A characterization of the data, including its intended use and limitations.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection cooperated with the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture to publish the Connecticut Mananged Shellfish Bed data. More recent information may now be available from Department of Agriculture since the time this information was originally published in 2004.
Connecticut Shellfish Bed Mapping - The Town_Merge data layer is one of four layers that were created in the mapping of all managed shellfish beds in Connecticut waters. These beds, as defined below, include state managed beds, municipally managed beds, natural beds and recreational beds. These four bed types were mapped as separate data layers.
This project was undertaken to assist three agencies, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CTDEP) and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture (DA/BA). While the over all goal of all three was the same, namely the protection of natural resources, each had different specific needs. The project was originally undertaken without NOAA involvement. In 2001Public Act PA01-115 An Act Concerning Recreational Fishing in Connecticut was passed. Information on this act can be found through the Connecticut State Library at http://www.cslib.org/psaindex.htm. This act required DA/DB and CTDEP to determine the "effects of commercial and recreational fishing" on eel grass beds. Harry Yamalis from the Office of Long Island Sound Programs (OLISP) initiated gathering information and mapping the beds on a part time basis in response to this Public Act. Later, NOAA requested assistance in building a national database of Marine Managed Areas (MMA) in accordance with federal Executive Order 13158 concerning Marine Protected Areas (MPA). NOAA and CTDEP agreed that the shellfish beds met the criteria for MMA's. Tom Ouellette from OLISP was the liaison between CTDEP and NOAA and became the project supervisor. Todd Coniff was hired as an intern through Coastal State Organization,which is overseeing the MMA inventory collection program for NOAA, to continue the work on a full time basis. Several people from the Environmental and Geographic Information Center at CTDEP provided technical and other guidance.
As noted earlier each agency had its on agenda for mapping the shellfish beds. The follow paragraphs outline the wants and needs of NOAA, DA/BA and CTDEP.
The following is a description of the process and function of the MMA inventory for NOAA. The following excerpt was taken from the MPA web site http://www.mpa.gov/.
The Marine Managed Areas Inventory Database and Data Collection Process
The inventory will contain a wide range of information on each site to help the U.S. develop a comprehensive picture of the nation's marine managed areas (MMAs). The data collected include a general description and site characteristics such as location, purpose, and type of site, along with detailed information on natural and cultural resources, legal authorities, site management, regulations, and restrictions (see MMA Inventory Database Description at http://www.mpa.gov/inventory/database_description.html).
The data collection process begins with agencies or authorities that manage marine and Great Lakes areas in U.S. waters. Each agency reviews sites in their programs to identify those that meet the MMA working criteria. Data collection is then conducted for each site by the managing agency with an electronic data entry form. The managing agencies also review and approve the data before submission to the NOAA/Department of the Interior Inventory team. The data are then reviewed and made public on MPA.GOV. A data update and revision process is being developed to ensure that the information in the inventory is kept current over time
Purposes of MMA Inventory
The national inventory provides a range of data on all types of MMAs in the U.S. This database can help federal, regional, state, and local, managers, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and the public to better analyze and understand information about these sites, management capabilities, effectiveness, and evaluation processes.
DA/BA wanted the shellfish beds mapped to better meet their statutory obligations and more efficiently run some of their programs. There are two main programs that will directly benefit from this mapping: 1) Shellfish Habitat Management and Restoration and 2) Aquaculture Development and Coordination. Both of these are explained on the DA/BA web site http://vvv.state.ct.us/doag/business/aquac/oyscharg.htm - PROGRAM.
Shellfish Habitat Management and Restoration: This program serves two functions:
(1) It provides a mechanism for shellfish aquaculturists to obtain underwater lands in Long Island Sound for the purpose of planting, cultivating and harvesting shellfish and serves as the foundation for the State's multimillion dollar shellfish industry. The Bureau leases shellfish grounds, administers Perpetual Franchise grounds, provides survey and engineering services, maintains maps and records, collects fees and taxes, sets corner marker buoys, constructs and maintains signals and mediates boundary and ownership disputes.
(2) The Bureau provides for the cultivation and propagation of shellfish through the management and restoration of state-owned natural clam and oyster beds. The continued availability of shellfish is critical to the stability and growth of commercial and recreational shellfishing. The Bureau issues Natural Bed and Conch Harvest licenses, sets corner markers, plants cultch, maintains spawn stock, monitors predators and diseases and makes assessments of natural disaster impacts.
