U.S. Army Corps In Reply to Application Number
of Engineers CENAB-OPR-P-2017-00447-P02 (LRG Statewide Umbrella Mitigation
PN 17-35 Comment Period: July 28, 2017 to August 28, 2017
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLIC NOTICE IS TO SOLICIT COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC CONCERNING THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF A PRIVATE COMMERCIAL STATEWIDE UMBRELLA MITIGATION BANKING INSTRUMENT, THE PROPOSED TUNNEL ROAD MITIGATION BANK, THE PROPOSED MITIGATION BANK PROSPECTUS, AND THE POTENTIAL OF THE PROPOSED MITIGATION BANK TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE COMPENSATORY MITIGATION FOR ACTIVITIES AUTHORIZED BY DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PERMITS.
At this time, no decision has been made as to whether or not a permit will be issued, or whether the proposed Land Reclamation Group (LRG) “LRG Statewide Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument”, including the Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank, will be approved. The Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank is proposed as the initial mitigation bank site under the LRG Statewide Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument. We are requesting comments to determine if approval should be granted for the establishment of a statewide Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument (UMBI), the proposed location of the Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank as a commercial mitigation bank site, and the conceptual mitigation plan, for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for unavoidable aquatic resource impacts, including wetlands and streams, authorized by Department of the Army (DA) permits.
At this time, a complete application for work in waters of the United States to construct the proposed Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank has not been received. A review of the proposal indicates that the work described below is proposed to occur in areas identified as waters and/or wetlands and therefore may require Department of the Army authorization. A preliminary review indicates that the proposed work may qualify for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) authorization under the Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit-5 (PASPGP-5) or by Nationwide Permit (NWP) #27 (Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities). Both the PASPGP-5 and NWP #27 have 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 copy of the proposed LRG Statewide Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument prospectus is available on-line in association with this public notice posted on the Baltimore District Regulatory Homepage, at http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/. A hard copy of the full prospectus is available to the public for review upon request. This prospectus provides a summary of the information regarding the proposed statewide UMBI and Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank 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 230).
Oversight of this Mitigation Bank will be undertaken by the Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection serves as co-chair the IRT.
APPLICANT/BANK SPONSOR: Land Reclamation Group
Attn: Michael Barrick
632 Hunt Valley Circle
New Kensington, Pennsylvania 15068
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank is located in Allegheny Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania (39.969672, -78.793430). The physical mitigation bank site address is 449 Tunnel Road, New Baltimore, Pennsylvania, 15553. The bank sponsor proposes to use approximately 7 acres for the establishment of the mitigation bank.
BANK DESCRIPTION: The proposed Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank would provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable wetland and stream channel impacts authorized by the Corps. The proposed mitigation bank would involve the re-establishment of 5.14 acres of palustrine emergent, scrub-shrub and forested wetlands, and the enhancement of 2.34 acres of wetlands into palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands. The proposed mitigation bank also involves the enhancement of 3,580 linear feet of two degraded perennial stream channels: Three Lick Run and an unnamed tributary to Three Lick Run. The approximate 7 acre mitigation bank site is proposed to receive long-term protection through a Conservation Easement. The proposed geographic service area for the Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank is the six digit 020503 HUC Lower Susquehanna River watershed, including five subbasins corresponding to the Pennsylvania State Water Plan: the Upper Central Susquehanna River Subbasin (5); Lower Central Susquehanna River Subbasin (6), Lower Susquehanna River Subbasin (7); Upper Juniata River Subbasin (11); and the Lower Juniata River Subbasin (12).
WORK REQUIRING DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AUTHORIZATION: A Clean Water Act jurisdictional determination has not been performed for the proposed 7 acre mitigation bank site. The mitigation bank construction may permanently and/or temporarily impact potential jurisdictional waters and wetlands through the discharge of dredged and/or fill material, including grading activities. A preliminary review indicates that the proposed work may qualify for Corps authorization under the Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit-5 (PASPGP-5) or Nationwide Permit (NWP) #27 (Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities). The proposed work must receive approval by the Corps prior to construction activities.
The purpose of the proposed statewide UMBI and Tunnel Road Mitigation Bank is to provide compensatory mitigation for future unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources that result from activities permitted by the Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The mitigation bank would be used to comply with special conditions for compensatory mitigation requirements of permitted projects by providing compensation for authorized aquatic resource impacts. The mitigation bank may only be used for future projects after all appropriate and practicable steps to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to aquatic resources, including wetlands and streams, have been demonstrated. Remaining unavoidable aquatic resource impacts must be compensated to the extent appropriate and practicable. The utilization of approved and established mitigation banks with available credits is given preference to other forms of compensatory mitigation in the hierarchy of potential mitigation options as contained in the Final Rule on Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources.
The final mitigation banking instrument does not provide ultimate Department of the Army 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 permit 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 may be available within the defined service area.
The decision whether to approve this mitigation bank and issue a permit for impacts to waters of the United States 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 benefit, which reasonable 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, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.
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 unknown 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 Corps of Engineers 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. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to approve the mitigation bank, and 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 provided will become part of the public record for this action. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Carlisle Regulatory Field Office, 401 East Louther Street, Suite 205, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 17013, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.
The applicant must obtain any state or local government permits which may be required.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mr. Michael Danko, Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (717) 249-8730 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It is requested that you communicate the foregoing information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.
FOR THE DISTRICT ENGINEER
Wade B. Chandler
Acting Chief, Regulatory Branch