FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Engineer received a project proposal to establish a wetland compensatory mitigation site for federal and state permits as described below:
Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (VARTF)
530 East Main Street, Ste. 800
Richmond, Virginia 23219
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed mitigation site (Site) is located on approximately 18.13 acres of a previous sand and gravel mining site. The Site is located in Philips Creek drainage basin which is a tributary that flows to the Atlantic Ocean in Northampton County, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The sponsor proposes to establish, design, construct, and operate a compensatory wetland mitigation site to be known as AO-6 Philips Creek (Branscome, Inc.). The purpose of the mitigation project is to provide off-site compensatory mitigation for projects that result in unavoidable impacts to wetlands and other waters of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean Drainage Basin.
The Sponsor plans to restore/create 7.36 acres of wetlands, create 5.47 acres of wetlands, preserve 3.72 acres of wetlands, and preserve 7.05 acres of upland buffer.
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 02040303 and 02040304. This proposed service area would include portions of Accomack County, Northampton County and the Town of Chincoteague, Virginia.
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 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 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 listed species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended)and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table is attached for review and comment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are within the permit area, however, there are two sites (44NH0080 and 44NH0081 both agricultural outbuildings) within 0.5 mileradius of the proposed projectwhich have not been evaluated. Additional information might change any of these findings.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). Phillips Creek contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for multiple life stages of 19 species including red hake (Urophycis chuss), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), Atlantic sea herring (Clupea harengus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), long finned squid (Loligo pealei), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralicthys dentatus), scup (Stenotomus chrysops), black sea bass (Centropristus striata), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus), sand tiger shark (Odontaspis taurus), Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizopriondon terraenovae), scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini). The impacts of this project will have little or no direct effect of any of the listed species. The restoration, creation and preservation of the site will improve the habitat quality for all of the listed species. The proposed project abuts Upshur Creek and Philips Creek that consists of tidal and non-tidal wetlands. The affected habitat is presently two freshwater quarry/pits and associated uplands to included construction material throughout the site. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our rationale for this preliminary determination is based on the expected short-term nature of the direct impacts/minimal increases in turbidity/changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work/the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat/ existing poor water quality/unsuitable substrate. Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers- (ATTN: Dan Bacon CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on October 19, 2017. The Project Proposal and Drawings can be viewed at
If you have any questions about this mitigation site, please contact:
803 Front Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510