Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 2010 Volume 2, Issue 2 Clean Water Act News In-Lieu Fee Guidelines Local practices released to en sure that proposals in the State of Georgia comply with National Mitigation Rule. DRAFT GUIDELINES TO ESTABliSH AND OPERATE IN-UEU FEE PROGRAMS INGEORGLA Courtesy ofpnoto: Rebecca Rowden In keeping with the recent initiative to pro vide guidance on mitigation in Georgia, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Savannah District (SAS), Regulatory Division r eleased new guidelines in May. purpose of this document is threefold: (1) to aid potential in li eu fee program and project sponsors in the development of suc cessful instruments; (2) to present the roles of the interagency team i n the approval process; and (3) to layout the operational considera tions in managing approved projects," said Russell Kaiser, Chief, Regu latory Division, SAS,USACE. See "Guideli nes" on page 5 Inside this Issue: In-Lieu Fee Guidelines 1 Regulatory Workshops 1 Final National Mitigation Rule 5 Regulatory Offices and Profile 6 Georgia and In-Lieu Fee In the mid 1990S, the concept of compensatory mitigation was under intense scrutiny. The belief that on-site and in-kind replacement would sustain the aquatic functional losses that had occurred in the past as a result of unavoidable impacts from Department of the Army permits was not coming to fruition The on-site option, where mitigation was completed, was simply producing numerous small wetland replacement projects, most of which were classified as "establishment. Many of the people who were responsible for the regulatory program were questioning whether these small projects were successful from a biological/functional perspec tive. They asked themselves: "Is there a better way to mitigate?" As it happened, Hans Neuhauser of the Georgia Land Trust Service Center (GLTSC) opened discussions with Savannah District staff regarding possible alterna tives to the strict mandate of on-site and in-kind requirements. The concept in volved the collection of funds from numerous permittees for the purchase and pro tection of pristine aquatic resources In 1997, agreements were drafted and signed by USACE, SAS and GLTSC, where GLTSC could collect mitigation funds to purchase and protect sites that contained aquatic resources of exceptional value. The proposed land had to meet certain criteria; (1) the property has high value aquatic resources onsite, (2) the resources are under a threat of logging or development, (3) the land is available, and/or (4) there is a government entity or conservation group that would partner with the GLTSC for the acquisition of the property. According to David Crosby, Deputy Chief, Regulatory Division, "This effort resulted in the initiation of the Savannah District's in-lieu fee compensatory mitigation program." In 2001, it all came together with the purchase of the Moody Tract in Appling County, Georgia, a 24-acre wetland in the Altamaha River drainage. Since then, the GLTSC has purchased 4,797.5 acres of land for preservation. Of this total, there are 1,479.93 acres of wetlands and 31.2 miles of stream channel, with 200 foot wide riparian buffers. Additional projects covered under the program are presented on page 2. This new approach further set the stage for other districts nationally For exam ple, the Alaska District used the 8AS model agreement almost as is, as did the state of New Hampshire. According to David Olson, from USACE Headquarters Regulatory Community of Practice, thi s allowed for the development of a new area for accommodating mitigation requirements. He further indicated that the SAS In Lieu Fee program has had some very beneficial projects Additional information is at: https://data.georgiaspatial.orgj/logi n .asp(Undera layer called "State Land Conservation" one can find a GISfile titled "Georgia Wet land Trost Fund". REGULATORY WORKSHOPS: Stakeholdecwock;hop, will be held in Savannah on September 28, 2010, at the Coastal Georgia Cente r and in the Atlanta area on October 14, 2010 at the Maloof Auditorium, in Decatur. These sessions will focus on the contents of an application for a Standard Individual Per mit and how the consultants can aid the Regulatory Division in drafting the permit decis ion document. More to follow in the days ahead.
Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 201 0 Volume 2, Issue 2 Georgia and In-Lieu Fee Examples 1. Baldwin County The Georgia Wetlands Battle Tract Provides Riparian Zonefor Robust Red Horse Spawning Habitat and Streams Trust Fund provided $122,601.90 to the Oconee River Land Trust in 2003 to assist them in preserving the Bat tle Tract next to downtown Milledgeville. A 22-acre tract with 3,200 linear feet of stream (the main ste m of the Oconee River) was ac quired with Trust Fund monies The tract was subseq u ently transferred to the Oconee River Greenway Authority with the Oconee River Land Trust holding a conservation easement. Alice Lawrence, of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USfWS) states: "Pemanent preservation of this site helps to protect water quality for the Oconee River population of an imperiled species of fish, the robust red horse. The protection of this parcel, in combination with several other proposed and existing mitigation banks, mitigation sites, and state-protected lands in the vicinity is creating a corridor of pre served lands along the Oconee River th"t "nll only benefit the robust red horse Photo Courtesy of Georgia Land Conservation Center Vestal Tract in Fannin County Provides Buffer to the Cohutta Wilderness 2 Fannin County The Geor gia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund provided $102,423.00 t o the US Forest Service in 2003 to acquire the Vestal Tract (Forest Service Tract #c-2306) to be part of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest A lO-acre tract with 1,200 linear feet of stream (tribu t ary to the Jacks River, a State Scenic River) was acquired with Trust Fund monies. Dr Rick Whiteside, of Wetland & Ecological Consult ants states: acquisition and preservation of such habitats is essential for the long tem sustainability of these valuable waters and critical protected species habitat. 2
Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 2010 Volume 2, Issue 2 Georgia and In-Lieu Fee Examples Glove r/Littl e Tract a t the sou th ern end of the Appalachian Trail 3. Gilmer County The Georgia Wet lands and Streams Trust Fund provided $61,045.14 to the U S Forest Service in 2004 to ass ist in ac qui ring the Glover / Little Tracts (Forest Service Tract ,e2289), to be part of the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest. Two tracts totaling 181 acres with 3,000 linear feet of stream (Tickanetley Creek) was ac quired with Trust Fund monie s The s ite protects the scenic vista from Springer Mountain the southern end of the Ap pala chian Trail. Catherine Samay of GA-Environmental Protection Division (EPD) s t a t es: preservation is valuable in prot ecting land and water resources b y ensuring hydrologic pro tection wa ter qua li ty protection, and aquatic/buffer habitat protection. Holly Creek Provides Habitat/or Three Species 0/ Endangered Mussels and Four Species 0/ Photo Cour t esy a/Georgia Land Conservation Center 4. Murray County The Georgia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund provided $44,000.00 t o The Na ture Conservancy in 2003 to ac quire the Gibson Tract o n Holly Creek and donate it to the US For est Servic e to be part of the Chatta hoochee-Oconee National Forest (Forest Service Tract IC-2300a). The 8.2-ac r e t ract includes 300 l inear feet o f stream. The sce nic tract s upports three species of Fed e rall y endangered mussels and four species of Federally listed darters. Pete Pattavina. of the USFWS states: Creek in the Cona sauga River watershed is one of our age n cy's highest land protec tion priorities in the state of Geor gia, and represents one of the last great areas of biodi versity in ou r sta te's portion of the Conasauga River watershed. 3
Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 2010 Volume 2, Issue 2 Georgia and In-Lieu Fee Examples The Broxton Rocks Preserve Contains a Wide Variety oj Threatened & Endangered P lants Photo Courtesy ojGeorgia Land Conservation Center 5 Coffee County a Broxton Rocks Preserve 1: The Georgia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund provided $74,799.00 to The Nature Conservancy in 2002 to assist them in preserving the Broxton Rocks Preserve. A 4oacre tract with 5 83 acres of wetlands and 4,000 lin ear feet of stream. h. Broxton Rocks Preserve 2: The Georgia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund provided $11,871.74 to The Nature Conservancy in 2003 to assist them in preserving the Broxton Rocks Preserve. This tract has 5 acres of wetlands and 1,000 linear feet of stream. c Broxton Rocks Preserve 3: The Georgia Wetlands and Streams Trust Fund provided $198,500.00 to The Nature Conservancy in 2006 to assist them i n preserving the Broxton Rocks