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COMMISSION ACTIONS APRIL 23, 2013

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY AFTER ITEM 15, AN APPLICATION TO LOCATE A POUND NET, WAS WITHDRAW FROM CONSIDERATION BY THE APPLICANT.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER RICK ROBINS WAS ABSENT FROM THE MEETING.
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1.  MINUTES of previous meeting. THE MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION'S MARCH MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.  ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS CARTER FOX AND WHITT SESSOMS ABSTAINED.
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2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THESE TWO SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS ITEM 2A AND 2B, WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.   ASSOCIATE COMMISSION BRYAN PLUMLEE ABSTAINED FROM THE VOTE ON ITEM 2B.
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3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSNONE.
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4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL.  NONE.

5.  TYLER WIND, #13-0202, requests authorization to construct a private, open-pile pier with an L-head and floating dock totaling 1,020 square feet, a 1,480 square foot non-commercial, dual-slip boathouse and roofed shelter, and set a piling 100-foot offshore for a clothesline mooring system at his property located at 19365 Tidewater Trail situated along the Rappahannock River in Essex County.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROPOSED PIER, FLOATING DOCK, BOATHOUSE AND CLOTHESLINE MOORING SYSTEM AFTER A COMPROMISE WAS OFFERED BY THE APPLICANT TO ANGLE THE MOORING SYSTEM TOWARD THE SHORE AND TO CONSTRUCT A SMALLER PIER AND FLOATING DOCK, TOTALLING 936 SQUARE FEET.
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6.  SMITH IRON & METAL CO., INC., #12 0558, requests authorization to mechanically dredge 2,700 cubic yards of State-owned bottom in the James River to a maximum depth of minus -15 MLW, maintenance dredge on an as-needed basis, and to fill and dredge tidal wetlands in a man-made cove for the installation of a 500-foot bulkhead and a 111-foot by 73-foot boat ramp associated with the development of a marine terminal at 1304-1308 Bellwood Road in Chesterfield County.  Both a subaqueous and a wetlands permit are required.  Additionally, the project now involves Commission consideration of enforcement action for work conducted without a wetlands permit. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE MARINA PROJECT WITH A ROYALTY OF $1,215 FOR THE DREDGING OF 2,700 CUBIC YARDS OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $.45 PER CUBIC YARD AND A TIME OF YEAR RESTRICTION FROM FEBRUARY 15 TO JUNE 30, IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE IMPACTS TO ANADROMOUS FISH.  THE COMMISSION ALSO UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A CIVIL CHARGE OF $6,000 IN LIEU OF FURTHER ENFORCEMENT ACTION FOR THE UNAUTHORIZED CLEARING AND GRADING OF JURISDICTIONAL WETLANDS ALONG THE SHORELINE.
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7.  SIX M LLC, #12-1516, requests authorization to install and backfill 96 linear feet of steel sheet pile bulkhead, extending a maximum of four feet channelward of mean low water, adjacent to their property at 425 Campostella Road situated along an unnamed tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk.  The project is protested by an adjacent property owner.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE BULKHEAD PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
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8.  PUBLIC COMMENTS.  NONE.
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9.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass," to lower the recreational black sea bass fishery possession limit of 25 fish to 20 fish, for the May 19 through October 14 and November 1 through December 31 season, and to establish the 2013 commercial directed fishery quota as 394,000 pounds. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY SET THE DIRECTED COMMERCIAL BLACK SEA BASS QUOTE AT 394,000 POUNDS AND LOWERED THE RECREATIONAL POSSESSION LIMIT FROM 25-20 FISH.  THE SIZE AND SEASON LIMITS WERE NOT CHANGED.
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10.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-490-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Sharks" to modify the limited entry system for the commercial spiny dogfish fishery, increase the daily trip limit to 3,300 pounds and increase the landing quota to 4,408,894 pounds.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY INCREASED THE COMMERCIAL DIRECTED SPINY DOGFISH QUOTA BY 17 PERCENT, TO 4.4 MILLION POUNDS, ENLARGED THE DAILY COMMERCIAL TRIP LIMIT FROM 3,000 TO 3,300 POUNDS, AND LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN THE FISHERY TO COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN WHO LANDED SPINY DOGFISH OVER THE PAST TWO SEASONS.  THE CHANGES WERE RECOMMENDED BY THE FINFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
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11.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-900-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs," to establish mesh size, twine size and permit specifications for gill nets harvesting horseshoe crabs.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY CODIFIED AN EMERGENCY MEASURE PASSED LAST MONTH TO ESTABLISH THE MESH AND TWINE SIZES FOR GILL NETS HARVESTING HORSESHOE CRABS, IN ORDER TO DECREASE THE POSSIBILITY THESE NETS WOULD CONSTRAIN OR HARM MARINE MAMMALS OR SEA TURTLES.
SEVERAL HAND HARVESTERS OF HORSESHOE CRABS TESTIFIED IN OBJECTION TO A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF GILL NETS THAT HAVE BEEN PLACED ALONG THE SHORELINE OF TOM'S COVE NEAR CHINCOTEAGUE, WHICH THEY SAID PREVENTED HORSESHOE CRABS FROM REACHING THE SHORE WHERE THEY COULD BE HARVESTED BY HAND.  THEY ASKED THE COMMISSION TO PASS AN EMERGENCY REGULATION TO PROHIBIT GILL NETS FROM BEING SET WITHIN 500 FEET OF THAT SHORELINE.  INSTEAD, THE COMMISSION ENCOURAGED THEM, AND OTHER HORSESHOE CRAB HAND HARVESTERS, TO MEET WITH THE OWNERS OF THE GILL NETS SET IN TOM'S COVE IN AN ATTEMPT TO REACH A COMPROMISE, AND TO REPORT BACK TO THE COMMISSION ON THEIR DISCUSSIONS NEXT MONTH.

