The District Engineer has received a prospectus to establish a stream compensatory mitigation bank for Federal and State permits as described below:
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK
The proposed mitigation bank site is located on approximately 1,000 acres of agricultural and wooded land. The site is located in the northwestern quadrant of the intersection of State Route 647 (Algonquin Trail) and State Route 663 (Batna Road) in Culpeper County, Va. The proposed bank site drains to Potato Run, a major tributary of the Rapidan River.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE
The bank sponsor proposes to establish, design, construct, and operate a compensatory stream and wetland mitigation bank to be known as Potato Run Mitigation Bank The purpose of the mitigation bank 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 Rapidan Drainage basin. The goal of the bank is to provide mitigation credits for unavoidable impacts to Waters within the authorized service area.
The Bank Sponsor plans to establish this Bank by preserving and enhancing the riparian buffers of Waters and wetlands, including their headwaters, on approximately 450 acres of the project site. Enhancement and preservation will be accomplished by stream buffer plantings, invasive species removal, and restoration of two (2) existing embankments to stream channels, to preserve and enhance the onsite Waters and their watersheds.
The sponsor has proposed, for purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, that the geographic service area of this mitigation bank would include the USGS Hydrologic Unit Codes 2080103 and portions of 2080104. This proposed service area would include portions of the Culpeper, Orange, Madison, Rappahannock, Greene, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fauquier Counties.
Oversight of this mitigation bank will be by a group of federal and state agency representatives. This interagency oversight group will be known as the Interagency Review Team (IRT). The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shall chair the IRT.
This mitigation bank 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 southern Virginia.
The actual approval of the use of this mitigation bank 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 bank to compensate for unavoidable wetland impacts associated with a proposed permit, even though compensatory mitigation may be available. Authorization by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission may also be required for its use for specific projects.
Issuance of a public notice regarding proposed mitigation banks 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 bank. 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: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) conduct of work will/will not affect species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205); and (3) the project may/may not have an effect on properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additional information might change any of these preliminary 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). The proposed project is described above in Proposed Work and Purpose. The proposed project is not located in Essential Fish Habitat and is/is not likely to affect EFH.
Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-REG), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Va., 23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Feb. 12, 2014. Copies will be forwarded to the DEQ.
If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, please contact: Hal Wiggins in the Fredericksburg Field Office at (540) 548-2517 or Harold.j.wiggins@.usace.army.mil