Breakwater is on ballot



SOUTHWEST HARBOR  — Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina wants to build a breakwater to better protect boats in the marina and to attract more business.

The centerpiece of the breakwater would be a bedrock outcrop near the entrance to the marina’s floating docks.

Because the outcrop belongs to the town, voters at town meeting in May will be asked to authorize the granting of an easement for construction of the breakwater. The project also requires approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Maine Department of Environment Protection and the town’s planning board.

Bud Brown, the marina’s environmental consultant, described the plans Tuesday night at a public hearing that the board of selectmen held on all upcoming town meeting warrant articles. (Click here for a photo illustration of the proposed breakwater, courtesy Eco Analysts, Inc.)

He said the breakwater, which would replace the wave attenuator in place now, would be built with large blocks of granite from Crotch Island in Stonington. He said the top of it would be about three feet above the water at typical high tide.

“It’s going to be a safe haven for a lot of people who could use the waterfront year-round,” Brown said. “It will make it useable, a place where people can store or use their boats who just don’t have that opportunity now.

“Anytime you get an easterly storm, particularly in the fall and winter, they have a lot of damage to the floats.”

Micah Peabody, marina manager, said it is a dangerous place in the winter.

“We don’t have a protected harbor by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “In a southeasterly wind, it’s a really ugly place to be. It’s really scary.

“Hopefully, this is going to alleviate some of my risk, because I’m down there at night by myself. Sometimes you’re on your hands and knees trying to crawl to a boat.”

Peabody said the entire town would benefit from construction of the breakwater.

Brown said Dysart’s has received letters of support for the project from a number of people who would use the marina if it were better protected.

“There are whale watch boats and large commercial fishing boats that would use it,” he said.

He said the breakwater also would be a boon to lobstering.

“There are going to be a lot of lobster traps around that thing,” he said. “We’re going to enhance the habitat.”

Brown said that if voters at town meeting authorize the easement for the breakwater, he plans to submit permit applications to the state and federal agencies in late May or early June.

“We would be looking at starting construction in early October, and would need to get it done before ice-up, in mid-December,” he said.

Brown is president of Eco-Analysts Inc. in Bath.

Following the public hearing, he told the Islander he is confident the Army Corps and Maine DEP will approve the project.

“We’ve been having meetings with [those agencies] since last summer, and they agree with what we’re going to do,” he said. “This is a good project.”

 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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