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Tessa Getchis Connecticut Sea Grant University of Connecticut Groton, Connecticut 06340-6048 Do All Roads Really Lead to Rome?

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Presentation on theme: "Tessa Getchis Connecticut Sea Grant University of Connecticut Groton, Connecticut 06340-6048 Do All Roads Really Lead to Rome?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tessa Getchis Connecticut Sea Grant University of Connecticut Groton, Connecticut Do All Roads Really Lead to Rome? Constructing a Roadmap for Aquaculture Permitting in Connecticut

2 61,000 acres are under cultivation for shellfish in Long Island Sound $13 million dollar oyster and hard clam industry Small freshwater finfish (trout) culture industry (10 farms; approximately 5% of revenues for aquaculture) Generates 40% of the total value of all fishery products landed in the state 600 jobs (40 companies) provided directly by the industry (shellfish shippers, harvesters, and shellfish/finfish hatcheries) Sources: W.A. Cowan, 2001; CT DA/BA, 2002 Aquaculture in Connecticut- Brief Overview of the Industry

3 Aquaculture in Connecticut– The HOT issue – Marine Aquaculture Permitting There has been a transition (1990s) from traditional bottom culture practices to use of floating and submerged grow-out structures New legislation (1999) created a complex permitting system with multi-agency responsibilities for aquaculture practices In-water structures (cages, longlines, racks, bags, etc.) present a unique permitting challenge to the regulatory agencies

4 Competing User Groups Cultured shellfish are one of CT’s most economically viable natural resources within the state; however, there are many competing uses (users) of the waters of Long Island Sound in which these shellfish are grown: Recreational and Charter Boating Commercial Fishing and Lobstering Swimmers Recreational Shellfish Harvesters Ferry routes Freighters

5 Navigation Hazards Floating or submerged aquaculture structures may interfere with activity within major navigational channels. Areas of significant conflict are at the mouths of major rivers, narrow waterways, and adjacent to coastal islands. Structures may cause: Interference with shipping Clogging of boater traffic Boater safety Obstruction of navigational channels

6 Environmental Impacts Aquaculture structures may have a significant impact on the environment within which they are placed. Although there are beneficial environmental impacts of shellfish culture (i.e. providing structure for habitat, enhancing water clarity and quality, etc.), negative impacts must be considered when siting projects, such as: Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs) Essential fish habitat Bird nesting areas Shading

7 Roadblocks in Permitting The entire permitting process usually requires 60 days, but in reality, some applications have only been permitted after several months or years Public perception of aquaculture projects weighs heavily in permitting process Applications may require additional review if there is potential for significant environmental impacts or navigational hazards Permits may be issued with several conditions (e.g. water quality assessment, eelgrass survey) or may require additional permits (regulatory markers, structure permit) and fees Any changes to application require new application Permits issued as of 2002 are short-term (2 years)

8 What’s Causing Roadblocks? Because of the number of conflicting uses and hazards within Long Island Sound, aquaculture structures are regulated strictly Because the lead agency for aquaculture (DA/BA) is not the lead agency for coastal zone management (DEP), aquaculture structures must be approved by both state agencies Because aquaculture structures are not necessarily present on a lease (e.g. land- based upwellers, cages under docks), the structure may require additional permits (and accounting for) from a number of agencies Because there is a state-town jurisdiction line through LIS, municipalities may require additional leases and permits.

9 USACE issues Cat II PGP Is the project exempt from DEP permits? NoYes USACE issues Cat II PGP w/conditions Letter to Applicant: Structure Regulated by DEP Copy sent to local Shellfish Comm. CT DOA CT DEP Fisheries CT DEP Boating US ACOE CT DEP OLISP (1) Substantial Concerns (2) No Concerns (3) Minimal Concerns (1) (3) (2) Cat. II DEP sign-off USACE Individual Pmt Process DEP Conducts Federal CZMP Consistency Review Monthly Federal Joint Permit Processing Screening Meeting US EPA NMFS US FWS Applicant Submits Joint Application Applicant Must Obtain DEP-OLISP Permit USACE Issues IP USACE Denies IP State Concurs State Objects

10 USACE issues Cat II PGP USACE issues Cat II PGP w/conditions USACE Issues IP USACE Denies IP Applicant Must Obtain DEP-OLISP Permit This is all that the regulatory agencies expect the regulated community to know. Applicant Submits Joint Application

11 Permit Streamlining SGEP brought regulators together together to develop standard procedures for multi-agency permitting of aquaculture and to form a permitting workgroup Stakeholder Communication SGEP initiated a workshops series that brought in partners from USACE,DEP, DA/BA, and local shellfish and harbor management commissions to discuss local and state permitting concerns. SGEP and permitting workshop offered several workshops for growers (e.g. completing the application, eelgrass surveys, conditions surrounding gear types) What role does Sea Grant Extension Play?

12 Development of standard procedures for multi-agency permitting aquaculture operations; Development of a publicly available “roadmap” explaining the standard procedures for permitting; Web-enabling the “roadmap”; Getting more people involved and educated; and, Assisting State in developing a strategic plan for aquaculture in CT Goals of Permitting Workgroup

13 Do All Roads Lead to Rome? (Or does the permitting roadmap really get you to a permit ???) The permitting workgroup has a significant task ahead of them to make permitting more efficient for growers Rome Rome Rome rome Rome Rome

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