Letter to Mashpee Selectmen on proposed oyster farm adjacent to Popponesset Island
Recently the Mashpee Selectmen reviewed a proposal to establish an oyster farm on the bay side of Popponesset Island close to the bridge to Popponesset Island.
At the request of Save Popponesset Bay supporters, we offered our input. The next hearing on the matter, originally scheduled for this evening, Thursday, June 16, has been postponed for two weeks, to June 30, at Town Hall.
Here's what we sent to the Selectmen:
Town of Mashpee
June 14, 2011
Re: Oyster Farm off Popponesset Island
Dear Town Selectmen:
Save Popponesset Bay, Inc. (SPB), a 501 c 3 all-volunteer organization, has three significant priorities: 1) Stabilizing and protecting the Popponesset Spit, which is registered land and a designated barrier beach and endangered species habitat, 2) Maintaining the channels in and around Popponesset Bay to provide safe navigation and 3) Working toward improved water quality of the Bay.
We applaud the Town of Mashpee's annual maintenance of the outer channel between Popponesset Bay and Nantucket Sound and its most recent undertaking, the first dredging of the 1916 channel in over 70 years. SPB attempts to help with these initiatives as much as possible and is committed to collaborating with the Town where and whenever possible.
Recently, an oyster farm was proposed for the bay side of Popponesset Island. Most of SPB's supporters support aquaculture and recognize the benefits of oyster farming on water quality through the reduction of nitrogen. The location of this aqua-farming site is controversial, however. It is our understanding that The Waterways Commission endorsed the location as long as the abutter also approved and SPB respects that determination. At the very least it would seem that more definitive information regarding the oyster farm's size, visibility and operation is warranted and should be shared before any approval is granted by the Town.
If the proponents of the oyster farm are able to convince the abutter that there will be no ill effect to quality of life and property value, we will certainly support the project as well. We believe that the proponents should be prepared to better educate the abutters, or be prepared to reduce the scale, or relocate the operation elsewhere within Popponesset Bay if necessary.
Michael Oleksak, President
Save Popponesset Bay, Inc.