floats. The area of the floating structures may cover the entire 4-acre area; however, it is planned to phase in coverage of the area over time.

The propagation of oysters will be done using the OYSTER- GRO system using 3-foot by 6-foot by 9-inch cages floated with 9-inch by 12-inch by 60-inch plastic floats. The cages and floats will be anchored to the bottom with moorings and connected in strings of various lengths.

Maintenance of the cages and bags will be necessary to keep them free of biofouling by either flipping the cages to allow air drying or by pressure washing or hand scrubbing with brushes. Over the wintertime, the cages will be submerged in the water column to avoid winter ice and storms. In the spring, the cages will be re-floated. The grant area will be appropriately marked with floating mooring balls. Access to the site will be by boat.

This proposed project will impact 4-acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of subtidal open water. 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 United States. The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.

Public comments on this proposed work (file # NAE-2012-2066) should be forwarded no later than Feb. 14, 2013 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Kevin Kotelly), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Kevin Kotelly at 978-318-8703 or toll free at 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: kevin.r.kotelly@usace.army.mil.

Contact
Tim Dugan
978-318-8264
cenae-pa@usace.army.mil

Release no. 2013-003