CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is seeking public comment on 6 projects in the Merrimack River Service Area which have applied for funding through New Hampshire’s In Lieu Fee program, the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund. The sponsor for the program is the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The In Lieu Fee program serves as an alternative form of compensation for impacts to aquatic resources authorized by the Corps’ New England District and/or the state of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES).
These projects were submitted in response to the 2019 Request for Pre-Proposals (RFPP) and approved for development of full proposals to be considered for funding. The RFPP includes the criteria used to evaluate projects, the information required for a proposal and other related information. DES and the Corps reviewed RFPPs and invited those meeting the criteria to submit full applications. The RFPP, ARM Fund application, full proposal application, current amount of funds available for release, and additional information can be found at the Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund website: https://www4.des.state.nh.us/arm-fund/; and at the Regulatory ILF Bank Information Tracking System: https://ribits.usace.army.mil.
The proponent for any proposed project that needs a Department of Army permit or authorization will apply for it independently of this project review process. Project descriptions and maps of the 6 projects applying for funding through the NH In-Lieu Fee ARM fund are listed in the public notice on the Corps website at: https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
The decision whether to approve funding for projects will be based on an evaluation of each proposed activity and how and where it will compensate for aquatic resources lost through authorizations issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The decision will reflect the national concern for no net loss of aquatic resources. The benefits that may reasonably accrue from each proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments and/or its appropriateness considering the ecological needs of the service area in which it is located.
The Corps is seeking comments from the public; federal, state and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested groups in order to determine the most appropriate projects to receive funding from the ARM Fund. Any comments received will be provided to the Site Selection Committee which makes recommendations to the Interagency Review Committee, including the Corps of Engineers, and will be considered in the evaluation of the projects and the determination of which will receive funding. Comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors, and in the preparation of an environmental assessment.
The New Hampshire DES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund was established in 2006 to provide wetlands permit applicants with an additional option to address federal and state mitigation requirements when impacts to jurisdictional wetlands and other aquatic resources are permitted that require mitigation. DES manages and implements the ARM Fund in accordance with both the state statutory requirements and a Memorandum of Understanding between DES and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that ensures consistency and compliance with federal standards. ILF agreements in New England are available for review at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation/In-Lieu-Fee-Programs/.
Public comments on these 6 projects in the Merrimack River Service Area seeking funding through the New Hampshire In-Lieu Fee Program, the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (file # NAE 2005-1142), should be forwarded no later than Oct. 17, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Lindsey Lefebvre), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751; or contact Regulatory Project Manager Lindsey Lefebvre at 978-318-8295 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.