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PN13-55 NAB-2008-01083 (Maple Dam Conservation, LLC/Maple Dam Mitigation Bank) - Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, Talbot, Worcester and portions of Caroline Counties

Posted: 9/12/2013

Expiration date: 10/12/2013


Public Notice                                                                                                                                                             

U.S. Army Corps  of Engineers

Baltimore District             

                                      In Reply Refer to NAB-2008-01083(Maple Dam

                                      Conservation, LLC/Maple Dam Mitigation Bank)                                 

           

PN 13-55                       Comment Period: September 12, 2013 to October 12, 2013

 

The Baltimore District Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are 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 revisions and additions to Maple Dam Conservation, LLC /Maple Dam Mitigation Bank and the potential of the proposed mitigation bank to provide appropriate compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army and/or State of Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Act permits. 

At this time, no decision has been made as to whether or not a permit will be issued or if proposed revisions to the existing “Maple Dam Mitigation Bank” will be approved.  We are requesting your comments to determine if approval should be granted for the proposed revisions to the existing compensatory wetland mitigation bank known as the Maple Dam Mitigation Bank.  The purpose of the proposed revisions to the mitigation bank is to bring the existing Bank into consistency with the terms of the 2008 Mitigation Rule, to expand the existing Bank’s geographic service area and to continue to provide compensatory mitigation for projects that result in unavoidable wetland impacts authorized by the Department of the Army and State of Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Act permits and for future development projects.  The proposed primary service area would be in the Tangier Sound drainage basin (USGS hydrologic unit code (HUC) 02080110), the Nanticoke River drainage basin HUC (02080109), and the portion of the Choptank River drainage basin HUC (02060005) from Route 404 to the southern-most boundary of that HUC within the State of Maryland.  The secondary service area would include the Pocomoke-Western Lower Delmarva HUC (02080111) in the State of Maryland.  This would include all of Dorchester County, Wicomico County, Somerset County and portions of Caroline County, Talbot County, and Worcester County, Maryland.

In addition, we are soliciting comments to consider in our evaluation of the impacts to Waters of the United States for the construction of this Bank that requires DA authorization pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).   A preliminary review indicates that the proposed work may qualify for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) authorization under Nationwide Permit 27, Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities.   The Nationwide Permit has undergone a full public interest review as required by Corps regulations (33 CFR 320.4(a)), and NEPA documentation has been prepared that addresses environmental considerations.  A field review of the proposal indicates that there are waters of the United States, including wetlands within the project area.  These areas are regulated pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and the work described below will require Department of the Army authorization.  The project will also require a MDE authorization. 

 

The Corps and MDE have received a Wetland Mitigation Bank prospectus to establish, design, construct, and operate Phases 2 and 3 of the existing compensatory Maple Dam Mitigation Bank, expand the existing Bank’s Phase 1 and proposed Phase 2 and 3 geographic service area, and bring the entire existing Maple Dam Mitigation Bank into consistency with the terms of the 2008 Mitigation Rule.  This attached prospectus provides a summary of the information regarding the proposed Mitigation Bank and is in accordance with the Department of Defense/Environmental Protection Agency Final Rule on Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (33 CFR Parts 325 and 332 and 40 CFR Part 320) and MDE’s Mitigation Banking regulations.

 

Oversight of this Mitigation Bank will be undertaken by the Maryland Interagency Review Team (IRT), which is comprised of Federal and State regulatory and resource agencies.  The Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers serves as chair of the IRT and the Maryland Department of the Environment serves as co-chair of the IRT.

 

The purpose of this proposed Bank is to provide compensatory mitigation for future unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources, including nontidal wetlands that result from activities authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and the Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Protection Act, provided such use has met all applicable requirements and is authorized by the appropriate authority(s).  The Mitigation Bank would be used to comply with the special condition mitigation requirements of permitted projects by providing in-kind compensation for authorized wetlands losses.  The Mitigation Bank may only be used for future projects after all appropriate and practical steps to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to aquatic resources, including nontidal wetlands and streams have been taken.  All remaining unavoidable impacts must be compensated to the extent appropriate and practicable.    

 

The final mitigation instrument does not provide ultimate DA and/or State authorization for specific future projects impacting Waters of the United States, exclude such future projects from any applicable statutory or regulatory requirements, or preauthorize the use of credits from the Bank for any particular project.  The Corps provides no guarantee that any particular individual or general permit will be granted authorization to use this Mitigation Bank to compensate for unavoidable aquatic resource impacts associated with a proposed permit, even though compensatory mitigation credits may be available within the proposed defined service area.

