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Corps seeks public comment on request to modify Maine’s In-Lieu Fee program instrument to add 21 projects

Published Nov. 5, 2019

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is seeking public comment on the request to modify the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program (MNRCP) In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program Instrument for the addition of 21 individual projects.

 

The Maine ILF Program Sponsor is the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The Maine ILF program is authorized by the New England District, Corps of Engineers. A copy of the signed ILF agreement titled "State of Maine-In Lieu Fee Program Instrument,” dated Aug. 17, 2011, includes details about the ILF Program goals and objectives in general, and can be found at the following link: https://www.oae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/regulatory/Mitigat ion/ME/NRCP/ILFP ME.pdf.

 

There were 21 projects submitted as proposed additions to the ILF Instrument pursuant to 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (Federal Register: April 10, 2008, effective June 9, 2008). Pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8 (d), the Corps will provide public notice of the proposed addition of ILF program mitigation sites.

 

The MNRCP ILF Program has accrued funds from Corps and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) permitted impacts throughout the state of Maine. The funds were made available through a competitive grant process for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of wetland and watercourse resources, and associated upland buffers in the state of Maine. The Corps has received 21 proposed projects from various applicants who have applied in 2019 for funding under the ILF Program.

 

There are 21 proposed projects that would provide compensatory mitigation for permitted impacts to the following service areas: Aroostook Hills & Lowlands, Central & Western Mountains, Central Interior & Midcoast, Downeast Maine, and Southern Maine.

 

An ILF program involves the restoration, establishment, re-establishment, enhancement, rehabilitation 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 Department of the Army 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. The operation and use of an ILF program are governed by an ILF program instrument. A group of federal and state regulatory and resource agency representatives known as the Interagency Review Team (IRT) oversee the establishment and management of the program. The IRT is chaired by the Corps and MDEP. The primary role of the IRT is to facilitate the establishment of the ILF program through the development of an ILF Instrument. The IRT also reviews ILF mitigation proposals and provides comments to the Corps. The approval of the use of the ILF program for specific projects is the decision of the Corps pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Corps provides no guarantee that any particular individual or general permit proposing to use the ILF program for compensation mitigation would be authorized.

 

All In-Lieu Fee agreements in New England are available for review on the Corps website at:

https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation/In-Lieu-Fee-Programs/.

 

The public notice on the Corps website lists the proposed project descriptions and maps for the 21 projects. Full applications are available at the following link:

https://ribits.usace.army.mil/ribits  apex/f?p=107:378:12412571452019::NO::P378  PROGRAM  ID:261

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The Corps has made a preliminary determination that the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) 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 decision.

 

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; American Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential impacts for the proposed activity.

 

The Corps public notice, with more information, is available on the Corps website at: https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.

 

In order to properly evaluate the proposal, the Corps is seeking public comment. Comments should be submitted in writing by Dec. 5, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Mr. Taylor Bell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. For additional information contact Mr. Taylor Bell at 978-318-8952 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to taylor.m.bell@usace.army.mil.


Contact
Tim Dugan
978-318-8264
cenae-pa@usace.army.mil

Release no. 19-092