PN13-68 (US Army, APG-G-Field and Graces Quarters-Aerostat Platforms) 2013-61848-M02 - Baltimore County

Published Dec. 12, 2013
Expiration date: 1/31/2014




The Community College of Baltimore County, Essex

7201 Rossville Boulevard

Administration Building, Room 137

Baltimore, MD 21237-3899

6:00 pm-7:00 pm Poster Session

7:00 pm Public Hearing


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (USACE) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) joint public hearing provides members of the public the opportunity to present views, opinions, and information which will be considered by the USACE and MDE in evaluating the permit application.  The purpose of the hearing is for the USACE and MDE to receive oral or written comments that will enable them to evaluate the impacts of the proposed project on the public interest.  All interested parties, including representatives of Federal, State, and local governments and private individuals and organizations, are invited to be present or to be represented.  Each will be given an opportunity to express their views regarding the proposed project.


Prior to the public hearing, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, a poster session will be held where the public will have an opportunity to review exhibits and ask general questions of the applicant, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and their representatives regarding the permit application and the Environmental Assessment. Representatives from the USACE and MDE will also be available during the poster session.  Beginning at 7:00 pm, the formal public hearing will begin with agency statements, followed by public testimony.  Please note that a time limit of three minutes per speaker may be set, depending on the number of speakers, to ensure that all interested parties have an opportunity to voice their views.  The public hearing will be recorded and transcribed.


Anyone who is hearing impaired and/or is non-English speaking who wishes to attend the public hearing should notify Mr. Jon Romeo at 410-962-6079 or in writing to his address below.  All requests for an oral, sign language, or non- English language interpreter must be received by January 3, 2014.  To the extent possible and feasible, an interpreter will be provided.


The USACE and MDE have received and are evaluating a joint permit application as described below for Department of the Army authorization pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) and State authorization pursuant  Title 5, Subtitle 9 (Nontidal Wetlands) of the Environment Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.


APPLICANT:         U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground

                                 Attn:  Colonel Gregory R. McClinton

                                 305 Aberdeen Boulevard

                                 Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21005


LOCATION:  Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) at Graces Quarters and G-Field.  The Graces Quarters site is located at the southern end of Graces Quarters Road, southeast of the Hammerman Area of Gunpowder Falls State Park in Baltimore County. 

The G-Field site is located within the boundary of the Edgewood Area of APG on the west side of Ricketts Point Road, north of Maxwell Point Road in Harford County.  The wetlands at the project site drain to Swaderick Creek and Gunpowder River.  These streams are classified by the State of Maryland as Use II estuarine waters.


WORK:  APG proposes to construct two sites, of up to approximately 17 acres each, for the operational exercise of the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS).  Each site requires construction of an aerostat pad and associated overlapping structures, parking, utilities, support buildings and stormwater management facilities. The project would permanently impact a total of 160,020 square feet (3.67 acres) of nontidal wetlands and 221,637 square feet (5.09 acres) of nontidal wetland buffer.  Impacts are associated with filling, excavating, grading, removing or destroying vegetation, and building structures.  At Graces Quarters, the project would permanently impact a total of 93,807 square feet (2.15 acres) of nontidal emergent wetlands and 137,540 square feet (3.16 acres) of nontidal wetland buffer.  At G-Field, the project would permanently impact a total of 61,947 square feet (1.42 acres) of nontidal forested wetlands and 77,534 square feet (1.78 acres) of nontidal wetland buffer.  Upgrades to an existing ammunition bunker required with this project would result in the permanent conversion of 4,266 square feet (0.10 acres) of nontidal forested wetland to emergent wetland and permanently clear vegetation from 6,563 square feet (0.15 acres) of nontidal wetland buffer.  No impacts to streams are associated with this project.  The applicant is required to mitigate for the permanent wetland impacts.  Impacts to nontidal forested wetlands require 2:1 mitigation, impacts to nontidal emergent wetlands require 1:1 mitigation, and conversion of nontidal forested wetlands to nontidal emergent wetlands requires 2:1 mitigation.  In total, the applicant is responsible for 226,233 square feet (5.19 acres) of wetland mitigation.


The applicant has submitted a preliminary, conceptual mitigation plan to compensate for the proposed, unavoidable permanent impacts in the amount of 226,233 square feet (5.19 acres) of nontidal wetlands.  The wetland mitigation proposal is to create a minimum of 132,426 square feet (3.04 acres) of forested non-tidal wetlands and 93,807 square feet (2.15 acres) of emergent nontidal wetlands on Carroll Island as mitigation for the loss of non-tidal wetlands due to the JLENS project. Carroll Island, located within APG boundaries in southeastern Baltimore County, Maryland, is an 855-acre island lying between Saltpeter and Seneca Creeks. The Gunpowder River lies to the east, and Hawthorn Cove and the Chesapeake Bay lie to the southwest. The proposed compensatory mitigation site to be constructed on Carroll Island lies north of Carroll Island Road.

