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Coalition for Little Assawoman Bay

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Cultivating Controversy

Bonner would make no prediction about when the Corps will make a decision. Similarly [David] Saveikis isn't making any guesses as to what that decision will be. The Corps could approve the plan with all eight development areas as designed; it could approve just some development areas, or even just some parts of the development areas; or it could reject the whole thing.

Army Corps opens comment period for aquaculture

“Public rights should not be so easily given away for private, commercial uses such as shellfish farms,” said Diane Maddex, president of Water's Edge Condominium Association and founding member of the Coalition for Little Assawoman Bay, which represents 240 property and business owners.... Maddex said the shallow water and poor water quality in Little Assawoman Bay provide inhospitable conditions for growing healthy,
edible shellfish. Opponents have repeatedly said the pipes expected to demarcate leased areas will destroy the vistas that bring tourists to the area. “There are good reasons why clams and oysters haven't grown naturally here in many decades,” Maddex said. “Equally important, placing commercial shellfish farms in the middle of a bay that is now devoted to recreation will destroy this tourism magnet and economic contributor to the state's economy.”

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Coaltions prepared to fight aquaculture regulations

Currently, the aquaculture issue is in the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers, who need to give its permission before the industry can start. The Corps is waiting until after the holidays to open a public comment period, a spokesman said.

The ... Coalition for Little Assawoman, has also been active, according to Diane Maddex. The group has launched a website, where it lists concerns about recreational use, the hours leases will be worked, the shallowness of the bay and oyster diseases.



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Berlin, Maryland, requires that aquaculture be a special exception

The Worcester County commissioners voted 4–3 to change aquaculture from a permitted use to one requiring a special exception in areas with estate zoning after a lengthy discussion centering on the South Point community....

Resident Ellen Zajac said members of the community didn't want large commercial aquaculture operations set up there and would have the opportunity to object if they were only allowed by special exception. "We feel it's appropriate and provides property owners with a venue to voice their concerns," she said....

Commissioner Jim Purnell ... said he doubted anyone would want to live next door to the aquaculture operation and introduced the motion to pass the legislaton. Charlene Sharpe, Maryland Coast Press

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Residents voice feelings on aquaculture

A major public concern was the seeming lack of notification about the final regulations on aquaculture in the Inland Bays. For instance, residents said they wished DNREC had contacted homeowners’ associations directly.

“Did everybody get notified that this was happening? No. ... So we’ll apologize for that. We do what we can. It’s never enough, quite frankly. We tried to publicize very widely,” Small said. “We’re here to listen to your concerns this evening.”

“We’re here to listen, even though we’ve listened in the past,” clarified David Saveikis, F&W director.

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Fenwick property owners protest shellfish aquaculture

The first shellfish aquaculture leases in the Inland Bays may be ready for purchase next year, but some Fenwick Island residents say it's the first they're hearing about the program.

Coastal Kayak owner Jenifer Adams-Mitchell said the new regulations allowing shellfish aquaculture in Little Assawoman Bay may raise safety concerns for some of her customers.

“For paddleboarders, if you happen to be near one of these oyster beds and you fall on it, it would be bad news,” she said. “There's a cleared spot right in front of us, but people don't stay right in front of our place; that's the beauty of what we do.”



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Oysters in our backyard? Not so fast

Diane Maddex worries that her peaceful existence along the shallow and still waters of Little Assawoman Bay will soon be ruined by new rules that allow commercial oyster farming on the waterway.

She and other residents want state environmental chief David Small to change the agency's newly adopted sellfsh aquacultue regulations, saying the rules "will transform the character of Little Assawoman Bay and Beach Cove from one of tranquility to that of an industrial fishing operation."

They fear the oyster operations will interfere with navigation to and from their bayside homes, disrupt their quiet lives with noise, odor and activity as shellfish farmers tend their "crops" and create visual clutter from the white, PVC poss that will mark corners of shellfish plots.

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COALITION FOR LITTLE ASSAWOMAN BAY, FENWICK ISLAND, DE 19944   703-606-1344   302-249-5879

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