The proposed locations of the Bar Harbor Oyster Co. oyster tracts marked in red. ISLANDER FILE IMAGE

Army Corps to hear oyster farm concerns

TRENTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hear concerns about the proposed oyster farm in Thomas Bay at a public meeting on Monday, Oct. 17.

Joanna Walls and Jesse Fogg, operating as Bar Harbor Oyster Co., cleared one hurdle last month when the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) granted the operation a 10-year aquaculture lease to raise American and European oysters.

The lease site contains an eight-acre and a 16.5-acre parcel located between Israel Point and the western shore and Thomas Island, east of the Trenton Bridge.

Before they can begin operations, though, the Bar Harbor Oyster Co. must also receive a permit from the Corps, which manages public waterways.

In July, Trenton Board of Selectmen Chairman Fred Ehrlenbach wrote to the Corps requesting a public hearing on the oyster farm’s application.

In addition to public input, the Corps also will consult with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) due to the site’s proximity to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.

The FAA recommends a five-mile distance between the end of a runway and a “hazardous wildlife attractant.”

Opponents of the oyster farm say that it will attract seabirds and cause hazardous conditions for planes at takeoff and landing.

About 18 members of the Thundermist Road subdivision under the name Friends of Thomas Bay have said the location of the oyster farm will impede recreation in those waters and create noise and light pollution.

In its decision to grant a lease to Bar Harbor Oyster Co., the DMR said that the group’s concerns were minimal.

“The DMR found that the lease would not unduly interfere with either recreational uses in the area or riparian access to the navigational channel,” DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols said last month.

The public Corps meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at the Trenton town office. The public is invited to voice concerns or to submit written comments prior to the meeting.

Address written comments to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: Shawn Mahaney, Maine Project Office, 65 Western Ave. #3, Manchester, ME 04351.

Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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