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12.  DISCUSSION:  Blue Crab Winter Dredge Study results and timeline for future management measures.  DEPUTY FISHERIES CHIEF JOE GRIST BRIEFED THE COMMISSION ON THE RESULTS OF THE SCIENTIFIC WINTER DREDGE SURVEY OF BLUE CRABS IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY.  HE NOTED THE CRAB POPULATION HAS DROPPED SUBSTANTIALLY OVER THE PAST YEAR DUE TO POOR REPRODUCTION THAT RESULTED IN DISCOURAGINGLY LOW NUMBER OF JUVENILES.
NORFOLK CRABBER PETE NIXON TOLD THE COMMISSION THE CHARACTER OF THE CRAB FISHERY HAS CHANGED SUBSTANTIALLY OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS AND SUGGESTED FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES ARE NECESSARY BECAUSE HE BELIEVES THE MANAGEMENT OF THE SPECIES IS NOT WORKING.
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13.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-1090-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Licensing Requirements and Licensing Fees" to establish oyster user fees as provided by H 1400.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A PUBLIC HEARING NEXT MONTH TO REPEAL THE EXISTING OYSTER TAXES AND REPLACE THEM WITH AN ANNUAL USER FEE FOR ALL INDUSTRY PARTICIPANTS.  THE USER FEES WOULD GO INTO EFFECT JULY 1 AND WOULD APPLY TO ALL OYSTER HARVESTERS, BOTH ON PUBLIC OYSTER ROCKS AND ON PRIVATELY LEASED OYSTER GROUNDS, AS WELL AS PACKERS, SHIPPERS AND SHUCKING HOUSES.  ANNUAL USER FEES WOULD RANGE FROM $50 FOR HAND-HARVESTERS TO $300 FOR GEAR HARVESTERS.
THIS REFORM MEASURE WAS SUGGESTED AND UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED BY AN INDUSTRY PANEL AND CODIFIED INTO LAW UNANIMOUSLY BY THE VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
THE USER FEES WILL BE USED TO PARTLY REPLENISH THE OYSTER GROUNDS RELIED ON BY THE INDUSTRY.  ALSO, THE COMMISSION APPROVED A PUBLIC HEARING NEXT MONTH TO CREATE AN OPTIONAL LIFETIME SENIOR RECREATIONAL SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE.  WHILE SENIORS AGE 65 AND OLDER ARE EXEMPT FROM HAVING TO BUY A SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE, THIS LICENSE IS BEING MADE AVAILABLE AT A ONE-TIME COST OF $5 FOR THOSE SENIOR ANGLERS WHO CHOSE TO OBTAIN A PAPER SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE IN ORDER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A LICENSE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT WITH MARYLAND.

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14.  FAILURE TO REPORT:  Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting."  THE COMMISSION PLACED TWO COMMERCIAL WATERMEN ON TWO YEARS OF PROBATION FOR FAILING TO FILE TIMELY HARVEST REPORTS, AS REQUIRED.
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15.  POUND NETS:  Cases involving protested locations for new pound nets, in accordance with Chapter 4VAC20-25-210 et seq., "Pertaining to Pound Net Siting Public Interest Review."  THIS MATTER WAS NOT HEARD BY THE COMMISSION BECAUSE THE SOLE APPLICANT FOR A POUND NET WITHDREW HIS REQUEST.
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THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVEDUNANIMOUSLY, WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BRYAN PLUMLEE ABSTAINING FROM THE VOTE ON ITEM 2B

2A.  CITY OF NORFOLK, #13-0092, requests authorization to replace four (4) deteriorated stormwater outfall structures by installing 18-inch and 30-inch diameter ductile iron pipes and associated timber support structures extending a maximum of 202 feet channelward of mean low water, including the removal of approximately 24 cubic yards of submerged material to facilitate construction of the outfall structures in the vicinity of 9th View Street, Mason Creek Road and 5th Bay Street along the Chesapeake Bay, and in the vicinity of 1001 Little Bay Avenue along Willoughby Bay in Norfolk. 

2B.  BAE SYSTEMS, #13-0360,
requests authorization to install a 44.1-foot wide by 54-foot long crane platform, a 24.7-foot wide by 35-foot long maintenance platform, and 15 associated battered piles, resulting in approximately 2,233 square feet of encroachment over State-owned submerged land adjacent to their facility at 750 West Berkley Avenue situated along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. 

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