Shellfish farm would impact boat traffic

The proposed shellfish farm in the Niantic River is not in the public interest. The Waterford/East Lyme Shellfish Commission (WELSCO) has quietly approved a 6.5-acre lease on the southeast end of the Niantic River without fully considering the negative impacts to the public. The U.S. Corps of Engineers has provided only 30 days for public comment.

If approved, the operator will install over 6,500 racks/trays, reducing the already shallow water by as much as 2.5 feet. As the tide rises and falls, over 4,200 of these trays will protrude above water for over 13 hours a day. I believe WELSCO should have considered the adverse effects on boating safety when small boat, paddle board, kayak, and jet ski traffic are forced into the already busy channel or, even worse, into the mooring field adjacent to the proposed site.

This is not to mention the significant portion of the south end of the river that will be eliminated from public access. This space is located adjacent to the public boat ramp at Mago Point, an often-used spot for recreational boaters. And finally, because of the protruding trays, it will significantly and forever impair the beautiful views of our river. I urge those with the authority to stop the implementation of this lease!

Robin Lineberger

Waterford

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