Published Sept. 22, 2016
Expiration date: 10/19/2016

September 20, 2016

The District Engineer received a prospectus to establish a wetland and stream compensatory mitigation site for federal and state permits as described below:

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 two tracts totaling approximately 99 acres of actively grazed and farmed land. The sites are located on the Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The sponsor proposes to establish, design, construct, and operate a compensatory wetland and stream mitigation bank to be known as the Benges Creek Mitigation Bank on two sites; 1) the Benges Creek Site and 2) the Staunton River Site. 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 Clinch 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 Clinch River Basin.

The sponsor plans to restore approximately 4260 linear feet of stream channel and associated upland riparian buffer, enhance approximately 1220 linear feet of stream channel, and preserve 5790 linear feet of stream channel and associated upland riparian buffer. The buffers will be a minimum of 200 feet wide. In addition, the Sponsor plans to restore approximately 15.5 acres of wetlands.   

The sponsor proposed, for purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, that the geographic service area of the mitigation sites would include the National Watershed Boundary Dataset Hydrologic Unit Codes 06010205, 06010206, 06010101, 06010102 in the Upper Tennessee watershed. This proposed service area would include all or portions of Tazewell, Smyth, Russel, Washington, Wise, Scott, and Lee Counties and the cities of Galax and Radford.  

Oversight of the mitigation sites 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 sites 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 sites 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 the mitigation sites to compensate for unavoidable wetland and/or stream 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 the proposed mitigation sites. 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: (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 and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table is attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife 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. 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-Charlottesville Field Office, 920 Gardens Boulevard-Suite 103-B, Charlottesville, Virginia  22901, and should be received by the close of business on October 19, 2016. The Prospectus and Drawings can be viewed at,P25_REPORT_ID:4323,9427.

If you have any questions about the mitigation sites, please contact:

Vinny Pero
Charlottesville Field Office
920 Gardens Boulevard
Suite 103-B
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901