CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is seeking public comments on a proposed prospectus for an In-Lieu Fee Program from the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) covering the portion of Maine encompassing three Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic salmon in Maine. The Corps received the prospectus on March 22, 2017.
The prospectus proposes an In-Lieu Fee (ILF) program in compliance with 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (“Mitigation Rule”), published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2008, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27, 2016.
If this prospectus is deemed sufficient, the sponsor will be authorized to develop a draft In-Lieu Fee (ILF) instrument for review by an interagency review team of federal and state agencies. If the draft instrument is acceptable, the ILF program will be established through the development of a final ILF instrument to be signed by the sponsor, the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and other agencies which choose to do so. The process will follow the Corps’ Mitigation Rule and the USFWS’s Compensatory Mitigation Policy.
The proposed ILF program would provide an alternative or a supplement to permittee-responsible mitigation if it is deemed appropriate during the review process for proposed unavoidable impacts authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 which also impact federally listed Atlantic salmon and Atlantic salmon critical habitat. The entire prospectus, titled “Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program,” is attached to the public notice on the Corps website.
The decision whether to authorize the sponsor to proceed to the next step of developing a draft ILF instrument will be based on the Corps’ determination of the potential of the proposed ILF program to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of the Army permits and on the USFWS’s determination that impacts to Atlantic salmon can be adequately compensated for through use of this program.
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 and USFWS to determine whether to allow the sponsor to proceed to develop a draft ILF instrument.
The Corps public notice, with more information, is available on the Corps website at:
Public comments on the Maine Department of Marine Resources prospectus for an In Lieu Fee Program (file # NAE 2017-00078) should be submitted no later than April 27, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ruth Ladd), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. For additional information contact Ruth Ladd at 978-318-8818 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to email@example.com.