The district engineer received a prospectus to establish a wetland and stream compensatory mitigation site for federal and state permits as described below:
MITIGATION BANK SPONSOR
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 located on approximately 52 acres of actively grazed rural farm land. The site is located on Moore’s Creek, a tributary to the New River in Grayson 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 New River Highland 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 New River Drainage Basin. The sponsor proposes to remove cattle, restore degraded stream channels and wetlands, and restore riparian buffers in order to improve water quality and reduce sediment loadings in the New River Basin.
The sponsor plans to restore approximately 3,440 linear feet of stream channel and associated upland riparian buffers. The buffers would be a minimum of 200-feet wide. In addition, the sponsor plans to restore approximately 2.3 acres of wetlands and enhance an additional 0.3 acres of wetlands.
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 05050001 (Upper New River) and 05050002 (Lower New River). This proposed service area would include all or portions of Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Wythe, Pulaski, Grayson, Carroll, Floyd, Montgomery, Smyth Counties and the cities of Galax and Radford.
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, 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 US Army Corps of Engineers 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 US Army Corps of Engineers 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 US Army 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 US Army 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, 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) will be affected. Based on this no-effect determination, no further coordination with the US 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, US Army Corps of Engineers-Lynchburg Field Office, PO Box 3160, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503, and should be received by the close of business on Jan. 22, 2016. The Prospectus and Drawings are attached.
If you have any questions about this mitigation site, please contact: Jeanne C. Richardson, Lynchburg Field Office, PO Box 3160, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503; (434) 384-0182; firstname.lastname@example.org.