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COMMISSION ACTIONS JULY 28, 2015

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY. [ audio ]

1. MINUTES of previous meeting.  UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS WRITTEN. [ 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 ITEMS 2A THROUGH 2D WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED. [ audio ]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS.  NONE. [ audio ]

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

5. VIRGINIA ELECTRIC & POWER CO., #15-0533, requests authorization to cross the Rappahannock River with a new, 115kV transmission line immediately downstream of the Route 3 Norris Bridge between Middlesex and Lancaster Counties. The existing line will be removed from the bridge and the new line will be suspended on ten (10) new towers, with a fender system to be installed around the two new towers on either side of the navigation channel. The project is protested by a citizen in Urbanna. THE COMMISSION APPROVED THE PROJECT 8 TO 0, WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER HAYNIE ABSTAINING, WITH THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF INCLUDING A TIME-OF-YEAR RESTRICTION PROHIBITING PILE DRIVING BETWEEN FEBRUARY 15 TO JUNE 30 OF EACH YEAR TO PROTECT ANADROMOUS FISH AND A TIME RESTRICTION PROHIBITING CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY WITHIN 600 FEET OF ANY ACTIVE PEREGRINE FALCON NEST BETWEEN FEBRUARY 15 AND JULY 15 WITH A PROVISION THAT THE RESTRICTION MAY BE WAIVED IF THE NEST IS FOUND TO BE INACTIVE OR THE CHICKS HAVE FLEDGED OR BEEN RELOCATED BY THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES. ADDITIONALLY, THE COMMISSION APPROVAL INCLUDED CONDITIONS REQUIRING THE USE OF BUBBLE CURTAINS WHILE DRIVING PILINGS IN SHALLOW WATERS AND REQUIRED THE PILE DRIVING TO UTILIZE “RAMP-UP” PROCEDURES WHEN INITIATING EACH PILE DRIVING SESSION. THE APPROVAL ALSO INCLUDED A TOTAL ROYALTY OF $64,120.00 FOR THE CROSSING OF THE TRANSMISSION LINE OVER 10,320 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $3.00 PER LINEAR FOOT AND FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE SUPPORT STRUCTURES AND FENDER SYSTEM ON 16,580 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT A RATE OF $2.00 PER SQUARE FOOT. [ audio ]

6. MR. B’S OYSTER COMPANY LLC, #14-1632, requests authorization to deploy a total of 512 commercial aquaculture floats in an 8,100 square foot area along the West Yeocomico River at Oyster Shell Point in Northumberland County. The project is protested by an upland property owner. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT WITH SEVERAL SPECIAL AQUACULTURE CONDITIONS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF AND WITH AN ANNUAL ROYALTY IN THE AMOUNT OF $40.50 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE FLOATS ON 8,000 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED LAND AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF $0.005 PER SQUARE FOOT. [ audio ]

7. KEITH BATTS, #14-1664, requests authorization to construct an 11-foot by 13-foot open-sided gazebo over the reconstructed private pier head serving 2102 Turnstone Quay in the Broad Bay Point subdivision, situated along Ferebee Cove in Virginia Beach. The project is protested by an adjoining property owner. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED. [ audio ]

8. SHIRLEY CONTRACTING COMPANY, LLC, #15-0076, requests authorization to fill approximately 14,000 square feet (1,994 square feet is temporary for construction access) of Horsepen Run, a tributary to the Potomac River in association with the proposed widening of the Route 606/Loudoun County Parkway near the Dulles Greenway interchange in Loudon County. The project is protested by an adjacent property owner. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT WITH SEVERAL SPECIAL CONDITIONS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF TO MINIMIZE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE IN-STREAM CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES. [ audio ]

9. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed “Living Shoreline Group 1 General Permit for Certain Living Shoreline Treatments Involving Tidal Wetlands.” The general permit regulation is being developed pursuant to 28.2-104.1 of the Code of Virginia. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE DRAFT GENERAL PERMIT REGULATION WITH SEVERAL MINOR CHANGES RECOMMENDED BY STAFF WITH AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2015. [ audio ]

10. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Mr. John Brown - Mr. Brown, a recreational licensee expressed serious concern over the speckled trout fishery. Mr. Brown prepared a presentation of the speckled trout catch covering the past four years for the Commission. He said this was his personal analysis and not scientific research. He encouraged the Commission to consider adopting more restrictive regulations for the speckled trout fishery.

