2007-05-24 / News

State advises harbor panel on moorings

By Sam Bari

Government officials attended the May 16 meeting of the Harbor Management Commission to discuss the Harbor Management Plan and Harbor Ordinance.

Coastal Resource Management Council Marine Resources Specialist Kevin Cute and state Department of Environmental Management Principal Environmental Scientist Joseph Migliore were the representatives from the state.

Cute said that the town was "close" to being in compliance with CRMC regulations on both documents. However, the status of Park Dock, Heads Beach, and Cranston Cove still needed to be resolved because they are mooring fields that were established long before the new regulations were in place and are presently not authorized mooring areas by the CRMC.

Cute said that CRMC wanted to work together with the town towards compliance by retroactively approving these mooring fields. He explained the CRMC definition of a mooring area as a defined sector where five or more boats are moored. He went on to explain that the agency recognizes riparian moorings and said that everybody else must be in a defined and approved mooring area.

The fundamental choices for compliance are to reduce the size of the mooring fields to less than five riparian moorings, or to put them in compliance with CRMC and DEM regulations. This would require offering regular pumpout facilities for all three areas because Jamestown has an SA water rating in a no discharge zone.

Migliore said that if required services were offered, the rating would not change. This was significant because the loss of an SA rating would seriously alter the approved use of the areas.

A Class SA rating as defined by the RIDEM is as follows: These waters are designated for shellfish harvesting for direct human consumption, primary and secondary contact recreational activities, and fish and wildlife habitat. They shall be suitable for aquacultural uses, navigation and industrial cooling. These waters shall have good aesthetic value.

Cute mentioned that the town's Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) Hazard Mitigation Plan could influence their decision concerning compliance and that a copy of the plan should be submitted for CRMC, as well as DEM consideration.

Cute emphasized that he and Migliore were there to educate, inform and answer questions and not to dictate rules and regulations. He also said they were there to explore all avenues and methods to fulfill the town's needs and work together to achieve a reasonable solution for all concerned.

In other business, the commissioners voted 4-2 to approve the appeal of a harbormaster decision by John Potter concerning a friend using his riparian mooring. The approval was given on the condition that the town solicitor agrees that overturning a harbormaster decision is within the jurisdiction of the commission. Commissioners Richard Anderson and Robert Bowen cast the dissenting votes.

The commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of a new kayak rack for the Maple Avenue right of way.

Sue Tuxbury, a restoration ecologist from Save the Bay, presented a formal request to the commissioners asking for permission to initiate a three-year project to raise scallops in Potter's Cove. The project would require approximately 600-square feet on the northwest corner of the cove in five to six-feet of water. The CRMC-approved project was conditional on approval by the island harbor commission, who voted unanimously to approve the scallop farm.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson reported that the West Ferry pumpout is now working and the East Ferry pumpout will be repaired and in working condition by Memorial Day. Paterson also said that they are relocating boats in the East Ferry mooring field that are too close together.

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