February 6, 2017
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Engineer received a prospectus to establish a wetland and stream compensatory mitigation site for Federal and State permits as described below:
Highland Conservation Group, LLC
Mr. Preston Breeding
140 Hilltop Avenue
Lebanon, Virginia 24266
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed mitigation site is approximately 80 acres located on an approximately 527 acre parcel that is currently being used for hay production and unmanaged forestland. Historically the property was a dairy farm. The site is located within the Tug Fork watershed, a tributary to the Big Sandy River, in Tazewell County, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The sponsor proposes to establish, design, construct, and operate a compensatory wetland and stream mitigation site to be known as the Dry Fork Mitigation Bank. The purpose of the mitigation project is to provide off-site compensatory mitigation for projects that result in unavoidable impacts to wetlands and streams and other waters of the United States in the Big Sandy River watersheds to include the Upper Levisa Fork River and Tug Fork River Drainages.
The Sponsor plans to preserve 5890 linear feet, restore 1400 linear feet and enhance 2900 linear feet of Dry Fork and to restore and preserve four unnamed tributaries to Dry Fork. The Sponsor plans to preserve 4240 linear feet of high quality buffer along the right bank of Dry Fork. A riparian buffer will be re-established on 5220 linear feet of the left bank and 940 linear feet of the right bank of Dry Fork. 2.1 acres of wetlands adjacent to Dry Fork will be restored.
The sponsor proposed, for purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, that the geographic service area of this mitigation site would include the National Watershed Boundary Dataset Hydrologic Unit Codes 05070202 and 05070201, in their entirety. This includes most of Dickenson and Buchanan counties and a portion of Wise County.
Oversight of this mitigation site would be by an existing group of federal and state agency representatives. This interagency oversight group is known as the Interagency Review Team (IRT). The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality chair the IRT.
This mitigation site may be one of a number of practicable options available to applicants to compensate for unavoidable wetland and stream impacts associated with permits issued under the authority of Section 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) in Virginia.
The actual approval of the use of this mitigation site for a specific project is the decision of the Corps pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or by the Department of Environmental Quality pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia. The Corps and the Department of Environmental Quality provide no guarantee that any particular individual or general permit will be granted authorization to use this mitigation site to compensate for unavoidable wetland impacts associated with a proposed permit. Authorization by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission may also be required for its use for specific projects.
AUTHORITY: Issuance of a public notice regarding proposed mitigation sites is required pursuant to the “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources; Final Rule,” (Rule) as published in the April 10, 2008, Federal Register, Vol. 73, No. 70, Pages 19594-19705 (33 CFR Parts 325 and 332).
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF PROPOSAL: The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate this proposed mitigation site. This is not an application for work in Waters of the United States. The Corps of Engineers in evaluating this proposal will consider any comments received. Comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use classification, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership.
Preliminary review indicates that: (1) no environmental impact statement would be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, there may be an affect to species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table is attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal. Additional information might change any of these findings.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers-(ATTN: Charlottesville Field Office), Mr. Vinny Pero, at the address below, and should be received by the close of business on March 8, 2017. The Prospectus and Drawings can be viewed at https://ribits.usace.army.mil/.
If you have any questions about this mitigation site, please contact:
Mr. Vinny Pero
920 Gardens Blvd., Suite103-B
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901