Dogs play while visiting Higgins Beach with their owners earlier this year. Volunteers with the Public Works Department are cleaning seaweed from the beach through Labor Day. Derek Davis/Press Herald

Scarborough has resumed the cleaning of seaweed in Higgins Beach; it began Aug. 3 and will continue until Labor Day.

Local volunteers with the town’s Public Works Department have collected seaweed and removed it from the beach for decades with approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The cleaning was paused this summer at Maine DEP’s direction to determine if permits were needed for this action. Scarborough worked with the Bureau of Land Management, the Maine DEP, and local residents of Higgins Beach to find a solution.

This summer, the seaweed will be collected in a designated spot on the beach before Public Works stores it at the landfill. The seaweed will be returned to the beach in October in intentional areas inside the dune system. These actions will not require a permit.

The town is planning to apply for a Permit-By-Rule from Maine DEP that will more formally allow this beach cleaning in the future. Permit-By-Rule regulations, under the National Resources Protection Act, “identify activities taking place in or adjacent to wetlands and waterbodies that should not significantly affect the environment if carried out according to the standards contained in the regulations” according to the Maine DEP website.

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