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LRB 2017-00473

Posted: 6/12/2017

Expiration date: 7/10/2017


TIDSNOTICE ANNOUNCES A PROSPECTUS THAT HASBEEN SUBMITTED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT  OF A WETLAND AND STREAM UMBRELLA MITIGATION  BANK

INSTRUMENT COVERING ALL OF omo WITH AN INITIAL MITIGATION BANK

SITE, REFERRED TO AS THE GRAFTON SWAMP WETLAND MITIGATION BANK, PURSUANT TO 33 CFR 332, COMPENSATORY MITIGATION FOR LOSSES OF AQUATIC RESOURCES (FEDERAL REGISTER: APRIL 10, 2008, EFFECTIVE JUNE 9, 2008).

 

BANK SPONSOR:    Ecological Resource Partners LLC

3970 Bowen Road

Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110

 

LOCATION: The Bank Sponsor is proposing the development of an Umbrella Mitigation Bank Instrument (UMBI) to cover the State of Ohio. The Bank Sponsor proposes the establishment and management of one initial mitigation bank known as the Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Banlc.

 

The approximately 267.1-acre Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Bank would be located within the Corps, Buffalo District regulatory boundary in the Black- Rocky River 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC): 04110001, in the Village of Grafton, Lorain County, Ohio (latitude 41.27991, longitude -82.03633). This proposal has been assigned Depaitment of the A1my (DA) file numbers LRB-2017-00473 , LRH-2016-01002 , and LRP-2017-00617.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION: Mitigation banks are defined as a site, or suite of sites, where aquatic resources (e.g., wetlands, streams, riparian areas) ai·e restored, established, enhanced, and/or preserved for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for impacts authorized by DA permits pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. In general, units of restored , established, enhanced or preserved wetlands or streams are expressed as "credits" which may subsequently be withdrawn to offset "debits" incmTed at a pe1mitted project site. In this way, a permit requirement to provide compensatory mitigation can be transfeITed to the mitigation bank sponsor. The operation and use of a mitigation bank are governed by an approved mitigation banking instrument (MBI). The MBI is the legal document for the establishment, operation and the use of a mitigation bank. The initially proposed bank site is intended to be a private commercial bank. The sponsor would be responsible for the successful development of the mitigation bank sites including monitoring and reporting requirements.

 

As indicated in the Corps regulations (33 CPR 332.S(b)), the district engineer will establish an Interagency Review Team (IRT) to review documentation for the establishment and management of mitigation banks and in-lieu fee (ILF) programs.  The primary role of the IRT is to facilitate the establishment of mitigation banks and/or ILF programs through the development of  mitigation banking or ILF program instruments. The IRT reviews draft prospectuses, prospectuses, instruments, and other documents and provides comments to the Corps. The Ohio IRT consists of the following federal and state resource agencies: Corps, Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, OEPA, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 

The approval for the use of the bank for specific projects is the decision of the USACE pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) pursuant to Section 401 of the CWA and/or applicable state of Ohio statute(s) and regulation(s). The USACE and OEPA provide no guarantee that any particular individual or general pe1mit would be authorized in order to use the bank for compensation.

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Bank Sponsor has submitted a prospectus to the Corps Buffalo,Huntington and Pittsburgh Districts to establish a stream and wetland UMBI in the State of Ohio with one initial proposed mitigation bank known as the Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Bank. A complete copy of the Prospectus is available for review upon request.

The proposed UMBI would provide compensatory mitigation for projects resulting in unavoidable impacts to streams and wetlands within service areas where a mitigation bank is located. Each mitigation bank proposed under the UMBI would include a coITesponding service area. The proposed service area for the Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Bank includes the following:  1) the entire Ohio portion of the Buffalo Corps District for impacts to jurisdictional and isolated Category 1 wetlands of any size and isolated Category 2 wetland of 0.5 acre and less, 2) for all other wetland impacts, the Grafton site's service area will encompass the entire Black-Rocky 8-digit HUC watershed . The sponsor also proposes that the use of the Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Bank for compensatory mitigation of impacts to wetlands outside of the geographic service area be considered by the Corps and OEPA on a case-by-case basis consistent with applicable state and federal regulations.


 The objective of the proposed mitigation banks is to generate compensatory mitigation credits to offset unavoidable adverse effects to   wetlands within the mitigation bank service area. Wetland credits would be generated through the restoration (re-establishment and rehabilitation), establishment, enhancement and/or preservation of wetlands and the restoration and/or preservation of upland buffers within the boundaries of the mitigation banks.

 

The Bank Sponsor proposes to generate wetland credits at the Grafton Swamp Wetland Mitigation Banlc through the re-establishment of 24.0 acres of non-forested wetlands and 25.3 acres of forested wetlands, rehabilitation of 7.0 acres of existing, Category  1 emergent wetlands, restoration of 37.2 acres of upland forest, and preservation of 170.7 acres of a mosaic of Category 3 wetlands and associated uplands (including 73.189 acres of wetlands and 97.511 acres of uplands).

 

Upon approval of the proposed mitigation bank site under the UMBI, the Bank Sponsor would encumber the proposed mitigation bank's acreage with a permanent third-pa1iy conservation easement held by an entity meeting the requirements of Ohio Revised Code 5301.69. A designated third paity manager would be responsible for long-te1m maintenance after bank closure. The third party financial assurance designee would be identified in the final mitigation banking instrument. Revenues generated by the sale of mitigation credits would allow the Bank Sponsor to establish a long-term monitoring and maintenance fund for the mitigation banks to provide for the long-term quality and viability of the restored ecosystems.

 

The entire prospectus for the umbrella mitigation bank instrument and the initial bank site is found on the Buffalo District's website along with this Public Notice: http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices   /

 

Location and details of the proposed initial mitigation bank project are shown on the attached documents (Sheets 1 of 7 through 7 of 7).

 

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:   A Section 401 Water Quality Ce1ti:fication may be required from the OEPA in conjunction with the proposed establishment of mitigation sites.

 

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: This undertaking (proposed umbrella mitigation bank instrument and initial mitigation bank site) must be reviewed to determine any potential effect to properties that may be eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The NRHP has been consulted, and it has been determined there are no historic prope1ties currently listed on the NRHP within the area to be affected by the proposed initial mitigation bank project. The Corps 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 potential effects on historic properties.  Ifyou wish to provide comments or objections regarding the effect of the proposed mitigation bank projects on historic prope1ties, please provide this information to our office prior to the close of the comment period.

 

THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES: Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531), the Corps of Engineers is consulting, under separate cover, with the USFWS to evaluate any potential impacts associated with the initial mitigation bank site to: Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), Kirtland's warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and rufa red knot ( Calidris canutus nifa) and to ensure that the proposed activity is not likely to jeopardize their continued existence or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.

 

COMMENT PERIOD:  Written statements received in this office within 30 days from the date of this notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the dete1mination.

Comments or questions pertaining to the work described in this notice should reference the Application Number and be directed to the attention of Peter Krakowiak, who can be contacted at the above address, by calling (716) 879-4363, or by e-mail at:

Peter.j.krakowiak @usace.army.mil. A lack of response will be inte1preted as meaning that there is no objection to the work as proposed.

 

EVALUATION: After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits.

 

USACE is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; American Indian Tribes; and other interested patties in order to consider and evaluate the proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by USACE during the fmmulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.

 

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.

 

SIGNED

 

Diane C. Kozlowski Chief, Regulatory Branch