Mr. Ken Smith - President Virginia Watermen's Association. Mr. Smith spoke about the winter dredge survey and the decisions to be made by the Commission on this subject at the upcoming September meeting. Mr. Smith supports opening the winter dredge fishery. [ audio ]

11. OFFENDERS:  THE COMMISSION HEARD 4 CASES ON OFFENDERS WITH NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATIONS. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PLACE ONE INDIVIDUAL ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR FOR VIOLATIONS IN THE OYSTER FISHERY OF THE POSSESSION OF UNCULLED OYSTERS AND THE HARVEST OF RECREATIONAL OYSTERS IN A CLOSED SEASON. THE COMMISSION PLACED ONE INDIVIDUAL ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR FOR THE POSSESSION OF UNCULLED OYSTERS. TWO INDIVIDUALS WERE NOT PRESENT FOR THEIR HEARING AND THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO SUSPEND ALL LICENSES AND TIDAL FISHING RIGHTS UNTIL THEY APPEAR IN FRONT OF THE COMMISSION. [ audio ]

12. FAILURE TO REPORT: Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4 VAC 20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting.".  THE COMMISSION HEARD ONE CASE FOR THE FAILURE TO REPORT COMMERCIAL HARVEST TO THE COMMISSION’S MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTING PROGRAM. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PLACE THE INDIVIDUAL ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS. [ audio ]

13. PUBLIC HEARING: Request to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-610-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting” to modify the criteria for an exception to the two-year delay process for a Commercial Fisherman Registration License. ENTRY INTO THE COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY REQUIRES AN APPLICANT TO APPLY FOR A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN REGISTRATION LICENSE (CFRL). THERE ARE TWO AVENUES FOR RECEIVING A CFRL. THE FIRST IS THE TWO-YEAR DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM AND THE SECOND IS THROUGH A LICENSE TRANSFER. CURRENTLY EXCEPTIONS TO THE TWO-YEAR DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM INCLUDE DEMONSTRATION THAT THE APPLICANT HAS FISHED A SIGNIFICANT QUANTITY OF GEAR IN AT LEAST TWO OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS AND DEMONSTRATION OF A SIGNIFICANT HARDSHIP CAUSED BY UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PREVENTED THE APPLICANT FROM ENTERING THE TWO-YEAR DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM. APPROVED EXCEPTIONS TO THE TWO-YEAR DELAYED ENTRY RESULTED IN NEARLY A 25% ADDITION TO EFFORT IN THE PUBLIC OYSTER FISHERY DURING THE PAST THREE YEARS. IN ADDITION, THE CURRENT EXCEPTIONS ARE DIFFICULT FOR STAFF TO VERIFY AND ALLOW APPLICANTS TO BYPASS A PROGRAM THAT WAS CRAFTED BY LEGISLATION AS A GRADUAL MEANS FOR ENTRY INTO VIRGINIA COMMERCIAL FISHERIES.

THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO MODIFY THE CRITERIA FOR AN EXCEPTION TO THE TWO-YEAR DELAY PROCESS FOR A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN REGISTRATION LICENSE. AN EXCEPTION MAY NOW ONLY BE GRANTED FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO PURCHASE A CFRL FROM ANOTHER FISHERMAN, DEMONSTRATES DEATH OF AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER WHO HOLDS A CFRL OR DEMONSTRATES A SIGNIFICANT HARDSHIP BASED ON HEALTH OR MILITARY DUTY. THE ANNUAL RENEWAL DATES FOR CFRL HOLDERS WILL NOW BE DECEMBER THROUGH APRIL OF EACH YEAR. [ audio ]

14. PUBLIC HEARING: Request to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-560-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Shellfish Management Areas” to establish the lawful season of harvest of clams by patent tong from the Newport News Shellfish Management Area, and prohibit additional lease applications within this clam management area.  THE NEWPORT NEWS SHELLFISH MANAGEMENT AREA WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1997 FOR USE BY THE PATENT TONG CLAM INDUSTRY AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THIS AREA WAS DECLARED CLEAN BOTTOM. THE MANAGEMENT AREA IS CURRENTLY OPEN TO HARVEST FROM DECEMBER 1 THROUGH APRIL 30. VMRC STAFF RECEIVED A REQUEST FROM INDUSTRY TO MODIFY THE OPEN DATES OF THIS MANAGEMENT AREA TO BE MAY 1 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30. THIS ALLOWS THE INDUSTRY YEAR-ROUND WORK BY HARVESTING OYSTERS IN THE WINTER SEASON AND CLAMS IN THE SUMMER SEASON. THE INDUSTRY HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THEY WILL NOW BE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PUBLIC HEALTH AND WARM WATERS RESTRICTIONS FOR SHELLFISH.

THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH THE LAWFUL SEASON OF HARVEST OF CLAMS BY PATENT FROM THE NEWPORT NEWS SHELLFISH MANAGEMENT AREA AS MAY 1 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30 AND TO PROHIBIT ANY ADDITIONAL LEASE APPLICATIONS WITHIN THIS CLAM MANAGEMENT AREA.
[ audio ]

15. DISCUSSION ITEM: Consideration of a petition (pursuant to section 28.2-214 of the Code of Virginia) requesting a review of the $150.00 fee for a Daily Restricted Shellfish Area Relay Permit established by Regulation 4VAC20-1290-10 ET SEQ, PERTAINING TO RESTRICTIONS ON THE HARVEST OF SHELLFISH IN CONDEMNED SHELLFISH AREAS, effective June 1, 2015. The Commission will accept public comment on the petition.  THE COMMISSION HEARD PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE $150.00 FEE FOR THE DAILY RESTRICTED SHELLFISH AREA RELAY PERMIT THAT WAS ESTABLISHED JUNE 1, 2015 FOLLOW A PUBLIC HEARING. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO DENY ANOTHER PUBLIC HEARING ON THE ISSUE. [ audio ]

16. DISCUSSION ITEM: Status of oyster stocks on public oyster grounds for the 2015- 2016 harvest season. VMRC STAFF PRESENTED THE COMMISSION INFORMATION ON THE CURRENT HEALTH OF VIRGINIA’S PUBLIC OYSTER GROUNDS. BASED ON THE ANNUAL OYSTER SURVEY, VIMS AND VMRC STAFF PREDICT UPCOMING REDUCTIONS IN HARVEST OPPORTUNITIES RELATED TO POOR SPAT SETS IN 2013 AND 2014 AS COMPARED TO 2012. THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE OF OVERCAPACITY IN THE PUBLIC OYSTER FISHERY BECAUSE OF A FLOOD OF NEW ENTRANTS WITHIN THE PAST 4 YEARS. THE FISHERY IS ALSO BURDENED BY THE RISING PRICES OF SHELL FOR THE PLANTING OF CULTCH WHICH IS NECESSARY FOR RECRUITMENT IN FUTURE YEARS. THE OYSTER INDUSTRY AND THE COMMISSION WILL NEED TO DISCUSS EFFORT REDUCTIONS FOR THE 2015 AND 2016 PUBLIC OYSTER SEASONS. [ audio ]

