Army Corps addresses questions, concerns from local fishermen on dredging proposal

Army Corps addresses questions, concerns from local fishermen on dredging proposal By Dan West | RJ   |Feb 25, 2014

Harlan McLaughlin of Searsport speaking at the Feb. 24 Army Corps meeting in Bangor.

More than 30 speakers addressed representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers about its planned improvement dredging of Searsport Harbor, many expressing concern for the lobster fishery. The Army Corps held a public meeting in Bangor Feb. 24 to present the work it has done on a feasibility study that proposes expanding the channel into Searsport Harbor and deepen it from 35- to 40-feet at low tide. Several attendees commented that the meeting would have been more convenient for interested parties had it been held in Searsport, where the dredging is proposed, rather than Bangor.

The meeting was required by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection before the Army Corps can file an application for a Water Quality Certification for the dredging project. Two members of the team that worked on the feasibility study have presentations to the more than 150 members of the public who attended the meeting detailing the scope of the project and the findings of the study. Steven Wolf, the program manager for the Corps New England District dredged material disposal monitoring system, gave an overview of how dredging technology has improved to better dump material at sea. Wolf said the material tested in Searsport was clean and suitable for ocean dispersal. Three sites have been looked at as possible disposal sites — Belfast, Rockland and Islesboro. The Islesboro site, called the Penobscot Bay site, has been identified as the best option. The Rockland site is too far

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