TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The district engineer has received a request to modify an approved in-lieu fee program (ILFP) instrument to implement an ILFP project within the United States (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Huntington District regulatory boundary as described in this Public Notice. This Public Notice 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 purpose of this Public Notice is to inform you of the proposed ILFP project and to solicit your comments and information to better able us to make a reasonable decision on factors affecting the public interest.
INTERAGENCY REVIEW TEAM: As indicated in the Corps’ regulations (33 CFR 332.8(b)), the district engineer has established an Interagency Review Team (IRT) to review documentation for the establishment and management of mitigation banks and ILFPs. The Corps, 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. The Ohio IRT is presently comprised of the Corps (Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA).
ILFP SPONSOR: The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
6375 Riverside Drive, Suite 100
Dublin, Ohio 43017-5045
LOCATION: The proposed ILFP project is located on a 45.9 acre site approximately 0.9 mile east of the intersection of Port Union Rialto Road and Rialto Road in West Chester Township, Butler County, Ohio (latitude 39.324738o, -84.447346o).
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTIVITY: TNC, the sponsor, operates an approved ILFP, which includes the Middle Ohio-Laughery watershed (Hydrologic Unit Code: 05090203) as one of its established geographic service areas. They have submitted a proposal to modify their approved ILFP instrument to implement an ILFP project identified as the Rialto Marsh In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Project within the Middle Ohio-Laughery watershed.
The sponsor states the primary objectives of the proposed ILFP project are the restoration of streams, wetlands, and associated buffers. Their goal is to institute an ecologically sound, well-developed and feasible restoration plan to generate in-kind mitigation credits to fulfill advance credits sold in the Middle Ohio-Laughery watershed through their ILFP for activities authorized by the Corps and the Ohio EPA. A complete copy of the February 2020 Rialto Marsh In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Plan is available upon request.
The sponsor indicates the proposed ILFP project has been identified and selected in accordance with the Compensation Planning Framework of their approved ILFP instrument. The sponsor proposes to generate approximately 1,480 stream mitigation credits and 9.0 wetland mitigation credits, as summarized in Table I, below.
Proposed Credit Generation
The sponsor proposes specific performance standards for the ILFP project based on measures of physical, chemical, and/or biological integrity. Following completion of construction, the sponsor would submit an as-built report to the Ohio IRT. The ILFP project would be annually monitored relative to the achievement of the performance standards for a minimum period of 10 years. The sponsor would provide monitoring reports to the Ohio IRT describing the findings of the monitoring activities. The sponsor has indicated financial assurances would be provided to help ensure a high level of confidence that the ILFP project would be successfully completed, in accordance with its performance standards.
A long-term management plan would be developed, including identification of a long-term manager, a description of long-term management needs, annual cost estimates for those needs, and a funding mechanism to meet those needs. The sponsor proposes to provide long-term protection of the approximately 45.9 acre ILFP project site through the use of an environmental covenant. The site protection instrument would prohibit uses incompatible with the goals and objectives of the proposed ILFP project.
Location and details of the proposed ILFP project are shown on the attached documents (Sheets 1 through 7).
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: A Section 401 Water Quality Certification may be required from the Ohio EPA.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: This undertaking 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 within the proposed ILFP project permit area. 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 ILFP project 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). Three (3) federally-listed endangered species (Indiana bat [Myotis sodalis], rayed bean mussel [Villosa fabalis], and running buffalo clover [Trifolium stoloniferum]) and one (1) federally-listed threatened species (northern long-eared bat [Myotis septentrionalis]) may occur within the proposed ILFP project area. The proposed ILFP project would involve mitigation activities expected to result in wetland and stream ecological improvements. Based on the nature of the proposed ILFP project, this office has determined the proposed ILFP project may affect, but would not likely adversely affect any of the aforementioned threatened or endangered species.
This Public Notice serves as a request for concurrence from the USFWS regarding the aforementioned effect determination and/or 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. 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. 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 ILFP project 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 Department of the Army (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 ILFP project. 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 ILFP project 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. 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 ILFP project. 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:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: CELRH-RD-E Public Notice No. LRH-2019-00668-OHR
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, 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 Mr. Cory Wilson at the above address, by telephone at (330) 365-4271, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.