MOU scant on details
R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha’s Motion to Intervene in the Champlin’s case, now before the R.I. Supreme Court, is 38 pages long, but full of detail as to the history of the case in all its particularities, and the procedures the CRMC is expected to adhere to in evaluating a marina expansion.
One of the many things that sticks out in a table outlining the contradictions between the Memo of understanding arrived at in December between the CRMC and Champlin’s and the May 2011 court decisions is: “The MOU inexplicably contains no information on wildlife impacts in the proposed plan.” The 2011 decision denying the expansion states: “The study by the applicant…was conducted only in the vicinity of the existing docks, not in the area of the proposed expansion despite evidence that there were shellfish in that area.”
Wildlife in the area has been of great interest to the New Shoreham Shellfish Commission. Members have recently been undertaking the design of a shellfish survey of their own. They are especially interested in the soft-shell clam population. That has dwindled over the years to the point that the Great Salt Pond has been closed to the taking of the delectable soft-shells for years.
The Shellfish Commission knows the clams are out there, but they’re not sure where, or how many there may be. Efforts to reseed the Pond with baby soft-shell clams have been deemed largely unsuccessful.
The soft-shell clam pictured above was found lying on the shore of Bonnell Beach, just to the west of Champlin’s Marina, in mid-January.