Preserve A 48acre tract with 24 acres of wetlands and 4,000 linear feet of stream was acquired with Trust Fund monies. The site also protects a wide variety of threatened and endangered plants. This site is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Michelle Cable, of The Nature Conservancy states: "These projects are imbedded in a mosa i c of protected lands encompassing one of the most important concentrations of biodiversity in the southeast." Other In-Lieu Fee sites in Georgia include: Moody Tract, Appling County, 51.4 acres;Heggie s Rock Columbia County, 143acres; Boy Scout Tract, Dougherty County, 190-acres; Coosa Valley Flatwoods, Floyd County, 22-acresj Nicholson Tract, Gilmer County, 5.5-acre; Moates Branch, Habersham County, 51. 6-acres; Fennel Tract, Jackson County, 173.8 acres; L&K (Francis) tract, Lumpkin County, 22.94-acresj Noblin Tract, Lumpkin County, 39.7-acres; Barrington Tract A-I, McIntosh County, 200-aCresj Fort Barrington Club, McIntosh County, 1,027-acresj AlcoV)' River/East End Road tract, Newton County, 16.7-acres, Temco Tracts, Paulding County, 583 acres; Little Grady Creek, Putnam County, Sl.S7-acresj Sprit Creek Knox Tract, Richmond County, 16-acres; McCrary/Drake/Johnson Tract Rockdale County, 205 acres; Abernathy Tract, White County, 36.s-acres; Betterton Tract, White County, 22-acres; Beutell Tract, White County, 107.8-acres; Dyer tract, White County, 143-acres; Hamilton Tract, White County, 57acres. 4
Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 20 1 0 Vol um e 2 Issue 2 In-Lieu Fee Guidelines (co n tinued from page 1) Continuedfrom pag e 1 (In-Lieu Fee Guidelines ) : Once a mitigation plan is submitted, it unde r g oes a 30day c omplete ness review by the USACE. Once the mit iga t ion p lan Once a final instrument is s ubmitte d that includ e s any requested change s the USACE has 30 days to no t ify the IRT o f their intent t o approve or disapprove the final instrumen t IRT members have 45 d a ys from su bmittal o f the final instrum ent t o initiate the di spute resolution process, if they disagree with the USACE's intention If t h e U SACE approves the in strument and there are no IRT ob j ections, the instrument c a n be signed b y the U SACE and the sponsor. The in lieu fee program can then begi n provi di n g com pensatory mitigat i on. Once an in lieu fee program is active it m a y be use d t o pro vide compensato!), m i tigation for Department of the Army (DA) permitted activi t i es unde r Section 404 of the Clean Water Act b u t o n ly after it is determined that no mi tigati on banks service the project area. Any permittee that r eques t s use of in-lieu fee for m i t i gation must provid e the USACE with a statement that no mitig ation bank services the project site and m u st p r ovide the name(s) of mitigation bank(s) con t act e d, the date of contact, and a statement that the banker(s) c o nfirmed that no suitable credits were available. Once this determination is made the in lieu fee program co ll ects funds from t h e permittee and the mitigation obligation is transferred to the i n lie u fee prog r a m The in-lieu fee program uses funds col l ected to sponsor mitig a t i o n p r o j ects i n the same watershed (Primary Servic e Area) as the one in which funds were co l l ected. Mitigation proj ects can use any combination of restoration, enhancement, establishmen t, or preservation to restore l ost aquatic function, as long as the miti gation conforms to the 2008 Rule. Ea ch proposed proj ect must have a project miti gation plan. i s determi ned co m ple t e it i s d is t ributed to the IRT for review. Within 30 days of submittal of a complete mitigation plan, the U SACE must i ssue a public n o t ice C oncurrent l y, the m i tiga t ion plan can be placed on the agenda of the next IRT m e eting and a field vi s it can b e scheduled. Followi n g a 30-d ay publi c comment pe riod (during which time the IRT may also comment), the USACE h a s 1 5 days to dis tribute all comments to the p roject sponsor and the IRT. The USACE has a t otal of 30 d ays from the end of the public comment period to issue an initial eva l uation lette r that either the project does not have merit or that the sponsor ca n procee d wit h the mitigation proposal. Additional information can be found a t : http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/ Final National Mitigation Rule The Final Mitigation Rule was published on ApriilO, 2008, and implemented on 9 Jul 2008. The rule required that existing in lieu fee programs comply with the provisions of the rule by June 9, 2010, unless gran ted an exemption to continue operating under their existing instrument. A n y new in-lieu fee program proposed after July 9, 2008 would be