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POH-2009-00315

Posted: 6/15/2011

Expiration date: 7/15/2011


APPLICANT: 

Micronesia Conservation Trust
P.O. Box 2177
Kolonia, Pohnpei
Federated States of Micronesia 96941

LOCATION

The proposed in-lieu fee (ILF) program encompasses the nearshore marine waters off the island of Guam and includes three service areas based on delineations derived from watershed characteristics and wave exposure:  1) Northern Service Area (Northern and sub-basins Piti, Asan, and Fonte); 2) Southwest Service Area (Apra, Agat, Taelayag, Cetti, Umatac, Toguan, Geus, and Mandell); and 3) Southeast Service Area (Inarajan, Malojloj, Ugum, Talofofo, and Ylig/Pago).

AUTHORITY

Public and interagency review team review of the prospectus for a proposed ILF program is required pursuant to the “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources; Final Rule,” as published in the April 10, 2008, Federal Register, Vol. 73, No. 70, Pages 19594-19705 (33 C.F.R. Parts 325 and 332) (“Mitigation Rule”).

ACTIVITY/WORK

The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), a non-profit conservation organization, proposes to implement and manage a coral reef ILF program on Guam that would consist of terrestrial (land-based) and marine (in-water) compensatory mitigation projects to establish, restore, enhance and/or preserve coral reefs for compensatory mitigation requirements associated with Department of the Army (DA) permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) of 1899.

Background:

                On April 10, 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly published the Mitigation Rule, which went into effect June 9, 2008.  The Mitigation Rule replaced most previous guidance concerning compensatory mitigation, including the previous ILF guidance of 2000, and includes requirements that prospective ILF program sponsors meet substantially the same standards as mitigation banks and undergo the same interagency review team review and approval process as mitigation banks.  An ILF program involves the restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation of aquatic resources through funds paid to a governmental or non-profit natural resources management entity to satisfy compensatory mitigation requirements for DA permits.  Similar to a mitigation bank, an ILF program sells compensatory mitigation credits to permittees whose obligation to provide compensatory mitigation is then transferred to the ILF program sponsor.  However, the rules governing the operation and use of ILF programs are somewhat different from the rules governing operation and use of mitigation banks.

Evaluation Factors:

                As the potential ILF program sponsor, MCT proposes to establish and operate an ILF program for coral reefs that, if approved, would provide a practicable option to DA permittees to compensate for unavoidable coral reef impacts authorized by Corps permits.  Approval for a permittee to use the proposed ILF program for authorized impacts to coral reefs wherein the Corps has determined compensatory mitigation is warranted would be a decision made by the Corps on a case-by-case basis pursuant to Section 404 of the CWA and/or Section 10 of the RHA.

Evaluation Factors:

                The Corps, Honolulu District, is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Chamorron groups and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate this proposed ILF program. This is not an application for work in Waters of the United States. The Corps in evaluating this proposal will consider any comments received on the prospectus. Comments are used to assess the potential for the proposed ILF program to provide appropriate compensatory mitigation options for DA permittees as well as to evaluate impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use classification, 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.

Comment and Review Period

                Conventional mail or electronic mail (e-mail) comments on this special public notice will be accepted and made part of the administrative record and will be considered in determining whether it would be in the public interest to authorize MCT’s proposal.  In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the reference number as shown on the cover page of this notice.  All e-mail comments should be sent to:  CEPOH-EC-R@usace.army.mil.  Conventional written comments should be mailed to: 

 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District
Regulatory Branch
Building 230
Ft. Shafter, HI 96848

 

                All comments must reach this office no later than the expiration date of this special public notice to ensure consideration.  When submitting comments, please include the Corps file number POH-2009-00315.  Please contact Ms. Susan A. Meyer at (808) 438-2137 or susan.a.meyer@usace.army.mil if further information is needed concerning this notice.  This special public notice is issued by the Chief, Regulatory Branch.