APPLICANT/BANK SPONSOR:  Maple Dam Conservation, LLC                                                                                   

                                                     Mr. Don Miko

                                                     P.O. Box 33

                                                     Fork, Maryland  21051

 

PROJECT LOCATION:  The 42-acre Bank is located approximately 3.5 miles south of the City of Cambridge, in the headwaters of the Little Blackwater River, on the east side of Maple Dam Road, Dorchester County, Maryland, presently owned by Don Miko of Maple Dam Conservation, LLC.  The Latitude of the bank is 38° 29” 50.50” N and the Longitude is 076° 04” 55.14”W

 

BANK DESCRIPTION:  Phase 1 of the Maple Dam Mitigation Bank has been constructed, planted and monitored for five years such that a release of that phase on the Bank was received from the IRT in 2012.  The Sponsor proposes, in accordance with the attached plans, to establish, design, construct, and operate Phases 2 and 3 of the compensatory Maple Dam Mitigation Bank, expand the existing Bank’s Phase 1 and proposed Phase 2 and 3 geographic service area, and bring the entire Maple Dam Mitigation Bank into consistency with the terms of the 2008 Mitigation Rule.  The parcel for Phases 2 and 3 is presently a farmed cropfield consisting of a total of 25.35 acres.  The site presently consists of crop stubble with a ditch bisecting Phases 2 and 3 and other surrounding drainage ditches.  The Mitigation Bank will be subject to a Mitigation Banking instrument that institutes guidelines and responsibilities for the establishment, use operation and maintenance of the proposed Bank. 

 

The sponsor has proposed, for purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the primary geographic service area (GSA) of the Mitigation Bank site to include the Tangier Sound drainage basin (USGS hydrologic unit code (HUC) 02080110), the Nanticoke River drainage basin HUC (02080109), and the portion of the Choptank River drainage basin HUC (02060005) from Route 404 to the southern-most boundary of that HUC within the State of Maryland.  (See Exhibit B of the Prospectus)  

 

The design objectives of the proposed mitigation bank consist of plugging of the main jurisdictional ditch that bisects Phases 2 and 3, the construction of low berms to maintain wetland hydrology, scuffing the area by bulldozer to create more effective micro topography and small ephemeral ponds, removal of excess soil, trucking in and incorporating organic material into the soil evenly across the site, trucking in and placing large stumps and logs evenly around the site, and planting a cover crop to provide natural fertilizer and soil preparation.  Once the site is prepared, it will be planted with wetland trees and shrubs plus certain areas seeded with a wetland emergent seed mix to create the natural wetland environment that is native to the Geographic Service Area of this Bank.   Wetland hydrology will be provided by the seasonal high water table and direct precipitation.  The Elkton soils prevent rapid percolation of rainwater resulting in temporary ponding of depressions for various time periods.

 

The overall proposed goal of the Mitigation Bank is to make available 42.0 acres of wetland mitigation on a hydric soil crop field in order to provide effective off-site mitigation, through the reestablishment of forested, scrub/shrub and emergent wetland habitat in three separate phases.  

 

Wetland Types in Each Bank Phase

 

Seasonal Water/Emergent

Emergent

Scrub-Shrub

Forested

Phase I (16.64 acres)

0.39

0

0.14

16.11

Phase II (15.26 acres)

0.40

0.78

0.69

13.39

Phase III (10.09 acres)

0.56

0.65

0.30

8.58

 

 

WORK REQUIRING CORPS AND MDE AUTHORIZATION:

 

The total impacts of approximately 300 square feet for the reestablishment of wetlands on a hydric soil crop field would include the installation of a ditch plug within the main jurisdictional ditch that bisects proposed Phases 2 and 3.  A 10-foot wide by 30-foot long ditch plug will be constructed by removing an existing culvert and filling with approximately 7 cubic yards of clean fill material.

 

The above mitigation impacts are shown in Exhibit D, Proposed Mitigation Work Plan.

 
A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work will not affect listed species or their critical habitat pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act as amended.  As the evaluation of this proposal continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination. 

Review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that no registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion therein are located at the site of the proposed work.  Currently, no known archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the requested permit for the mitigation bank construction.  As the evaluation of this proposal continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.

 

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  The proposed project is not located in Essential Fish Habitat and is not likely to affect EFH.

 

The decision whether to adopt these changes to the Mitigation Bank instrument and issue a permit would be based upon an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts to the proposed Bank on the public interest.  That decision would reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, 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, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

 

All work is to be completed in accordance with the approved plan (s) and exhibits, which are available for review at the Baltimore Corps District Office, and the Maryland Department of the Environment, both in Baltimore, Maryland.  If you have any questions concerning this matter or wish to review the appendices, please contact Ms. Kelly Neff, MDE, at (410) 537-4018 (kelly.neff@maryland.gov) or Mr. Eugene Morgenthaler, Corps, at (410) 820-8629 (eugene.j.morgenthaler@usace.army.mil).

 

The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.

 

It is requested that you communicate the foregoing information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.

 

Written comments concerning the activity described above must be submitted directly to the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Attn: CENAB-OP-RMS, P.O. Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland, 21203-1715 and/or the Water Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.

 

The permit tracking number for this project is (Maple Dam Conservation, LLC / Maple Dam Mitigation Bank,) 2008-01083

 

Attachments:

 

Maple Dam Wetland Mitigation Bank Modification Upgrade to 2008 Wetland Regulations dated July 2013

 

 

FOR THE DISTRICT ENGINEER:

 

 

 

 

                                                Kathy B. Anderson

                                                Chief, Maryland Section Southern

                                                U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

additions comments Maple Dam mitigation bank revisions