September 18, 2018
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Engineer received a prospectus to establish a tidal water and wetland compensatory mitigation site for federal and state permits as described below:
HGS, LLC a RES Company
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed mitigation site is located on approximately 8.24 acres of land dominated by mowed fallow fields, forested uplands, and tidal waters and marshes. The site is located in Newton Creek, a tributary to the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River at 1437 Great Bridge Boulevard in Chesapeake, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The sponsor proposes to establish, design, construct, and operate a compensatory tidal water and wetland mitigation site to be known as Newton Creek Tidal Wetland 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 other waters in the Lower James River Drainage Basin.
The sponsor plans to establish approximately 3.48 acres of tidal wetlands by converting 3.48 acres of existing upland to tidal wetlands. In addition, the sponsor’s plans include 0.73 acre of wetland enhancement, 0.65 acre of tidal wetland preservation, 0.78 acre of upland buffer creation, 1.8 acre of upland buffer enhancement and 0.36 acre of tidal channel creation. Two tidal channels are proposed to be constructed to convey normal tidal waters from Newton Creek into the wetland restoration area. An estimated 582 square feet of tidal wetlands will be dredged to create the channels, and mitigation is proposed to occur on-site.
The sponsor proposed, for purposes of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and 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 02080208 and portions of 02080206. This proposed service area would include all or portions of the Cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, and the Counties of Isle of Wight, Surry, James City.
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 Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and/or by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission pursuant to Subtitle III of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia 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, Virginia Marine Resources Commission 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.
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. This is a Prospectus for a project that has been presented to the Norfolk District Interagency Review Team. 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, 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/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat 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 National Marine Fishers 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. The applicant has conducted a Phase I Archeological Survey on the project site, but the report has not yet been completed. The applicant is currently conducting a Phase II Archeological survey within a portion of the property. 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: CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096, Audrey Cotnoir, USACE Great Bridge Field Office, 2509 Reservation Road, Chesapeake, Virginia 23322 and should be received by the close of business on October 18, 2018. Enclosed is a drawing of the potential mitigation plan. The Prospectus and Drawings can be viewed at https://ribits.usace.army.mil/.
If you have any questions about this mitigation site, please contact: Audrey Cotnoir, by telephone at 757.549.8819 or by email at email@example.com