preserve 16.0 acres of PFO wetlands, 19.1 acres of emergent wetlands, 2.8 acres of PUB and 2.1 acres of upland forest within the 40 acre Indiana Bat Roosting site.
The construction for off-site compensatory mitigation areas would be performed prior to (or concurrent with) the initiation of proposed discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States and would be completed within the two (2) growing seasons. Within the majority of the wetland restoration areas, existing tile inlets and outlets would be removed, and the main runs would be perforated on intervals sufficient to prevent groundwater flow paths from higher elevations to lower elevations within the project area. The trenches would then be backfilled and graded to original contour. Additional restoration activities would include, but would not be limited to, removing existing berms and/or levees, excavating areas, plugging drain pipes, grading ditches, establishing meandering channels, removing W-ditches, lateral ditches, and Water and Sediment Control Basins. Woody stems would be planted with a mechanical setter. As the trees and shrubs are unpacked, they would be mixed to diversity specs, placed in buckets of treated water, and these buckets would be provided directly to the mechanical planter. IRIS tubes or hydroperiod data loggers would be installed within restored and established wetlands to support and demonstrate achievement of appropriate hydrologic conditions.
Each compensatory mitigation area would be clearly marked with permanent signage and access roads would be closed to restrict unauthorized entry. Livestock grazing, mowing, and similar activities would not be allowed. The use of chicken wire, hardware cloth, repellants, or other materials would be employed as appropriate to minimize and prevent beaver damage, as may be necessary. Other appropriate and reasonable measures would be taken to prevent the mitigation area(s) from being disturbed except by those activities that would not adversely affect the intended extent, condition, and function of the mitigation areas. The applicant has proposed to place conservation easements on the majority of the compensatory mitigation areas as indicated on Table 6.
In accordance with the 2008 Mitigation Rule, performance standards and success criteria, established by the application of assessments and/or suitable metrics, would be outlined and implemented as requirements. Channel stability, stream functions, aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates, water quality, and vegetation survival would be monitored along each compensatory mitigation reach, with the exception of biotic monitoring in the ephemeral reaches, for a minimum of 10 years following the completion of construction. Vegetation, soils, hydrology and Hydrogeomorphic Method Functional Capacity Index would be monitored at each wetland mitigation area. This monitoring would span up to 10 years, but may be extended based upon a determination that performance standards have not been met. The applicant’s compensatory mitigation plan includes a maintenance plan, a long-term management plan (which would extend for 10 years following mitigation site release), adaptive management plan (includes root cause analysis and potential corrective actions), and financial assurances to ensure a high level of confidence that the compensatory mitigation projects would be successfully completed, in accordance with applicable performance standards.
The proposed compensatory mitigation plan is open for comments and is subject to change based on comments received. After review of all the submitted information, the Corps will make a determination of appropriate compensatory mitigation, in the event a decision is made to issue a DA Permit.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION (WQC): An individual Section 401 WQC is required for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States. The applicant’s WQC application is currently under evaluation by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and it has been determined there are no properties currently listed on the NRHP that would be indirectly or directly affected by the proposed compensatory mitigation work. The applicant will conduct and submit Phase I archaeological surveys for all off-site compensatory mitigation projects to the Corps and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review and comment. A copy of this Public Notice will be provided to the SHPO. No DA Permit will be issued until the Corps has verified that all obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act have been fulfilled.
ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES: Each of the off-site compensatory mitigation areas are located within the known or historic range of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis sepentrionalis). No caves, portals or mine openings are located within any of the proposed off-site compensatory mitigation areas. The project would involve stream and wetland restoration and preservation work performed within agricultural fields. The proposed off-site compensatory mitigation measures would have no effect on the Indiana bat or the northern long-eared bat. This Public Notice serves as coordination with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service concerning any information they may have on whether any listed or proposed to be listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the proposed compensatory mitigation activities, pursuant to Section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).
PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW AND CUMULATIVE EFFECTS: As previously indicated in the Public Notice No. LRH-2018-00738-OHR, issued by the Corps on 21 September 2018, the Seven Hills Mine DA permittee application will be reviewed in accordance with 33 CFR 320‑332, the Regulatory Program of the Corps, and other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders. Our evaluation will also follow guidelines published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act (40 CFR 230). The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits that reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors that may be relevant to the proposal 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.
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 impacts of this proposed activity. 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 issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. 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:
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: CELRH-RD-N Public Notice: LRH-2018-00738-OHR
502 Eighth Street
Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070
Please note that names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this Public Notice become part of our administrative record, and, as such, may be 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 Teresa Spagna of the North Branch at (304) 399-5210.