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Public comments due by Nov. 17, 2011: Corps seeks comments on projects applying for funding through the Maine In-Lieu Fee Program

Published Oct. 18, 2011

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is seeking public comments on the 26 projects which have applied for funding through Maine’s In-Lieu Fee Program, the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program (MNRCP). The sponsor for the program is the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The In-Lieu Fee (ILF) program serves as an alternative form of compensation for impacts to aquatic resources authorized by the New England District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and/or the state of Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).


These projects were submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in July 2011. The RFP includes the criteria used to evaluate projects, the information required for a proposal, and other related information. The RFP, the current amount of funds available for release, and additional information can be found at the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/blwq/docstand/nrpa/ILF_and_NRCP/MNRCP/index.htm#action.


In-Lieu Fee is an option available to the permit applicant instead of completing permittee responsible mitigation. Compensatory mitigation occurs in circumstances where a permittee is required to compensate for the functions and values of aquatic resources lost as a result of the authorization after all efforts are made to avoid and minimize impacts. Use of the In-Lieu Fee program is contingent upon Corps of Engineers and/or state of Maine approval. All In-Lieu Fee agreements in New England are available for review on the Corps’ website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil under “Regulatory/Permitting” and then “Mitigation.”


The state of Maine developed an In-Lieu Fee Compensation Program in 2007 to augment its regulatory program. It also developed the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program to allocate funds collected. An agreement for services between the Maine DEP and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was signed Oct. 3, 2007 outlining The Nature Conservancy’s responsibility to administer the MNRCP. An agreement between DEP, the Corps and The Nature Conservancy was signed Jan. 31, 2008.


Any of the projects which involve restoration, enhancement, and/or creation and will require Corps of Engineers, state, or local permits will be applying individually through a separate public notice.


The public notice with more information and a list of the 26 projects seeking funding can be viewed on the Corps website at  http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and weekly public notices. It lists the summary sheet of projects and the bioregion in which they are located; funds available and the aquatic resource types which have been authorized to be impacted; and project descriptions and maps for the 26 projects.


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 benefit which may reasonably accrue from each proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments and/or its appropriateness considering the ecological needs of the bioregion in which it is located.


The Corps is seeking comments from the public; Federal, state and local agencies and officials; Native American Tribes; and other interested parties in order to determine the most appropriate projects to receive funding from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program. Any comments received will be provided to the Review 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. To make this decision, comments will be used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors.

Public comments on the Corps project review (File # NAE-2005-1143) should be forwarded no later than Nov. 17, 2011 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ruth Ladd), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Ruth Ladd at 978-318-8818 or by email to ruth.m.ladd@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2011-096