To the editor,
In order to find a solution to a problem we must first understand clearly the nature of that problem. We must understand what, inherently in the dock, kills the seagrass that we want to protect.
Is it something in the building materials that were traditionally used in dock construction in 1993, when the ban was inacted, that damages the sea grass? Since that date, many new materials and techniques have been developed that may not damage the seagrass if used in dock construction today.
Is it the shadow that the dock might cast on the water with the seagrass? If so, perhaps a unique design is called for using open deck plastic grating or clear plastic flooring that permits the light to pass through the deck to the water below.
Perhaps we should set a minimum elevation over the water level for the deck to permit more light to reach the water under the dock. Perhaps the code should be changed and the minimum lighting level over a set number of hours should be specified. Can our Natural Resources Department come up with such a number?
Why not rewrite the dock code so that the dock owner must plant seagrass, in a place designated by the Natural Resources Department, an area equivelant to twice the footprint of the dock and approach trestle?
I have spent over 50 years designing and building large commercial docks and offshore marine structures in many parts of the world. If the problem is clearly specified, I feel certain that your good local marine consulting engineering companies will find a solution that will not materially harm our precious sea grasses..
Sanibel and Stratford, Ct.