Sugar

10-acre sugar kelp farm is being proposed in Dutch Harbor

Aquaculturists from Walrus and Carpenter Oysters maintain their farm of sugar kelp south of the Verrazzano Bridge. A similar operation is proposed for Dutch Harbor south of the span.

Aquaculturists from Walrus and Carpenter Oysters maintain their farm of sugar kelp south of the Verrazzano Bridge. A similar operation is proposed for Dutch Harbor south of the span.

Jamestown residents concerned about a proposed 10-acre aquafarm between Conanicut and Dutch islands should submit their objections to the state agency in charge of coastal development.

The application by Wickford Seafood Co. was submitted Jan. 2 to the Coastal Resources Management Council. The owner, Spencer Bode, is asking for permission to construct and maintain an aquafarm in Dutch Harbor to cultivate sugar kelp.

Proposed equipment will comprise two independent anchor systems running parallel, set 225 feet apart, spread across 1,700 feet of water. Each parallel system will comprise seven polyball floats, 225 feet apart, marking the locations of the moorings.

There also will be two buoys within each 225-section to support the kelp line. There will be endpoint anchors at the four corners of the lease marked by 6-foot-tall reflective radar poles.

According to the application, the company will deploy its equipment in November. The harvest is in April and all equipment will be removed by May 1. This schedule minimizes interference from boating traffic in the bay, which is busier in the summer.

Between November and May, workers will visit the site every two weeks for routine checkups and maintenance. This work can be conducted from a small vessel to minimize the visual impact of the operation, the applicant said. No power washing or processing will take place on the farm. Work will be restricted to after 11 a.m.

The applicant said the production of sea vegetables “represents an exciting opportunity for Rhode Island at the nexus of environmental and economic stewardship.” Sugar kelp is a native plant that “removes excess carbon from the water as it grows.”

The deadline to object to the project is Feb. 2. The public can object to applications if there is “good reason to enter protests against the proposed work.” Objectors are expected to thoroughly review the application and visit the site of the proposed work to familiarize themselves with the conditions. In the objections, they should cite what laws, if any, would be violated.

Written protests should be mailed to the Coastal Resources Management Council, Oliver H. Stedman Government Center, 4808 Tower Hill Road, Room 116, Wakefield, RI 02879. They also can be e-mailed to cstaff1@crmc. ri.gov. Objectors are required to attend the scheduled hearing and give sworn testimony.


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