U.S. Army Corps In Reply to Application Number
of Engineers NAB-2014-01700-P25 (Evergreen Hop Bottom Creek Stream and Wetland
Mitigation Umbrella Bank)
PN-15-08 Comment Period: February 2, 2015 to March 4, 2015
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, CONSISTING OF THE ENCLOSED MITIGATION BANK PROSPECTUS FOR THE PROPOSED EVERGREEN HOP BOTTOM CREEK STREAM AND WETLAND MITIGATION UMBRELLA BANK, 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 Umbrella Mitigation Banking Instrument, which includes the first mitigation bank site, known as the “Evergreen Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank” (Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank), will be approved. We are requesting comments to determine if approval should be granted for this proposed commercial umbrella mitigation banking instrument and associated mitigation bank site for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for unavoidable aquatic resource impacts, including wetlands and streams, authorized by Department of the Army permits.
At this time, a complete application for work in waters of the United States to construct the Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank site has not been received. A preliminary review of the proposal indicates that there may be waters of the United States, including wetlands within the project area. These areas may be regulated pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and the work described below may require Department of the Army authorization. A preliminary review indicates that the proposed work may qualify for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorization under the Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit-4 (PASPGP-4) or by Nationwide Permit (NWP) #27 (Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities). Both the PASPGP-4 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 Prospectus is available at: http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx
as an attachment to the electronic copy of this public notice.. The Prospectus provides a summary of the information regarding the proposed umbrella mitigation banking instrument and the Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank site 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: Mr. James Ingram
Evergreen Environmental, LLC
425 Darby Paoli Pike
Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The proposed mitigation bank is located in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (41.755722º N, 75.813667º W). Phase 1 of the proposed mitigation bank will involve aquatic resource restoration, re-establishment, and enhancement activities in unnamed tributaries to Hop Bottom Creek, Hop Bottom Creek, and adjacent wetlands, within an approximate 29 acre bank site.
BANK DESCRIPTION: The proposed Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank would provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable wetland and stream channel impacts for projects authorized by the Corps. The proposed mitigation bank would involve the re-establishment, rehabilitation and enhancement of existing resources within an approximate 29 acre bank site. The mitigation bank involves approximately 7.1 acres of riparian buffer enhancement, which consists of enhancement along both sides of approximately 1,150 feet of perennial stream channel; restoration and re-establishment of approximately 0.8 acre of wetlands; restoration and rehabilitation of approximately 8.8 acres of wetlands; enhancement of approximately 9.1 acres of wetlands; and enhancement of approximately 1.6 acres of wetland buffer. Additionally, the mitigation bank proposes the overall protection and preservation of the approximate 29 acre bank site. All areas comprising the proposed Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank would receive long term protection through a legal conservation instrument. The proposed geographic service area for the Hop Bottom Creek Mitigation Bank is the Upper Susquehanna River Subbasin, corresponding to the Pennsylvania State Water Plan, Watershed Subbasin 4, and to USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 02050106, including portions of HUC’s 02050101, 02050103, 02050104, and 02050105 located within Pennsylvania.
WORK REQUIRING DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AUTHORIZATION: A preliminary jurisdictional determination has been performed for the proposed 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 site visit conducted by representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 23, 2014, and a site visit conducted by the IRT on July 24, 2014, indicates that the proposed work may impact jurisdictional waters of the United States, including wetlands, and may qualify for Corps authorization under the PASPGP-4 or NWP #27. The proposed work must be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to regulated construction activities commencing.
The purpose of this proposed 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 Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The mitigation bank would be used to comply with special conditions for compensatory mitigation of permitted projects by providing in-kind 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 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 the impacts to waters of the United States will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the proposed bank on the public interest. That decision will 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, flood plain 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.
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 applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, or require a hardcopy of the Prospectus, please contact Mrs. Tarrie Ostrofsky, Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (570) 835-4263 or Tarrie.L.Ostrofsky@usace.army.mil.
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.
Written comments concerning the activity described above must be submitted directly to the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tioga Regulatory Field Office, 710 Ives Run Lane, Tioga, Pennsylvania 16946, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.
Wade B. Chandler
Chief, Pennsylvania Section