TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The district engineer has received a revised prospectus to establish a wetland mitigation bank to provide compensatory mitigation for Federal and state permits as described in this Public Notice. 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 332). The proposal was originally advertised via Public Notice on June 1, 2018, and the public comment period expired on June 30, 2018. However, the proposed project scope has expanded requiring a new Public Notice to give a clear understanding of the nature and magnitude of the activity to generate meaningful comment. The United States (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers’ (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 this proposed mitigation bank. In addition, the proposed mitigation bank has been submitted for authorization under the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The purpose of this Public Notice is to inform you of the proposed mitigation bank and to solicit your comments and information to better enable us to make a reasonable decision on factors affecting the public interest. We hope you will participate in this process.
INTERAGENCY REVIEW TEAM: As indicated in the Corps regulations (33 CFR 332.8(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, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Huntington District Regulatory Division is the lead district for the State of Ohio and chairs the Ohio IRT on all statewide or multiple District prospectuses.
BANK SPONSOR: AllStar Ecology, LLC
1582 Meadowdale Road
Fairmont, West Virginia 26554
LOCATION: The Bank Sponsor proposes the establishment and management of a mitigation bank known as the Bluebell Road Mitigation Bank, which would be located approximately 0.32 mile west of Pleasant City in Guernsey County, Ohio (latitude 39.903597, longitude -81.561307). This proposal has been assigned Department of the Army file number 2018-00293-MUS – Unnamed Tributary to Buffalo Fork.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY: The Bank Sponsor has submitted a prospectus to the Corps, Huntington District to establish a wetland mitigation bank. A complete copy of the prospectus is available for review upon request.
The objective of the proposed mitigation bank is to generate compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts (including the discharge of dredged and/or fill material) to aquatic resources resulting from activities authorized under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 within the mitigation bank’s service area. The Bluebell Road Mitigation Bank would include a primary service area consisting of the Wills Creek watershed (8-digit hydrologic unit code: 05040005).
Approximately 17.4 wetland credits would be generated through the restoration and enhancement of approximately 29.24 acres of wetland and the restoration, enhancement, and preservation of approximately 42.27 acres of buffer consisting of wetlands and uplands. Table I provides a summary of the proposed mitigation activities.
Proposed Mitigation Activities
The prospectus includes a description of the ecological suitability of the site to achieve the objectives of the proposed mitigation bank. The goal of the mitigation bank is to restore, enhance, and preserve self-sustaining, functional wetlands and associated buffer to replace functions and values lost due to unavoidable adverse impacts to wetlands. The mitigation bank is anticipated to include unnamed tributaries to Buffalo Fork, Buffalo Fork, its adjacent floodplain and upland corridors, and palustrine emergent, scrub-shrub, and forested wetlands. The Bank Sponsor would design, construct, and maintain the proposed mitigation bank, and performance standards would be established. The mitigation bank would be monitored for a period of at least 10 years to ensure the site is developing toward meeting all performance standards. The prospectus includes a proposed credit release schedule for wetland credits generated from the mitigation activities.
The Bank Sponsor proposes to provide long-term protection of the approximately 71.51 acre mitigation bank through an appropriate site protection instrument. The Guernsey County Community Development Corporation has been identified as the long-term steward responsible for long-term management of the site following closure of the mitigation bank.
Location and details of the proposed mitigation bank are shown on the attached documents (Sheets 1 through 5).
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: A Section 401 Water Quality Certification may be required from the Ohio EPA in conjunction with the establishment of this mitigation bank.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: This undertaking (proposed mitigation bank) 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 properties currently listed on the NRHP on-site, adjacent to, or within the viewshed to be affected by the proposed mitigation bank. 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. If you wish to provide comments or objections regarding the effect of the proposed mitigation bank on historic properties, please provide this information to our office prior to the close of the comment period.
THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES: This Public Notice will serve as coordination with the USFWS concerning threatened or endangered species, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended). One (1) federally-listed endangered species (the Indiana bat [Myotis sodalis]) and one (1) federally-listed threatened species (the northern long-eared bat [Myotis septentrionalis]) may occur within the proposed project area. The proposed activities would be expected to result in wetland and riparian corridor improvements. Based on the nature of the proposed project, this office has determined the proposed project may affect (in a positive aspect), but would not likely adversely affect either the Indiana bat or the northern long-eared bat.
This Public Notice serves as a request to the USFWS for any additional information they may have on whether any listed or proposed to be listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the areas which would be affected by the activities, pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).
PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW AND COMMENT: This proposal will be reviewed in accordance with 33 CFR 320-332, the Regulatory Program of the Corps, and other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders. Interested parties are invited to state any objections they may have to the proposed work. Any person who has an interest that may be adversely affected by the approval of this proposed mitigation bank may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the district engineer on or before the expiration date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected by the activities. A DA permit may be required under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for activities in conjunction with the establishment of this mitigation bank. If required, the proposal would be evaluated for compliance with the terms and conditions of Nationwide Permit No. 27 for Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities or, if determined necessary, an individual DA permit pursuant to the procedures outlined at 33 CFR 325.2 would be required. For individual DA permits, the decision whether to approve the mitigation bank will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activities on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit that reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposals must be balanced against their reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors that may be relevant to the proposals will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; of those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Any person may submit cumulative impact information, which is substantive and specifically associated with the proposed actions. In addition, the evaluation of the impact of the activities on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, USEPA, under the authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. Written statements on these factors received in this office on or before the expiration date of this Public Notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final determination.
SOLICITATION OF COMMENTS: 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 proposed mitigation bank. For accuracy and completeness of the administrative record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed work should be submitted in writing setting forth sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to approve, modify, condition or deny these proposals. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD: All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before the close of the comment period listed on page one of this Public Notice. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:
United States Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: CELRH-RD-E (Public Notice No. LRH-2018-00293-MUS – Unnamed Tributary to Buffalo Fork)
502 Eighth Street
Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070.
Please note comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record and, as such, are available to the public under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Thank you for your interest in our Nation's water resources. If you have any questions concerning this public notice, please contact Mr. Cory Wilson at the above address, by telephone at (330) 365-4271, or by email at email@example.com.