CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District has received a draft instrument dated June 30, 2011 for an In Lieu Fee (ILF) Program covering the state of Maine. This is an existing ILF Program and the draft instrument, when finalized, is intended to bring it into compliance with 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (“Mitigation Rule”). The Mitigation Rule was published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2008.
The sponsor is the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. If the draft instrument is deemed sufficient, the revised ILF Program will be established through the development of a final ILF instrument to be signed by the sponsor, the Corps of Engineers, and other agencies which choose to do so. The process will follow the Mitigation Rule.
The proposed revised ILF program would continue to provide an alternative 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. The entire draft instrument, titled “State of Maine – In Lieu Fee Program,” is attached to the public notice on the Corps’ New England District website.
The decision whether to authorize the sponsor to proceed to the next step of developing a final ILF instrument will be based on the Corps’ determination of the potential of the proposed revised ILF program to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by Department of Army permits.
The Corps of Engineers 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 of Engineers to determine whether to allow the sponsor to proceed to develop a final ILF instrument. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing.
The initial determination made will be reviewed in light of facts submitted in response to the public notice. All comments will be considered a matter of public record. Copies of comment letters will be forwarded to the sponsor and the Interagency Review Team consisting of representatives of the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Department of Conservation, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The public notice with additional information, including the draft instrument titled “State of Maine – In Lieu Fee Program,” can be reviewed online at the Corps website http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices or go directly to the public notice webpage at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Regulatory/Public%20Notices/
In order to properly evaluate this proposal, the Corps is seeking public comments. Public comments referencing this proposal (File # NAE-2005-1143) should be forwarded no later than Aug. 4, 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 Project Manager 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.