FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Engineer received a proposal to establish a tidal wetland compensatory mitigation site for federal and state permits as described below:
Ms. Karen Johnson
The Nature Conservancy
Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund
530 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed compensatory mitigation site is located on 8.1 acres northeast of the town of Exmore, Virginia.
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 37.5610 N, -75.7644 W
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The Sponsor proposes to construct an 8.1-acre compensatory mitigation site to be known as the AO-8 Willowdale Site (Project). The purpose of the Project is to create tidal wetlands and restore upland buffers to provide off-site compensatory mitigation for projects that result in unavoidable impacts in the Atlantic Ocean Drainage Basin.
The Sponsor proposes to create approximately 4.48 acres of vegetated tidal wetland, 0.27 acres of tidal wetland channel, and restore approximately 3.35 acres of upland buffer. The vegetated tidal wetlands and unvegetated tidal channel will be created by excavating an existing agricultural field to tidal elevations that match the elevations of the existing tidal wetlands. The Project will generate 5.28 compensatory mitigation credits.
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 compensatory mitigation site would include the National Watershed Boundary Dataset Hydrologic Unit Codes 02040304 and 02040303.
Oversight of this compensatory 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 (USACE), the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Chair the IRT.
This compensatory mitigation site may be one of several 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 compensatory mitigation site for a specific project is the decision of USACE pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and/or by the DEQ pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and Titles 28.2 and 62.1 of the Code of Virginia. USACE, DEQ, and VMRC provide no guarantee that any individual or general permit will be granted authorization to use this compensatory mitigation site to compensate for unavoidable wetland impacts associated with a proposed permit. Authorization by VMRC may also be required for its use for specific projects.
AUTHORITY: Issuance of a public notice regarding proposed compensatory 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: USACE is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties to consider and evaluate this proposed compensatory mitigation site. This is not an application for work in Waters of the United States. The USACE, 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, no listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended) would be affected; based on this no effect determination, no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required; 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: Jeanne Richardson), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on October 6, 2022. The Prospectus and Drawings can be viewed at https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:622::::::
If you have any questions about this compensatory mitigation site, please contact:
Jeanne C. Richardson