CONCORD, Mass. – Applicant Domenic Santoro 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 establishing a submerged aquaculture longline area in Nantucket Sound in Nantucket, Mass.
The proposed work is to build structures in navigable waters of the U.S. to establish a 30-acre submerged aquaculture longline area in federal waters on the outer continental shelf near Horseshoe Shoals in Nantucket Sound. Each longline will be anchored to the bottom with helical anchors or concrete block anchors. The anchor lines and horizontal head ropes will consist of 1-inch polysteel rope.
Each corner (the junction of anchor line and head rope) will be suspended by submerged buoys with a buoyancy of 500 to 1000 pounds at a submerged depth of 6 to 8 meters below the surface. The 120-meter head ropes will be strung between the 2 corner buoys. This configuration produces a ridged tensioned structure from which up to 100 mussel socks or spat collecting lines may be deployed. All surface buoys will be uniformly colored and marked with the operators name and phone number. Highflyer buoys will mark the array for navigational safety.
The mussels will be grown in Canadian cotton bisected socking material and on New Zealand ropes with cotton socking. Other types of socking materials may be tested at the site to determine their effectiveness. As mussels grow, additional submerged buoys will be added to the head ropes. The lines will be monitored bi-weekly and buoys will be added to the head rope periodically to maintain the depth as the mussels grow heavier.
The longlines initially will be used for a mussel farming research and demonstration project. Other types of shellfish such as oysters and bay scallops, as well as seaweed, also may be grown experimentally. If the initial project is successful, a build-out of up to 25 longlines will be considered.
The proposed site is 30 acres in area. Average depth of the site is 60 feet with a range of 50 to 65 feet. The substrate is a relatively featureless sandy bottom with sand waves.
The proposed project will impact 30 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 by applicant Domenic Santoro with the Corps of Engineers 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-2013-1584) should be forwarded no later than Oct. 3, 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 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.