Aquaculture Development and Coordination: This program is responsible for planning and coordinating aquaculture development including: development and oversight of legislation and regulations, review of NPDES and Coastal Zone applications, liaison between industry and the regulatory community, promotion, marketing, technology transfer and assistance, communications and addresses issues of regional and national concern.
In Connecticut, shellfish are defined as oysters, clams, mussels and scallops; either shucked or in the shell, fresh or frozen, whole or in part. Scallops are excluded from this definition when the final product is the shucked adductor muscle only. Lobsters, crabs, snails and finfish are not included in this definition.
The CTDEP, Office of Long Island Sound Programs, needed the shellfish beds mapped to provide jurisdictional and ownership information in the coastal permit review process. This ties in with DA/BA statement above concerning "review of NPDES and Coastal Zone applications."
While this project was completed by working directly with these three main entities, it is believed that in the future there will be many other Federal, State and Local agencies that will find this data useful.
Shellfish Bed data
The end result of this project was four GIS data layers. The names of these layers are,
1) State Managed Beds
2) Town Managed Beds
3) Natural Beds
There were multiple sources of data for this project. Outlined here will be the general sources used for each data layer.
The state managed bed layer was created using longitude and latitude coordinates provided DA/BA. All of the DA/BA coordinate data, whether for state or town beds, was produced under contract with Digital Directions Company of Washington D.C.
There are two types of natural bed, those under DA/BA jurisdiction and those under town jurisdiction. Natural beds under DA/BA jurisdiction were mapped using longitude/latitude data provided by DA/BA.
Natural beds under town jurisdiction were predominantly created by using the information contained in The Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of Connecticut for the Year Ending November 30, 1889 Appendix on shellfishing. The maps that accompanied this text, Western Section of Long Island Sound Oyster Grounds, State of Connecticut, and Eastern Section of Long Island Sound Oyster, Grounds State of Connecticut, were used as general guidelines. Both maps are dated 1889, prepared by James P. Bogart at a scale of 1:80,000. They were based on United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Additional research at the State Library Archives produced four maps submitted to Fairfield Superior Court in the 1880s. These maps were submitted as part of each town's compliance with General Statute Section 2326 of 1888 and are referenced in the 1889 Bureau of Labor Report.
The sources of data for the town managed beds layer were quite varied. The sources included longitude/latitude data and maps from DA/BA, maps and longitude/latitude provided by local shellfish commissions and longitude/latitude data and maps obtained from Tallmadge Brothers. Additionally a few towns provided maps of their beds in an electronic format such as CAD or shapefile.
The sources for the recreational beds layer came from maps and information provided by local shellfish commissions. A few of these maps were in an electronic (digital) form. Some of the recreational beds were mapped using information from shellfish commission management plans provided by DA/BA.
Several layers were used to assist in the mapping of the shellfish beds. They were used for one or more of the following reasons: determining boundaries (i.e. shorelines, town lines); finding locations; georeferencing or as a backdrop. Descriptions of these layers are as follows:
1) Coastal Hydrography layer (hydolisp.shp). This layer was based on hydrography taken from the USGS 7½ Minute Quadrangle maps at a scale of 1:24,000. OLISP slightly modified the coastline with more current data than that found on the USGS maps on which the layer is based.
2) NOAA Nautical Charts (noaacharts.dbf). These digital images were produced by Maptech for NOAA at a 1:20,000 scale.
3) Town layer (townz.shp). This layer contains the roads of Connecticut at a 1:20,000 scale.
4) The USGS 7½ Minute Quadrangle Map Images (catdrg.dbf). These are scanned images of the 1:24,000 USGS topographic maps. They have been tiled to cover the entire state.
5) 1990 USGS Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangles (catdoq.dbf). These are aerial photos at a scale of 1:12,000. They are tiled to cover the entire state.
6) Water Classification layer (shellcl.shp). This layer was produced by CTDEP using DA/BA data on water classification areas.
There were several assumptions that governed the creation of these data sets. It is important to understand what these assumptions were and why they were made
Shorelines: Unless otherwise stated, the landward boundary for beds bounded by any shore was made to coincide with the shoreline from the coastal hydrography layer. This layer was considered the most accurate for use on this project. A noticeable exception to this rule occurs in Brandford. Brandford's town lots were mapped using a different shoreline, perhaps one made from aerial photographs. This made mapping the recreational beds a bit more difficult.
