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COMMISSION ACTIONS APRIL 28, 2015

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED WITH TWO MINOR MODIFICATIONS REGARDING DEFERRING ONE HABITAT DISCUSSION AND COMBINING THREE PUBLIC HEARING REQUESTS.   [ audio ]

1. MINUTES of previous meeting.  APPROVED.  [ audio ]

2.  PERMITS  (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THE SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW AS 2A THROUGH 2C WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.    [ audio ]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS.  NONE.   [ audio ]

4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE    [ audio ]

5. SIX M LLC, #14-0486, requests authorization to install 13 timber mooring dolphins, each consisting of 7-pile clusters arranged on 50-foot centers for a total length of 600 feet, in the vicinity of 425 Campostella Drive situated along an unnamed tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. The project is protested by several adjacent property owners. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A REQUEST FROM THE APPLICANT TO CONTINUE THIS MATTER TO AN UNDETERMINED FUTURE MEETING DATE.  [ audio ]

6. BEDFORD REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITY, #15-0283, requests authorization to install an 18-inch PVC water main under 94 linear feet of Goose Creek, utilizing directional jack and bore methodology, as part of the Lakes to Forest Water Line Extension Project near Route 122 in Bedford County. The project is protested. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT CONDITIONED UPON THE RECEIPT OF AN ACCEPTABLE “FRAC-OUT MONITORING AND RESPONSE PLAN,” AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF.  [ audio ]

7. GILES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, #12-0739, requests after-the-fact authorization to cross 140 linear feet of Doe Creek at three (3) locations adjacent to U.S. Route 460 by installing a new water line, by trench method, a minimum of six (6) inches beneath the streambed in Giles County. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THIS PROJECT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH STAFF’S RECOMMENDATION, INCLUDING AN AFTER-THE-FACT PERMIT FEE AT THE TRIPLE RATE OF $300.  [ audio ]

8. BUCHANAN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, #14-1196, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain a 50-foot long by 15-foot wide clear span vehicle crossing of Big Prater Creek along Deep Creek Road in Buchanan County. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THIS PROJECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH STAFF’S RECOMMENDATION, INCLUDING AN AFTER-THE-FACT PERMIT FEE AT THE TRIPLE RATE OF $300.  [ audio ]

9. PUBLIC COMMENTS:  MR. GRANVILLE HOGG OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTY SPOKE TO THE COMMISSION ABOUT THE IMPACT OF LARGE AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS ON THE ECOSYSTEM. MR. HOGG EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE LARGE AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS WERE CONSUMING MOST OF THE FOOD IN THE ECOSYSTEM AND THAT INDIVIDUALS WITH SMALL CLAM OR OYSTER OPERATIONS UP RIVER ARE BEING IMPACTED. MR. HOGG SAID THE OYSTERS HE AND OTHERS WERE PLANTING WERE NOT GROWING AS LARGE AS THEY SHOULD BE. HE REQUESTED THE COMMISSION CONSIDER THIS WHEN LEASING BOTTOM LAND.  [ audio A  | audio B ]

10. OFFENDERS:  THE COMMISSION HEARD THREE CASES ON OFFENDERS WITH REPEATED OFFENSES AND NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATIONS. THE COMMISSION VOTED TO REVOKE THE LICENSES AND FISHING PRIVILEGES WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH OF ONE INDIVIDUAL FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS, AND TO PLACE ONE INDIVIDUAL ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED (7-1 ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ERSKINE VOTING NO) TO PLACE ONE INDIVIDUAL WITH STRIPED BASS VIOLATIONS ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR, WITH A TWO-YEAR SUSPENSION FROM THE COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS FISHERY.  [ audio ]

11. FAILURE TO REPORT:  THE COMMISSION HEARD FIVE CASES PERTAINING TO FAILURE TO REPORT COMMERCIAL HARVEST TO THE MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTING PROGRAM. ALL CASES WERE NOTIFIED BY STAFF SEVERAL TIMES BY PHONE, MAIL AND CERTIFIED LETTERS THAT THEIR REPORTS WERE MISSING. PER THE REQUEST OF A LAWYER, THE COMMISSION VOTED (7-1 ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER NEILL VOTING NO) TO CONTINUE ONE INDIVIDUAL’S CASE UNTIL THE MAY COMMISSION MEETING. TWO INDIVIDUALS FAILED TO APPEAR FOR THEIR HEARING, SO THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO SUSPEND THEIR LICENSES UNTIL THEY APPEAR FOR A HEARING. THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED TO PLACE TWO INDIVIDUALS ON PROBATION FOR A TWO YEAR PERIOD, AND SUSPEND THEIR LICENSES UNTIL THEIR DELINQUENT HARVEST REPORTS ARE ACCURATELY REPORTED AND RECEIVED BY THE MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTING DEPARTMENT.  [ audio ]