All work will be completed in accordance with the enclosed plans.


PURPOSE: To establish a land-based exercise site in the National Capitol Region for a three year Homeland Defense exercise that assesses operational effectiveness of the JLENS system for defense against cruise missiles and other forms of low altitude aerial threats in a homeland defense scenario.


WRITTEN COMMENTS:  To be included in the official record, written comments and information provided by interested parties must be received by the USACE and MDE by the closing date of this notices comment period, January 31, 2014, to receive consideration.  The mailing addresses for submission of written comments are:


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers                              Maryland Department of the Environment

Baltimore District                                                      Wetlands and Waterways Program

Attn:  Mr. Jon Romeo, CENAB-OP-RMN             Attn:  Ms. Danielle Spendiff

P.O. Box 1715                                                          1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 430

Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715                          Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708


If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mr. Jon Romeo, USACE at

(410) 962-6079 or by email at, and Ms. Danielle Spendiff, MDE at (410) 537-3731 or by email at


The decision whether to issue a permit 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 may reasonably 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.


The evaluation of the impact of the work described above on the public interest will include the application of the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.


Comments are being solicited 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 USACE and MDE to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny each agencys 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 Corps Baltimore District, Operations Division 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 overall public interest of the proposed activity.



SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  The applicant is required to obtain a Water Quality Certification, (WQC) in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from MDE, the Section 401 certifying agency.  Any written comments concerning the work described above which relate to the WQC must be received by the Wetlands and Waterways Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708 within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  MDE has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.


COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM:  The applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with Maryland’s federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP) as required by Section 307 of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.  Public comments relating to consistency must be received by the Wetlands and Waterways Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland, 21230-1708, within the comment period as specified above.  By this public notice, the USACE is requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency certification.  It should be noted that the CZMP has a statutory limit of 6 months to make its consistency determination.


The applicant must obtain any other State and local permits/approvals which are required for the proposed activities.


A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work will not affect Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended. As the evaluation of this application 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.  A Phase I archaeological investigation revealed that no National Register eligible archaeological resources are located at either site.


NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF DRAFT FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND DRAFT FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT: A draft final Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) has been prepared by the JLENS Product Office and U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground for the JLENS project at APG, Maryland. JLENS is an Army program that supports Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, providing continuous over-the-horizon surveillance and precise location data to Army and Joint networks.  It enables protection from aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, large caliber rockets, and surface moving targets. The Proposed Action is to construct and operate two aerostats (tethered helium-filled aircraft) and associated infrastructure and support facilities on APG for a three-year homeland defense operational exercise, from 2014 through 2017. The two proposed sites on APG would be Graces Quarters in Baltimore County and G-Field at the APG Edgewood Area (APG-EA) in Harford County. It is anticipated that up to approximately 17 acres at each location would be impacted by the construction activities.  Included in the Proposed Action is a modification to the existing restricted airspace at APG.  A small portion of the existing airspace, R4001A and R4001B, would be used to establish a restricted airspace, R4001C, for the operational exercise. This EA has been prepared to evaluate the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative.  Resources addressed in the EA include, land use, visual aesthetics, airspace, geological resources, air quality, noise, water resources, coastal zone and critical area, biological resources, cultural resources, hazardous, toxic and radioactive substances, utilities, stormwater and drainage, fire protection, transportation, and socioeconomics and environmental justice.  The results, as found in the EA, show that the Proposed Action would not have a significant adverse impact on the environment.  At the conclusion of the public comment period, it is anticipated that a FNSI would be appropriate and would be signed for the JLENS project.  An Environmental Impact Statement therefore, is not deemed necessary to implement the Proposed Action, as determined by the JLENS Product Office and U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground.


The draft final EA and draft FNSI are available for review and comment for 45 days from publication of this notice.  Copies may be found online at .  The documents can also be found at the following locations: 


Baltimore County Public Library                                       Baltimore County Public Library

Essex Branch                                                                       Perry Hall Branch

1110 Eastern Boulevard                                                     9685 Honeygo Boulevard

Essex, Maryland 21221                                                      Perry Hall, Maryland 21128


Harford County Public Library                                           Harford County Public Library

Aberdeen Branch                                                                Edgewood Branch

21 Franklin Street                                                                629 Edgewood Road

Aberdeen, Maryland 21001                                               Edgewood, Maryland 21040


Kent County Public Library

408 High Street

Chestertown, Maryland 21620


Additionally, copies can be obtained by contacting Mr. Arnold O’Sullivan by mail at USAGAPG, ATTN: Arnold O'Sullivan, 4304 Susquehanna Avenue, 3rd Floor Suite B, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 21005-5001, or by email at  Comments on the draft final EA and draft FNSI may be submitted to Mr. Arnold O’Sullivan at the mailing address or email address listed above no later than 45 days from the publication of this notice.


It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons known to you to be interested, but may not have received a copy of this public notice.