It is assumed that data taken from the paper maps and descriptions originating in the 1880's contain certain errors. It is obvious that the coastline has changed dramatically in some places. To be consistent, it was assumed that no beds could be landward of the highwater mark as mapped in the coastal hydrography layer. There are some exceptions to this as will be noted in the abstract for those respective towns.
The most accurate data available was the longitude/latitude coordinates provided by DA/BA. If a conflict from different data sources existed, the DA/BA longitude and latitude information was considered to be correct. Therefore conflicts that involved that layer were rectified by fitting the other data to it. This most commonly happened with mapping of the town natural beds. Some overlapping of data exists and will be noted in the abstracts for each town, as appropriate.
Recreational beds are predominantly large areas delineated by water quality conditions of Acceptable and Conditional. This means that more often then not there is overlap between town natural beds and recreational beds. They share the same water classification and have to meet the same equipment restrictions. Many shellfish commission maps did not delineate private or leased beds. If a map was available for digitizing the resulting areas were kept as they were shown on the map and not made to fit any preexisting data.
State and Town Beds: In 1881 a line was established, referred to as the Commissioners line, that divides the waters of the state into a northern and southern section. All beds south of this line are State beds and most beds north of this line are town beds. DA/BA still controls all the licensing and regulations north and south of this line, for example DA/BA determines when an area will be closed to shellfishing due to a change in water quality and what licenses are need to do certain work. Town beds are simply leased, owned or managed through the local shellfish commission. Towns may require additional local permits to work in waters under local jurisdiction. The beds north of the line in Westport, Milford, West Haven, and New Haven are exceptions to this as they are under state control.
State and Town Natural Beds: Natural beds get their name from the fact that shellfish, especially oyster, naturally inhabited the area. These areas tend to be closer to shore and more often then not are at the mouth of a river. Natural beds have specific regulations concerning their use including licensing and harvesting methods. They are predominately seed beds that can not be mechanically harvested. Use of the natural beds requires a Relay/Transplant License I or II and/or Seed Oyster Harvesting License. Any person assisting in the harvesting of seed oysters must have a Helper's License. These beds cannot be leased or subdivided; they are to remain open to any properly licensed shellfisherman. State natural beds are simply natural beds south of the Commissioners line. Descriptions of these beds can be found in section 3295 of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS), revision of 1918. Not all of the beds listed in section 3295 were mapped. Many of the natural beds in state waters off of Greenwich are now covered with leases. The town natural beds were defined by law under section 2326 of the CGS of 1888. Each town had the opportunity to map areas that they wanted to be considered natural bed. The documents, written descriptions and maps, were submitted to the Superior Court that had jurisdiction for that town. Several towns did not avail themselves of this opportunity. Some areas such as in Westport have been changed in recent court decisions. There are some areas that may have been declared natural bed that now have leases on them.
According to the DA/BA's website in 2004 recreational bed regulations are described as follows:
Harvesting is limited to "Approved" and "Conditionally Approved-Open" areas, excluding franchised or leased shellfish beds. Recreational harvesters should contact the local health department serving the town in which they wish to harvest to determine the current description of Approved or Conditionally Approved shellfishing areas, local laws that pertain to this activity and whether a local license is required. Recreational shellfishing in closed areas (Conditionally Approved-Closed, Restricted, and Prohibited areas) whether for bait or personal consumption is illegal. Individuals involved in such illegal activities are subject to fines and imprisonment, as well as putting their health in jeopardy.
Recreational shellfishing in Connecticut is limited to one-half (1/2) bushel of shellfish - oysters, clams or mussels per day taken during daylight hours. Implements to take shellfish, such as rakes or tongs, must have openings or spacing between the teeth or prongs of one (1") inch or greater. Hard shell clams less than one (1") inch in thickness or that will pass through a ring of one and one-half (1.5") inches internal diameter must be returned to the harvest area. Softshell clams (referred to as steamers or long clams) must be returned to the harvest area if less than one and one half (1.5") inches in length. Oysters less than three (3.0") inches in length must be returned to the harvest area.
Recreational shellfish are intended to be consumed by the harvester and family members. Recreational harvesters cannot offer their shellfish for sale or barter. Recreational harvesters must take care to properly handle their catch. Shellfish should be promptly refrigerated in a self-draining container. They should never be stored in water or hung overboard from a dock or boat since they are filter feeders and may concentrate contaminants from that new environment.
