Harbormaster Says Harbor Plan Needs Update

            During the March 25 meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board, Harbormaster Jamie McIntosh explained the importance of a certifiable harbor management plan.

            McIntosh said that the plan posted on the town’s website, mattapoisett.net, while helpful to a degree at the time it was written in 2011, falls short of current needs. Not only does the plan not cover all topics necessitated by 2021 standards for such documents, but it lacks data on such matters as climate change and environmental resiliency, rendering the plan too outdated to be included in the upcoming rewrite of Mattapoisett’s Master Plan.

            McIntosh said that, while the Board of Selectmen was lukewarm to his idea of hiring consultants Urban Harbor Institute, Boston, to write a comprehensive and certifiable harbor management plan for Mattapoisett, he believes it would give the town the data and credibility needed when trying to secure grants.

            When asked what sort of data he was referring to, McIntosh cited sea-level rise, aquaculture, and grant funding, which oftentimes is requested upon the submission of a state-certified harbor management plan. It is no small task to complete the study behind such a document, McIntosh pointed out, saying it takes up to a year and a half to complete. He also indicated that grant funding to pay for the plan is possible.

            Marine Advisory Board Chairman Carlos DeSousa said he would review Dartmouth’s harbor management plan, which McIntosh indicated is a good one, as well as the type of data Urban Harbor Institute would include.

            In other matters, McIntosh reported that the long awaited dredging project would have to wait still longer as the window of opportunity closed with the advancement of spring. He said that he had recently met with Field Engineering and that permit requests were headed back to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and then further on to the Department of Marine Fisheries, making it impossible to get the job done before the boating season is in full swing.

            McIntosh said that, although the cumbersome process extends the inconvenience for those boaters whose dinghies become inaccessible at low tides, it also brings an opportunity to apply for grant money from the state Department of Environmental Protection to help defray costs to the town. He hopes to be successful in securing $15,000 with an equal match from the town. “We’ll have to tackle the dredging in the fall,” he concluded.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, at 7:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board

By Marilou Newell

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