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Seed planted for ARC conservation project  

The restriction also prohibits construction of a wind turbine anywhere on the property. ARC had proposed construction of a turbine a few years ago to defray electricity costs, but the project has been stalled by legal appeals from abutters.

Credit:  www.capecodtimes.com ~~

DENNIS – A $6 million plan to conserve 30 acres at the mouth of Chase Garden Creek and allow for the continued use of another 10 acres for shellfish seed production is in the works for property currently owned by Aquacultural Research Corp., known as ARC.

Proponents of the land deal hope to close it by the end of the year and overhaul the aquaculture facilities by the spring of 2016.

Jump-starting the conservation effort is $1.6 million in state money committed by former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration shortly before his recent departure from office.

State Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, who has been involved in securing that funding, said the state included $100,000 for the conservation restriction in this year’s budget and $1.1 million as part of a bond bill. The contract with the state already has been signed by Dennis officials.

“It’s a firm commitment and a great deal for both the environment and the economy,” Wolf said.

Seth Rolbein, Wolf’s senior adviser, said the total price paid to ARC to secure the conservation restriction on the land is $3 million, which would preserve the 30 acres and restrict use of the final 10 acres to aquaculture, education and research. Once the deal is closed, ARC will turn over the 30 acres to the town of Dennis.

Mark Robinson, executive director of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trust, called it “a very important land conservation project.”

“It will preserve the Chapin barrier beach system by adding 30 acres of dunes, beach and marsh,” Robinson said.

The remaining 10 acres would be held by ARC, run by a new board of directors and owned by a handful of private investors.

The restriction also prohibits construction of a wind turbine anywhere on the property. ARC had proposed construction of a turbine a few years ago to defray electricity costs, but the project has been stalled by legal appeals from abutters.

A number of other sources are being tapped for the remaining money needed for the conservation restriction. Dennis Conservation Trust has committed to raising $400,000, and another $400,000 will come from Dennis community preservation funds if town meeting approves it this spring, Rolbein said.

Yarmouth’s community preservation committee has received a proposal to chip in $200,000 in funding. While it hasn’t made its recommendation yet, the committee made sure there is a placeholder for such a request on the spring annual town meeting warrant, said Jack Mulkeen, chairman of Yarmouth’s open space committee and a member of the community preservation committee.

The land lies directly across from Gray’s Beach, one of Yarmouth’s major recreation areas.

If Yarmouth signs on, it will have direct input into how the land is maintained, renovated and used, as co-holder of the conservation restriction.

Meanwhile, Barnstable County is considering a request for $250,000.

“We’re hopeful they will be supportive,” Rolbein said. “The Nature Conservancy has already committed close to $90,000 and they’re hoping to contribute more. If all these folks come through, the hope is the existing facility can continue limping along through this spring as they have been doing, and in September, permits will be granted for a new facility and the old one will be demolished.”

ARC has been providing the region’s commercial and recreational growers with shellfish seeds since the early 1960s. The facility, however, has fallen into disrepair, leaving the owners with the choice of paying for a major overhaul or closing the business.

The new shellfish hatchery, which will cost $3 million and be paid for by private investors who will then reap the profits of the oyster seed business, would open in March 2016.

The three current ARC owners – Susan Machie, Richard Kraus and Gail Hart  – will retain a small percentage of the company and serve as advisers.

Dennis Town Administrator Richard White pointed out there are several pieces that must fall into place for the effort to be successful.

“There are a number of players involved and interested but not yet committed with funds other than the state,” White said. “It’s all very fluid, but also very promising.”

Dennis Selectman Wayne Bergeron called it a “win-win.”

“ARC will literally be rebuilt and provide desperately needed seed for towns and aquaculturalists, which is a growing industry on the Cape,” he said. “There are still things that have to be done, but this is too good a project for us not to find a way to make it happen.”

Source:  www.capecodtimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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