17. REQUEST FOR AUGUST PUBLIC HEARING: Amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20- 720-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest,” to establish the 2015-2016 public oyster harvest seasons and management measures that could include, but are not limited to, lower bushel limits and effort limitations.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR AN AUGUST 25, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-720-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO RESTRICTIONS ON OYSTER HARVEST [ audio ]

18. REQUEST FOR AUGUST PUBLIC HEARING: Amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20- 490-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Sharks,” to request establishing a prohibition on the use of any bow hunting gear to take, capture, or kill any ray or skate species.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO POSTPONE A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PROHIBITION OF RAYS OR SKATES BY BOW HUNTING UNTIL THE FINFISH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MAY DISCUSS AND DELIBERATE ON THE ISSUES. [ audio ]

19. REQUEST FOR AN AUGUST PUBLIC HEARING: To conform the penalty section of Chapter 4 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Speckled Trout and Red Drum” with recent changes to the Code of Virginia.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR AN AUGUST 25, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-280-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO SPECKLED TROUT AND RED DRUM” [ audio ]

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

2A. NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP., #15-0196, requests authorization to construct a living shoreline, to include three (3) riprap sill structures totaling approximately 1,270 linear feet, to include associated sand fill and vegetated wetlands plantings landward of the structures, at their Lambert’s Point facility situated along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk.

2B. TRANSCONTINENTAL GAS PIPELINE COMPANY, LLC, #15-0428, requests authorization to install by the open-cut method, a 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline a minimum of five (5) feet beneath a 66-foot wide section of Reedy Creek, approximately three quarters of a mile south of Totaro, in Brunswick County. Staff recommends approval with standard instream permit conditions and a royalty of $198.00 for crossing 66 linear feet of State-owned submerged land at a rate of $3.00 per linear foot.

2C. HAMPTON YACHT CLUB, INC., #15-0227, requests authorization to install a 7-foot wide open pile commercial pier extending 259 feet channelward of an existing bulkhead, a 5-foot by 107-foot T-head, 11 4-foot by 50-foot finger piers and one (1) 4-foot by 35-foot finger pier to facilitate 25 boat slips, 52 linear feet of bulkhead, a 70.5-foot by 6-foot floating dock with 95 square feet of additional deck space and a pump-out facility, and to mechanically dredge 3,000 cubic yards of State-owned subaqueous bottom to attain depths of minus nine (-9) feet mean low water along the Hampton River at 515 Bridge Street in the City of Hampton. Staff recommends approval with standard dredging permit conditions and a royalty in the amount of $42,409.00 for the dredging of 3,000 cubic yards at $0.45 per cubic yard, the outline of the proposed piers over 27,054 square feet of subaqueous bottom at $1.50 per square foot, and the filling of 104 square feet of State-owned subaqueous bottom at a rate $2.00 per square foot.

2D. CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH, #15-0549, requests authorization to annually dredge, by either mechanical or hydraulic methods, approximately 27,000 cubic yards of State-owned submerged bottomlands within the existing Crab Creek municipal channel adjacent to the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp and Beach Facility in Virginia Beach. The interior channel will be dredged to maximum depths of minus six (-6) feet mean low water from the ramp to the turning basin at the southernmost point, and a maximum of minus nine (-9) feet for the exterior channel from the turning basin to the end point where it connects to the existing Lynnhaven Inlet Federal Navigational Channel south of the Lesner Bridge. A time-of-year-restriction will be imposed to prevent dredging from March 1 – September 30 to protect juvenile flounder. Dredge spoils will be mechanically offloaded either on-site, or hydraulically pumped to the Ocean Park Beach situated along the Chesapeake Bay. The City may also mechanically offload at the Maple Street Dredged Material Management area situated along Long Creek for only the first three years of the permit, as necessary. The City identified the Maple Street area as a possible offloading location because of potential site access concerns at the Lynnhaven Facility and Ocean Park Beach due to the ongoing Lesner Bridge staging and construction.

THERE WERE NO PAGE THREE ITEMS.


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