12. STRIPED BASS - PUBLIC HEARING Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass” to increase the minimum size limit from 32- inches to 36-inches, for the trophy-size striped bass recreational fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and Coastal Area.  AT THE PREVIOUS MEETING, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNDER EMERGENCY ACTION TO ESTABLISH THE COASTAL AREA AND CHESAPEAKE AREA TROPHY-SIZE STRIPED BASS MINIMUM POSSESSION SIZE LIMIT OF 36 INCHES TOTAL LENGTH. THIS WAS NECESSARY AS AN EMERGENCY ACTION BECAUSE OF IMPROPER ADVERTISING. AT THIS PUBLIC HEARING, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PERMANENTLY CODIFY THESE AMENDMENTS.  [ audio ]

13. RECREATIONAL LICENSE FEES - PUBLIC HEARING Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1090-10 et seq., “Pertaining to License Requirements and License Fees,” to reinstate recreational fishing license fees to previous, lower October 2014 amounts.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CODIFY A REDUCTION IN THE PRICE OF A RECREATIONAL SALTWATER LICENSE THAT WAS ENACTED THROUGH AN EMERGENCY REGULATION IN APRIL.   [ audio ]

14. LICENSE REVOCATIONS - PUBLIC HEARING Proposed final adoption of emergency amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1280-10 et seq., “Pertaining to License Revocations,” to establish penalties for individuals who violate a Commission-issued revocation of fishing licenses or fishing privileges, in order to minimize damage to the seafood industry or public health.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO CODIFY IN REGULATION AS A CLASS 3 MISDEMEANOR FISHING WHILE UNDER LICENSE REVOCATION. THIS WAS ENACTED AS AN EMERGENCY REGULATION IN APRIL.   [ audio ]

15. SUMMER FLOUNDER - PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Summer Flounder,” that will close the summer flounder commercial offshore fishery on April 19, 2015.  AT THE PREVIOUS COMMISSION MEETING, THE COMMISSION VOTED, THROUGH EMERGENCY ACTION, TO CLOSE THE SUMMER FLOUNDER COMMERCIAL OFFSHORE FISHERY ON APRIL 19, 2015. THIS MEASURE WAS A REQUEST BY INDUSTRY IN ORDER TO PREVENT A QUOTA OVERAGE. TODAY, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PERMANENTLY ADOPT THESE EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS.  [ audio ]

16. BLACK SEA BASS - PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass,” to establish the 2015 recreational season for black sea bass, as May 15 through September 21 and October 22 through December 31.  STAFF ADVERTISED FOR AMENDMENTS THAT MODIFY THE DATES FOR THE RECREATIONAL FISHING SEASON FOR BLACK SEA BASS. THESE AMENDMENTS WOULD MODIFY THE 2015 RECREATIONAL SEASON FOR BLACK SEA BASS FROM MAY 19 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 21 AND OCTOBER 18 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, TO MAY 15 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 21 AND OCTOBER 22 THROUGH DECEMBER 31. THE POSSESSION LIMIT WILL CONTINUE TO BE 15 FISH AND THE MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT WILL BE 12.5 INCHES, TOTAL LENGTH.   [ audio ]

17. ATLANTIC MENHADEN - PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Atlantic Menhaden,” to establish the 2015 commercial non-purse seine menhaden bait sector quota as 4,629,542 pounds. This is a quota reduction to account for the 2014 quota landings overage of this sector.  STAFF ADVERTISED FOR A REDUCTION IN QUOTA FOR THE 2015 NON-PURSE SEINE MENHADEN BAIT SECTOR TO ACCOUNT FOR THE 2014 QUOTA LANDINGS OVERAGE OF THIS SECTOR. IN 2014, LANDINGS FROM THE NON-PURSE SEINE MENHADEN BAIT SECTOR EXCEEDED THE 5,021,529 POUND QUOTA OF ALLOWABLE MENHADEN LANDINGS BY 391,988 POUNDS. SECTION 28.2-400.2 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA REQUIRES THE COMMISSION TO REDUCE THE QUOTA FOR THE SECTOR OF THE MENHADEN FISHERY THAT EXCEEDED THE ALLOCATION, BY THE AMOUNT OF THE OVERAGE. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH THE 2015 NON-PURSE SEINE MENHADEN BAIT SECTOR QUOTA AS 4,629,542 POUNDS, WHICH ADJUSTS FOR LAST YEAR’S AVERAGE. [ audio ]

18. RECOMMENDATION: From the Commercial Fishing Advisory Board, on funding a river herring sampling project from the Virginia Marine Fishing Improvement Fund.  THE COMMERCIAL FISHING ADVISORY BOARD (CFAB) RECOMMENDS FUNDING A RIVER HERRING SAMPLING PROJECT FROM THE VIRGINIA MARINE FISHING IMPROVEMENT FUND. THIS PROJECT REQUESTS $40,000 FROM THE FUND TO INCREASE SAMPLING EFFORTS AND TO ENHANCE THE MONITORING PROGRAM FOR RIVER HERRING BY THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE. STAFF RECOMMENDED APPROVAL OF FUNDING $40,000 FROM THE MARINE FISHING IMPROVEMENT FUND TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.   [ audio ]

[ audio - crab dredge survey briefing ]

19. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: On proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Sharks,” to advertise the establishment of an increase in the spiny dogfish commercial harvest quota for the upcoming fishing season, May 1 through April 30.  STAFF REQUESTED TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO SHARKS,” TO ESTABLISH AN INCREASE IN THE SPINY DOGFISH COMMERCIAL HARVEST QUOTA FOR THE UPCOMING FISHING SEASON, MAY 1 THROUGH APRIL 30. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING. 

20. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: On proposed amendments to Chapters 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Crabbing” and 4 VAC 20-752-10 et seq. ”Pertaining to Blue Crab Sanctuary,” in order to ensure conservation of the blue crab resource.  STAFF REQUESTED TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-270-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO CRABBING,” CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-752-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO BLUE CRAB SANCTUARY,” CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-370-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO THE CULLING OF CRABS,”, AND CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1140-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO CRAB DREDGING IN VIRGINIA WATERS” IN ORDER TO ENSURE CONSERVATION OF THE BLUE CRAB RESOURCE. THE VMRC STAFF, SCIENTISTS WITH THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE, AND THE CRAB MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO ENHANCE EFFICIENCY WITHIN THE COMMERCIAL BLUE CRAB INDUSTRY, WHILE FURTHER PROMOTING THE CONSERVATION OF THE BLUE CRAB RESOURCE. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING.

RESULTS FROM THE 2014-2015 BAY-WIDE WINTER DREDGE SURVEY OF BLUE CRAB WERE PRESENTED TO THE COMMISSION. THIS ANNUAL SURVEY IS CONDUCTED BY VIMS AND THE MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES. RESULTS STATED THAT THE ABUNDANCE OF JUVENILES HAS INCREASED FROM THE PREVIOUS SURVEY, WHILE THE ABUNDANCE OF POTENTIAL SPAWNING FEMALE CRABS HAS IMPROVED BUT STILL REMAINS LOW. THERE WAS A SUBSTANTIAL OVERWINTERING MORTALITY OF CRABS, AND THAT EVENT REDUCED THE POTENTIAL FEMALE SPAWNING CRABS FROM ROUGHLY 124 MILLION TO 100 MILLION. WHILE THESE RESULTS ARE A POSITIVE SIGN, IT’S PROBABLY NOT ENOUGH TO LIFT STRICT LIMITS ON THE NUMBERS OF BLUE CRABS THAT CAN BE COMMERCIALLY FISHED. THE COMMISSION WILL CONTINUE TO CAUTIOUSLY MANAGE ITS CRAB STOCK TO THE TARGET

21. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: On proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1290-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Relaying of condemned shellfish,” to establish a daily permit and associated fee for the harvest and relay of condemned shellfish.  STAFF REQUESTED TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1290-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO RELAYING OF CONDEMNED SHELLFISH” AND CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1090-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO LICENSING REQUIREMENTS AND LICENSE FEES,” TO ESTABLISH A DAILY PERMIT AND ASSOCIATED FEE FOR THE HARVEST AND RELAY OF CONDEMNED SHELLFISH. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 26, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING.

Scup (Porgy)—Request for Public Hearing:  Staff requested to advertise for a May 26, 2015 Public Hearing for amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-910-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Scup (Porgy),” to establish the 2015 commercial scup summer period harvest quota as 13,646 pounds. The Commission voted unanimously to approve staff recommendation to advertise for a May 26, 2015 Public Hearing.

[ audio - Items 19-21 and scup]


THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED
PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A. RICHMOND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #15-0275, requests authorization to demolish and replace the 168 linear foot “Intermediate Terminal Dock” within the same footprint, replacing its failing timber pilings with metal sheet pilings driven in the same locations at 3101 Wharf Street, along the James River between Rocketts Landing and Gillies Creek, in the City of Richmond. Staff recommends approval of the project with a special permit condition for a time-of-year restriction of February 15 through June 30 to protect anadromous fish species.

2B. VIRGINIA BEACH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #15-0254,
requests authorization to construct a new channel fender system under the new Lesner Bridge currently being constructed over the Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach. Each fender will be 225 feet in total length and consist of horizontal timbers attached to steel piles extending a minimum of seven feet above the mean high water elevation. The fenders will be lighted, include three-foot wide catwalks on the exterior sides, and provide 150 feet of horizontal clearance for the existing federal channel under the bridge.

2C. U.S. COAST GUARD, #15-0148,
requests authorization to construct two (2) 7-foot wide by 73-foot long travel lift piers to replace the existing piers, and to construct a 17-foot wide by 12-foot long timber maintenance pier adjacent to 4000 Coast Guard Boulevard situated along the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. 



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