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LRH 2015-493

Published Aug. 26, 2015
Expiration date: 9/25/2015

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: A prospectus has been submitted pursuant to 33 CFR 332 proposing the establishment of an In Lieu Fee Program (ILFP) to provide mitigation for impacts to waters of the United States (U.S.) under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (Section 404) and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (Section 10) with primary service areas in forty three (43) eight-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) watersheds in the State of Ohio, within the boundaries of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts.  The purpose of this public notice is to solicit comments from the public regarding the establishment of the proposed ILFP.

This is not an application for work in federally regulated waters; however, authorization under Sections 404 and Section 10 may be required for implementation of particular mitigation sites later proposed under the ILFP, if approved.  Such sites would be advertised under separate public notices.  No decision has been made as to whether this ILFP will be approved. 

IN-LIEU FEE PROGRAM DEFINITION: An ILFP is a program involving the restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation of aquatic resources through funds paid to a governmental or non-profit natural resources management entity to satisfy compensatory mitigation requirements for DA permits.  In addition, an ILFP may be used to satisfy compensatory mitigation requirements for isolated or non-jurisdictional waters[1]. Similar to a mitigation bank, an ILFP sells compensatory mitigation credits to permittees whose obligation to provide compensatory mitigation is then transferred to the ILFP sponsor.

 

ESTABLISHMENT/OPERATION OF THE ILFP:  DA permits authorizing the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. often require  compensatory mitigation to offset  aquatic (stream and/or wetland) losses by restoring, enhancing, or in exceptional circumstances, preserving streams or wetlands.  Authorized ILFPs provide the Corps and the regulated public with an additional option of compensatory mitigation for offsetting the loss of aquatic resource.  The establishment and implementation of an ILFP must be in accordance with an ILFP instrument approved by the Interagency Review Team (IRT).  The Ohio IRT is presently comprised of the Corps (Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.  The Huntington District Regulatory Division is the lead district for the State of Ohio and serves as the chair of the Ohio IRT to address programmatic initiatives and processing of all statewide or multiple District prospectuses. 

 

If the prospectus is deemed sufficient, the ILFP will be established through the development of an ILFP instrument to be signed by the sponsor, the Corps, and other IRT members.  The process will follow 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (“Mitigation Rule”).  The Mitigation Rule was published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2008.  The ILFP would provide another option for compensatory mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S.  It may also provide an alternate type of mitigation for Civil Works projects requiring compensation for impacts to aquatic resources as well as providing a resource for use in resolving Section 404 enforcement cases. 

 

APPLICANT:            Conservation Foundation of America

                                  P.O. Box 23

                                  Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110

 

PURPOSE: The Conservation Foundation of America (CFA) has submitted a prospectus to the Huntington District to initiate the development of a stream and wetland ILFP to meet compensatory mitigation requirements for future permits issued under Section 404 and Section 10. The purpose of the prospectus is to establish guidelines, responsibilities, and standards for the establishment, use, operation, and maintenance of the program in a way that complies with the regulations governing compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of Army (DA) permits granted by the Corps. 

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTIVITY: Information required for a complete ILFP prospectus is outlined in 33 CFR 332.8(d)(2).  A complete copy of the prospectus is posted on the Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts’ websites:

 

http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/ActionsandNotices/PublicNotices.aspx  

http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx

http://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx 

 

The prospectus is also available for review in each of the offices listed on Attachment A. Optimal times to review the prospectus would be between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Please call the respective point of contact (POC) listed on Attachment A to arrange a time for any office reviews.

 

PROPOSED SERVICE AREA: The ILFP is proposed within forty three (43) eight-digit HUC watershed primary service areas within the geographic boundaries of the Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Huntington Districts in Ohio as follows:

 

 

