CONCORD, Mass. – The Plymouth County Mosquito Control District is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with conducting mosquito control in saltmarshes in various towns in southeastern Massachusetts.
The Plymouth County Mosquito Control District, at 142 R Pembroke Street, in Kingston, Mass., is proposing work that involves the reauthorization and implementation of Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM) in order to abate mosquito populations, reduce the need for insecticides, enhance the tidal food web, and enhance and restore previously adversely impacted saltmarshes. The OMWM involves six types of alterations: pond, reservoir, radial, selective ditch, gutter ditch and sill ditch.
Three-foot deep ponds will be utilized where depressions exist. Reservoirs will be three feet deep and will be utilized in areas where no existing depression exist. Radials will be used to connect three or more ponds and reservoirs and will be 18 inches deep and will connect a pond or reservoir to another pond or reservoir. Selective ditches will be used to enhance tidal flow to an isolated breeding depression or tidally restricted salt marsh. They will be utilized to divert fresh water from an OMWM closed system. Gutter ditches will be utilized to maintain diversity by diverting surface freshwater or sheet runoff away from an OMWM closed system. Sill ditches will be used to enhance tidal flow to a closed system.
The OMWM is proposed at a maximum of 117 sites in 12 communities if necessary for mosquito control. The applicant will submit data pertaining to the proposed sites annually to the Corps of Engineers as part of the OMWM Committee review. The sites are listed in the public notice on the Corps website and include the Massachusetts towns of Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury, Kingston, Plymouth, Hingham, Hull, Marion, Mattapoisett, Plymouth and Wareham. This work was previously authorized by the Corps of Engineers in 1985, 1998 and 2004.
The Corps 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 to determine whether to 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.
This proposed project will impact approximately 8,000 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of tidally-influenced, upper estuarine silt/mud river bottom, intertidal silt/mud, and estuarine marsh habitat. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Plymouth County Mosquito Control District, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Plymouth County Mosquito Control District (file # NAE-2004-0965) should be forwarded no later than March 23, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Crystal Gardner), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Crystal Gardner), at 978-318-8332 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.