A shellfish growing area is any area which supports or could support the growth and/or propagation of molluscan shellstock (live clams, oysters, mussels and scallops in their shell). All shellfish growing areas are classified in accordance with the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance (NSSP-MO). These classifications are established to minimize health risks, may restrict the taking and use of shellfish from some areas. No fresh water areas have been classified for the harvesting of shellfish.
All the Beds under state jurisdiction were mapped using longitude/latitude data from a DA/BA access database. These coordinates were taken from converted sextant angles. The company that converted the sextant angles was Digital Direction Company. There are known errors in this data discovered by Digital Direction when they performed a check on their data. Apparently two different datums were used with the sextant angle data that had historically been used to sight the corners of the beds. Digital Direction had not been aware of this when preparing the data for conversion and therefore treated every piece of data as though it was in the same datum. This resulted in consistent errors for those points that were not in the datum that was converted correctly. Their findings were presented to DA/BA who decided to accept the data as it was. Neither Digital Direction nor DA/BA ever flagged the points containing this error. Therefore these points cannot presently be distinguished from points that have no error associated with them.
1) Map titled "Oyster Grounds Greenwich - Stamford," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated January 1, 1986, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck July 3, 2000. The scale is 1 inch = 600 meters. This map was based on C & GS Chart 221 and 222.
2) Map titled "Oyster Grounds Darien - Norwalk - Westport," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated January 1, 1986, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck November 11, 2002. The scale is 1 inch = 600 meters. This map was based on C & GS Chart 220 and 221.
3) Map titled "Norwalk & Westport Town Oyster Grounds," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated February, 1984, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck January 16, 2004. The scale is 1 inch = 600 meters. This map was based on C & GS Charts and Air Photo Compilations T-5260, T- 5261 and T- 5262.
4) Map titled "Oyster Grounds in Compo Mill Pond - Town of Westport," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated February 1956, Ownership Updated December 20, 1998. The scale is 1 inch = 200 feet.
5) Map titled "Oyster Grounds Fairfield - Bridgeport - Stratford," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated February, 1984, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck November 25, 2002. The scale is 1 inch = 600 meters. This map was based on C & GS Chart 220.
6) Map titled "Oyster Grounds in Milford - West Haven," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated February 28, 1985, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck November 25, 2002. The scale is 1 inch = 600 meters. This map was based on C & GS Chart 218 and 219.
7) Map titled "Oyster Grounds in New Haven Harbor," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated February 5, 1983, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck May 8, 2001. The scale is 1 inch = 1100 feet. This map was based on C & GS Chart 218.
8) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in the Quinnipiac and Mill Rivers," prepared by W. Flanders Smith dated December 31, 1983, last revised by S.A. Hanchuruck March 3, 1999. The scale is 1 inch = 348 feet.
9) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in Long Island Sound Under State Jurisdiction Brandford Beacon to Kimberly Reef - Madison," prepared by unknown, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck March 21, 2003. The scale is 1 inch = 2000 feet.
10) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in Long Island Sound Under State Jurisdiction Kimberly Reef - Madison to Lobster Rock Westbrook," prepared by W. Flanders Smith November 1978, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck November 30, 2000. The scale is 1 inch = 2000 feet.
11) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in Long Island Sound Under State Jurisdiction Lobster Rock Westbrook to Hatchett Reef - Old Lyme," prepared by unknown March 4, 1985, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck April 20, 2000. The scale is 1 inch = 2000 feet.
12) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in Long Island Sound Under State Jurisdiction Hatchett Reef - Old Lyme to Thames River," prepared by unknown January 4, 1986, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck December 22, 2000. The scale is 1 inch = 2000 feet.
13) Map titled "Shellfish Grounds in Long Island Sound Under State Jurisdiction Thames River to Rhode Island State Line," prepared by unknown January 4, 1986, last revised by V.G. Hanchuruck March 21, 2003. The scale is 1 inch = 2000 feet.
Longitude/latitude of corner buoys are recorded in degree decimal minutes. These coordinates were taken from a database that the Department of Aquaculture maintains.
Access database of longitude/latitude of corner buoys from the Department of Aquaculture.
David Carey, Director Department of Aquaculture
All of these bed were digitized Using Longitude/latitude Data.
For information or questions on shellfish area classifications contact the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture (DA/BA). Mailing address: P.O. Box 97, Milford, CT, 06460, USA. Voice: 203-874-0696. Fax: 203-783-9976. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org