Ottowa-Stony                            HUC 04100001

Upper Ohio-Shade                    HUC 05030202

Raisin                                        HUC 04100002

Hocking                                    HUC 05030204

St. Joeseph                                HUC 04100003

Tuscarawas                               HUC 05040001

St. Mary’s                                 HUC 04100004

Mohican                                    HUC 05040002

Upper Maumee                         HUC 04100005

Walhonding                              HUC 05040003

Tiffin                                         HUC 04100006

Muskingum                               HUC 05040004

Auglaize                                    HUC 04100007

Wills                                          HUC 05040005

Blanchard                                  HUC 04100008

Licking                                      HUC 05040006

Lower Maumee                         HUC 04100009

Upper Scioto River                   HUC 05060001

Cedar-Portage                           HUC 04100010

Lower Scioto                             HUC 05040002

Sandusky                                   HUC 04100011

Paint                                          HUC 05040003

Huron and Vermilion                HUC 04100012

Upper Great Miami                   HUC 05080001

Black and Rocky                       HUC 04110001

Lower Great Miami                  HUC 05080002

Cuyahoga                                  HUC 04110002

Whitewater                               HUC 05080003

Ashtabula-Chagrin                    HUC 04110003

Raccoon                                    HUC 05090101

Grand                                        HUC 04110004

Little Scioto-Tygarts                 HUC 05090103

Chautauqua-Conneaut              HUC 04120101

Ohio Brush-Whiteoak               HUC 05090201

Upper Ohio                               HUC 05030101

Little Miami                              HUC 05090202

Shenango                                  HUC 05003102

Middle Ohio-Laughery             HUC 05090203

Mahoning                                  HUC 05030103

Upper Wabash                          HUC 05120101

Upper-Ohio Wheeling              HUC 05030106

Mississinewa                             HUC 05120103

Little Muskingum                     HUC 05030201

 

 

Each primary service area would a have secondary service area that includes the remainder of the six-digit HUC watershed in which each respective primary service area occurs.

 

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT: The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Federally-recognized Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the proposed ILFP.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps in determining whether to allow the sponsor to proceed to develop a draft ILFP instrument.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. 

PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this prospectus.  The requests for public hearing shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.  The District Engineer will determine if the issues raised are substantial and whether a hearing will be conducted.

 

COMMENTS OR REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Comments submitted in response to this notice will be fully considered during the review for this prospectus.  All written comments will be made part of the administrative record which is available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.  Copies of comments received will be forwarded to the sponsor and to the members of the IRT.    

This notice is promulgated in accordance with Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 320-332.  Any interested party desiring to comment on the proposed prospectus described herein may do so by submitting their comments in writing so they are received no later than the closing date of this notice.

All responses to this notice should reference the public notice number (LRH-2015-493) and be directed to the Huntington District Regulatory Division at the above address.  Please contact Mr. Cory Wilson with any questions pertaining to this public notice or the prospectus at the above address, by telephone at (330) 365-4271, or by email at cory.l.wilson@usace.army.mil. 

 

Attachment A:

 

In addition to viewing the complete copy of the prospectus on the Buffalo, Huntington, and Pittsburgh Districts’ websites, individuals may also make arrangements to review the prospectus at the following office locations:

 

Cincinnati Field Office, 10557 McKelvery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45240

POC: Mr. Cory Wilson, 330-365-4271, cory.l.wilson@usace.army.mil

 

Dillon Lake Field Office, 4969 Dillon Dam Road, Zanesville, Ohio 43701

POC: Mr. Cory Wilson, 330-365-4271, cory.l.wilson@usace.army.mil

 

Dover Field Office, 5336 SR 800, NE, Dover, Ohio 44622

POC: Mr. Cory Wilson, 330-365-4271, cory.l.wilson@usace.army.mil

 

Oak Harbor Field Office, 240 Lake Street, Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449

POC: Mr. Mark Gronceski, 440-437-5847, mark.e.gronceski@usace.army.mil

 

Orwell Field Office, 33 Grand Valley Avenue, Orwell, Ohio 44076

POC: Mr. Mark Gronceski, 440-437-5847, mark.e.gronceski@usace.army.mil

 

Pittsburgh District Office, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

POC: Mr. Donald Bole, 412-395-7576, donald.r.bole@usace.army.mil

 

Stow Field Office, 1100 Graham Road Circle, Stow, Ohio 44224

POC: Mr. Mark Gronceski, 440-437-5847, mark.e.gronceski@usace.army.mil



[1] Isolated or non-jurisdictional waters are not subject to regulation under the Corps’ regulatory authority pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  If approved by the State of Ohio, the proposed ILFP may also be used as compensatory mitigation for activities authorized under Ohio Revised Code (ORC Chapter 6111) which authorizes the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to regulate all waters of the State.