TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The district engineer has received a Prospectus proposing the establishment of a mitigation bank to provide compensatory mitigation for Federal and State permits 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 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 332). The purpose of this Public Notice is to inform you of the proposed ecological restoration work and to solicit your comments and information to better enable us to make a reasonable decision on factors affecting the public interest.
INTERAGENCY REVIEW TEAM: As indicated in the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (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 In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Programs. 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 proposals. 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).
SPONSOR: Hondros Family of Companies
170 N. Sunbury Road
Westerville, Ohio 43081
LOCATION: The sponsor proposes the establishment and management of the Woodtown Mitigation Bank, involving an approximately 17-acre site located north of Woodtown Road and east of State Route 605 in Sunbury, Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio (latitude 40.19037, longitude -82.78962).
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTIVITY: The sponsor has submitted a proposal to develop the Woodtown Mitigation Bank to provide stream mitigation credits that may be used as compensatory mitigation for unavoidable losses to waters authorized under separate permit actions in accordance with 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §325, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §6111, and Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) §3745-1-54 and pursuant to 33 CFR §332. The sponsor proposes to conduct aquatic ecosystem restoration by restoring existing, degraded stream channel and riparian area adjacent to unaffiliated wetland restoration in partnership with the USDA-NRCS. A complete copy of the Woodtown Wetlands Stream Mitigation Bank Prospectus; Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio; September 29, 2023, is available for review upon the completion of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The sponsor proposes a geographic service area (GSA) of the Upper Scioto (HUC 05060001), subbasin for federally jurisdictional waters. The use of mitigation credits outside the GSA may also be considered for compensatory mitigation of impacts authorized by the Corps and Ohio EPA on a case-by-case basis.
The sponsor has indicated that the overall project goal is the restoration of hydrologic and ecological functions for the existing stream along with the associated riparian area to produce compensatory mitigation credits that for use withing the defined service area. The mitigation objectives include restoring floodplain connectivity, addressing channel entrenchment and eroding banks, reducing nutrient loading, improving habitat and water quality, rehabilitation of the riparian area, and the establishment of long-term protections for the restored area.
Overall, the sponsor estimates successful implementation of the project could result in the production of 4,450 stream credits. The credits produced by the mitigation bank may be utilized to fulfill compensatory mitigation obligations to offset 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 (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) of 1899.
As proposed, the mitigation work plan would involve the restoration of 2,225 linear feet of stream channel and roughly 17 acres of associated riparian area. The sponsor stated the site would be constructed, maintained, and monitored based on specific performance standards. The mitigation credits produced by the mitigation bank would be eligible for release after demonstrating achievement of the established performance criteria and in accordance with an approved credit release schedule. A financial assurance would be provided to assure the site success and the sponsor will secure the mitigation bank by recording a permanent environmental covenant or conservation easement to protect the site.
The sponsor intends to serve as the long-term steward upon the completion of active monitoring/management and site release and/or closure. A conceptual long-term management plan has been proposed and will be finalized based upon the findings during monitoring period. The final long-term management plan shall be consistent with the site protection and overall mitigation goals. The sponsor will also establish an endowment sufficient to fund long-term management activities which would also be transferred to the steward upon site release and/or closure. Until such time that the long-term steward and management plan are finalized and approved by the Corps, the sponsor would retain any and all long-term management obligations.
Location and details of the proposed site are shown on the attached documents (Sheets 1-5).
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PERMITS: The establishment and management of the proposed mitigation bank is being considered in conjunction with a mitigation bank instrument. Additionally, a Department of the Army (DA) permit would be required under Section 404 for project activities that are proposed within the mitigation work plan. Project activities would be evaluated under the Nationwide Permit No. 27 described in the December 27, 2021, Federal Register, Reissuance and Modification of Nationwide Permits (86 FR 73522).
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 known historic properties currently listed on the NRHP within the area to be affected by the proposed 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. If you wish to provide comments or objections regarding the effect of the proposed 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 initial coordination with the USFWS concerning threatened or endangered species, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended). Two (2) federally listed endangered species [Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)] and two (2) federally listed proposed endangered species [tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) and salamander mussel (Simpsonaias ambigua)] have the potential to occur within the vicinity of the project area.
The proposed activities would be expected to result in overall habitat improvements. Based on the nature of the proposed project, this office has initially determined the proposed project may affect but would not likely adversely affect either the Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, tricolored bat, and would have no effect to the salamander mussel. 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. 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 project site 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 Sections 401 or 404 of the CWA or Section 10 of the RHA for activities in conjunction with the establishment of this site. 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 Department of the Army permits, the decision whether to approve the 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 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 (1) of this Public Notice. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments should be submitted electronically to Mr. Wes Barnett by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have internet access, comments may be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the following address:
United States Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District
502 Eighth Street
Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070
ATTN: Wes Barnett (CELRH-RDE)
Woodtown Mitigation Bank
Public Notice No. LRH-2021-00942-OHR – UT to Hoover Reservoir
Copies should only be provided through the USPS when electronic transmission is not possible. Precautionary internal mail handling procedures may be instituted to protect our workforce, which may result in longer than normal times to process and receive hard copy submissions. To be considered in our evaluation, comments submitted through the USPS should have a postmark dated on, or prior to, the close of the comment period listed on page one (1) of this Public Notice.
Please note names, addresses, and comments submitted 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 aquatic resources. If you have any questions concerning this Public Notice, please contact Mr. Wes Barnett at the above address, by telephone at (304) 399-6905, or by email at email@example.com.