Board of Directors Meeting June 19, 2003




June 19, 2003

Norwalk Maritime Aquarium

Norwalk, Connecticut


President Severance called the meeting to order at 5:30 P.M. following a tour of Norwalk Harbor.

Members present: Joel Severance, Mike Griffin, Bob Sammis, Mary VonConta, Geoff Steadman, Lou Allyn, Ross Byrne, Guest  John Pinto -  Norwalk Harbor Commission.


A motion to dispense with reading of the minutes of the previous meeting was made, seconded and approved unanimously.


The Treasure’s report was approved unanimously with no discussion. The Treasurer made a recommendation to transfer the Commission’s checking account to Webster Bank. A motion supporting this action was made, seconded and approved unanimously


Mr. Steadman reported on plans for an Aquaculture seminar. The topic would be the relationship between shellfish commission and harbormasters. The proposed agenda is:

  1. Introduction – Joel

  2. Background information – Goeff

  3. State and Federal perspective

DEP Bureau of Aquaculture – Lori Romek

            DEP – Peter Francis

            Corps of Engineers – Cori Rose

  1. Local Issues

            Chairman Fairfield Shellfish Commission

            Mystic Harbor Commission – Lou Allyn


     5. Sum up – questions and issues CHMA needs to address


Location: Combine with the Annual Dinner in Branford Thursday 10/9, 10/16 or 10/23.

Mr. Sammis to arrange a caterer.


President Severance proposed an agenda for the 2003 Seminar regarding harbor security and the International Port and Security Act.

1.           Opening Remarks and Introduction – Joel Severance

2.          The Law – Why we are here - Ken Pernerewski, AAG St. of Connecticut

                                                   - Gregory Sanders, VIOSOL Enterprises, Inc.

3.          Seaport & Maritime Security risk Assessment – Caroline Hamilton, President, Risk Watch

4.          Disaster Response, who’s coming and in charge – Joel Severance

5.          Q & A – Panel


The meeting will be in late July – early August. Joel will continue with planning and scheduling.


Mr. Al Grunow is resigning as Executive Secretary. The mailing lists on his computer will be transferred to Dave Dunavan’s PC.  Someone is now needed to write the newsletter. There was a discussion as to who might be considered.


[The following minutes begin at 7:00 p.m.]


Mr. Griffin deferred his report to the later agenda item concerning Raised Bill 863 under New Business.



Mr. Steadman said the Associate’s principal activities since the last Board meeting were being conducted through work on the CI-IMA Dredging Study and assistance to the Harbor Master Focus Group to address issues associated with Raised Bill 863. He said an effort will be made to increase Associate memberships through publicity for the Annual Meeting, especially since the CHMA will be including a new group at this year’s meeting—persons interested in shellfish management.



VII.         AA. Under Sound Utilities:

Mr. Severance noted the Board’s continuing interest in the issues concerning the planning and placement of seabed utility lines (electric and gas) in Long Island Sound. He mentioned the letter previously sent by the Board to Commissioner of Environmental Protection Rocque with copies to Attorney General Blumenthal and others, and the subsequent meeting (last year) with Board members and the DEP to discuss the issues. Attorney General Blumenthal wrote to thank the Board for its interest and comments. The Board will continue to follow these important issues, including the unresolved issues concerning the electric cable in New Haven Harbor.


B.   Dredging

Mr. Steadman reported on the status of the CUMA Dredging Study undertaken by Mr. Steadman and Mr. Roberge including the key recommendations for State and Federal action to improve the Federal maintenance dredging procesS. Mr. Steadman and Mr. Roberge will give a paper on the CHMA Dredging Study during the National Coastal Zone Management Conference to be held in Baltimore during the week of July 14.

Mr. Steadman reported there has been no meeting of the Dredge Task Force of the Connecticut Maritime Coalition (CMC) over the past two months, The Task Force is still trying, with principal assistance from Congressman Rob Simmons’s office, to present testimony concerning dredging issues to the Long Island Sound Congressional Caucus this year. Such a meeting has yet to be scheduled. Mr. Steadman said the Board wrote to Connecticut’s Congressional delegation in February of this year to present our recommendations for Federal actions to improve the dredging process and to make known our interest in discussing those recommendations during an upcoming meeting of the Long Island Sound Congressional Caucus as requested by the CMC. We have not yet received replies to our letters.

Mr. Steadman reported that the Board wrote to Attorney General Blumenthal in March of this year to provide information on the Long Island Sound dredging issues and to suggest State actions to improve the process. An assistant to the Attorney General subsequently called Mr. Samis to discuss the matter in more detail. 

Mr. Steadman reported that the Board wrote to Commissioner of Environmental Protection Rocque in February to request that he assign a representative of the Office of Long Island Sound Programs to actively participate in the study being managed by the Corps of Engineers to prepare a dredged material management plan for Bridgeport Harbor. Commissioner Rocque subsequently did so.

Mr. John Pinto, Chairman of the Norwalk Harbor Management Commission, reviewed the status of planning for the maintenance dredging of Norwalk Harbor and described the delays that have been encountered.



A.  Raised Bill 863 

Harbor Master Griffin reported on the extent and status of the Board’s significant efforts regarding Raised Bill 863 ‘An Act Concerning Boating Safety.” The stated purpose of Raised Bill No. 863 is to strengthen the State’s existing Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws. The Board, however, has been very concerned about the potential effect of the bill on the State’s harbor master program. 

Mr. Griffin reported that the legislation as originally proposed included revisions to Sec. 15-154 of the General Statutes and the Board found some of those revisions to be objectionable. That section has long authorized all harbor masters and deputy harbor masters to enforce provisions of the State’s safe boating laws. Those laws extend well beyond the BUI laws and include many provisions historically and currently enforced by State harbor masters and deputy harbor masters. Mr. Griffin and members of the Board met with representatives of the DEP and DOT and Assistant Attorney General Pernerewski in New London in March to discuss the proposed legislation.

Mr. Griffin and Board members also met with and otherwise communicated with a number of State legislators to discuss the harbor master program and to express their concerns about the possible effect of Raised Bill 863 on that program. Specifically, the Board objects to any amendments to Section 15-154 that would remove the harbor masters’ existing and long-standing authorities. Mr. Griffin also wrote to all of the harbor masters and deputy harbor masters to inform them of Raised Bill 863 and the proposed changes to Section 15-154 of the General Statutes,

Raised Bill 863 was recently passed by both the Connecticut House of Representatives and Senate and flow awaits the Governor’s signature. The bill that was passed does not change the harbor masters’ existing authorities other than to make clear that harbor masters and deputy harbor masters who are not certified law enforcement officers may not enforce the BUT laws.

B.  Clarification of Harbor Masters’ Authority

Mr. Severance said that during the course of the Board’s involvement in the matters concerning Raised Bill. 863, the Board has received commitments from representatives of the DEP and DOT to work cooperatively with the Board to help clarify the extent of the harbor masters’ authority under Section 15-154 and thereby enhance the harbor master program. Mr. Severance will pursue the arrangements for working together in this regard.



Mr. Severance said there is an opening on the Board of Directors and the Board discussed possible candidates.



The next meeting will be in Mystic.



The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.


Respectively Submitted By: Louis Allyn and Geoff Steadman