required to comply with the terms of the rule. lbe intent of the Final Mitigation Rule was to standardiz e compens atory mitigation at a national level. Compensatory Mitigation includes differ ent measures taken to offset unavoidable impacts created by a discharge of dredged G ild/or fill material in aquatic resources, In general, miti gation should be located within the same watershed as the impact site, and should be located in the landscape where it will most likely successfully replace lost functions and services, taking into acco u nt such watershed scale features as aquatic habitat diversity, habitat connectivity, relation ships to hydrologic sources, trends in land use, ecological benefits, and compatibility with adjacent la n d uses Alt hough permit applicants are responsible for proposing an appropriate compensatory mitiga tion option to offset unavoidable impacts, the District Engineer should give prefer ence first to the use of mitigation bank credits where appropriate, second to in-lieu fee programs, and third to permittee-responsible mitigation For in-lieu fee programs the rule requires submittal of a prospectus that includes discussion on: 1) program objectives; 2) program establishment and operation; 3) proposed service area; 4) need and technica l feasibility; 5) ownership and long-term management; 6) sponsor qualifications; 7) compensation planning framel'.'Ork; a n d 8) esta.blishment and operation of in-lieu fee program account. Once a prospectus is approved, the rule requires submittal of an ins trument that includes further de t ails regarding the: 1) service area; 2) accounting procedures; 3) provision stating legal responsibility to provide compensatory mitigation; 4) default and closure procedures; 5) reporting prot ocols; 6) compensation planning frame work: 7) method for determining project specific credits and fees and draft fee schedule; and 8) operation of the program acwunt. Individual in-lieu fee projects sponsored under an in-lieu fee program instrument must have a mitigation plan that further includes: 1) objectives; 2) site selection; 3) site protection instrument; 4) baseline information; 5) determination of credits: 6) mitigation work plan; 7) maintenance plan; 8) performance standards; 9) monitoring requirements; 10) long-term management plan; 11) adaptive m a nage ment plan; and 12) financial assur ances. 5
Savannah District, Regulatory Division Aug 2010 Volu me 2, Issue 2 District Offices ALBANY FIELD OFFICE 1104 N W ESTOVER BLVD UNIT 9 ALBANY, GA 31707 229-430-8566/67 """. DP'ioirnnBrrdl Deo. __ SAVANNAH DISTRICT OFFICE COM TAL BRANCH OH1CE AnN: CESAS-RD-C , 100 W. OGLETHORPE AVE SAVANNAH, GA 31401 800-4482402 PIEDMONT BRANCH OFFICE AnN: CESAS-RD-P 1590 ADAMSON PARKWAY, SUITE 200 MORROW, GEORGIA 30260 678-422-2735 Lru"'IER FIELD OFFICE AITN' CESAS-RD P P O Box 528 BUFORD, GA 30515 770-904-2 365 Do you know your Regulatory Staff? Alan Miller was born in Griffith, IN. Following four years in the US Navy, Alan attended the University of Georgia. He graduated in 1981 with a B S. in Agronomy Alan been with the Savannah District since 1994 He began his career as a technical representative v.'ith Stephenson Chemica l Company, a pesticide manu facturer and distributer. With the knowledge he gained on vreed control and soil science, he started Vegetation Control Systems His company prepared and executed prescriptions far industrial weed control, fertilization, and soil amendment programs. In 1989, Alan went to American Testing and Engineering Corporation (ATEC) where he worked in the identification and remediation afhazardous materials. ATEC then selected Alan to head up their new wetland delineation and Section 404 permitting initiative I n 1993, Savannah District made the decision to establish a permanent Regulatory Section, in the booming Atlanta area. Alan became one of the staff members in the new field office. During his tenure with the Savannah District, he has handled everything from routine wetland delineations to complex individual permits, such as ,",,'ater supply reservoirs. Alan is now the chief of the Pennits Section in the Piedmont Branch H e manages the work load for jurisdictional determinations and routine projects that would fill or impact waters of the United States. He trains and mentars the staff on the regulatory program and pro vides public outreach through speaking engagements and hands on training. In 2005, and again in 2007, Alan voluntarily deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Engineering and Construction Division Project Manager working on the reconstruction of Iraq s infrastructure. Alan loves the outdoors and enjoys hunting and fishing. He spends his spare time w a t ching old movies and reading. 6