Header Images


Site Title


Public Affairs Menu


News Release Manager

Five applicants seek Corps permits to culture, harvest oysters in U.S. waters in Nantucket aquaculture zone

Published Oct. 28, 2014

CONCORD, Mass. – Five applicants are seeking permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with culturing and harvesting oysters in the Nantucket aquaculture zone in Nantucket, Mass.

The work is proposed in the Town of Nantucket’s aquaculture zone located at the Head of the Harbor in Nantucket. The Corps previously issued permits for 4 acres of floating aquaculture to all five individuals over the last 3 years within the Town of Nantucket’s 30-acre aquaculture zone. The Town is now expanding the aquaculture zone from 30 acres to 60 acres and these individuals would be granted an additional 4 acres for a total of 8 acres apiece. Each individual would be issued a new Corps permit.


The previously issued permits are NAE-2011-1324 Theodore Lambrecht, 4 acres, issued Oct. 25, 2011; NAE-2011-1344 Andy Roberts, 4 acres, issued June 18, 2012; NAE-2012-2066 Charles Connors, 4 acres, issued April 2, 2013; NAE-2013-201 Matthew Herr, 4 acres, issued May 10, 2013; and NAE-2013-754 Gordon Fraser, 4 acres, issued Aug. 7, 2013.  The proposed subdivision of the 60-acre zone is depicted on the public notice available for review on the Corps website. The proposed permits would also allow the Town to reconfigure the location of the grant holders within the 60-acre aquaculture zone if the Town needs to do so in the future.


The aquaculture projects include 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 subtidal, open water habitat. The culturing would be performed via wire mesh cages containing oyster bags under plastic floats. The area of the floating structures may cover the entire area; however, it is planned to phase in coverage of the area over time.


The propagation of oysters would 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 areas would be appropriately marked with floating mooring balls. Access to the site will be by boat.


The project will impact 60 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 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. The applications for the federal permits were 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.


Public comments on this proposed work (files # NAE-2011-1324; NAE-2011-1344; NAE-2012-2066; NAE-2013-201; and NAE-2013-754) should be forwarded no later than Nov. 26, 2014 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: kevin.r.kotelly@usace.army.mil.


Tim Dugan

Release no. 2014-135