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COMMISSION ACTIONS OCTOBER 2013

The following are the agenda items from the Commission's regular meeting held October 22, 2013 at Commission headquarters.  The Commission's actions are in bold.

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY AFTER AGENDA ITEM 6 (TERRELL W. BOWERS, #13-0656) WAS PULLED FROM THE AGENDA AT THE REQUEST OF THE APPLICANT. THE COMMISSION EXPECTS TO CONSIDER THE MATTER AT ITS NEXT MEETING, ON DEC. 10.
[Audio Agenda]

ALSO, THE AGENDA WAS MODIFIED TO ADD A BRIEFING BY DR. MARK LUCKENBACH OF THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE ON SHELLFISH DENITRIFICATION.

ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BOBBY BECK ABSENT FROM THIS MONTH’S MEETING.

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION’S SEPTEMBER MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY. ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BRYAN PLUMLEE ABSTAINED.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THESE FIVE SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS AGENDA ITEMS 2A THROUGH 2E, WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSA SINGLE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS AGENDA ITEM 3A, WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.
[Audio Item 3]

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

5. ALICE ORTMAN, #13-0759, requests authorization to install a 16-foot by 33-foot open-sided, single-slip boathouse with a 5-foot by 30-foot catwalk adjacent to her property situated along the James River at 3221 Eastbury Lane in Charles City County. This project is protested by an adjacent property owner. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED, IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION.
[Audio Item 5]

6. TERRELL W. BOWERS, #13-0656, requests authorization to construct a 150-foot long by 6-foot wide open-pile community pier with a 552-foot long by 6-foot wide T-head for 46 wet slips at the proposed Rappahannock Cliffs Subdivision on the Rappahannock River in Richmond County. The project is protested. THE PROJECT WAS RESCHEDULED FOR THE COMMISSION’S DEC. 10 MEETING AT THE REQUEST OF THE APPLICANT.
[Audio Agenda]

DR. MARK LUCKENBACH OF THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE GAVE THE COMMISSION A BRIEFING ON THE STATUS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INTO THE ABILITY OF SHELLFISH TO REMOVE NITROGEN FROM THE WATER. HE SAID STUDIES SHOW SHELLFISH DENITRIFICATION CAPABILITIES ARE LIKELY INSUFFICIENT TO BE A MEANINGFUL WAY TO REDUCE NITROGEN IN IMPAIRED WATERS, BUT MORE RESEARCH IS WARRANTED.
[Audio Dr. Mark Luckenbach]

7. PUBLIC COMMENTS. WATERMAN IDA HALL TOLD THE COMMISSION THAT THE FISHERIES REGULATIONS ARE INCREASINGLY COMPLEX AND THAT WATERMEN MAY HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME FINDING REGULATION CHANGES ON THE AGENCY’S WEBSITE.

ALSO, WATERMAN CHRIS LUDFORD ASKED THE COMMISSION TO RESEARCH WHETHER MOSQUITO ERADICATION PROGRAMS ARE
IMPACTING CRAB REPRODUCTIVE CAPABILITIES AND TO EXAMINE LOOSENING CATCH RESTRICTIONS ON OTHER SPECIES.

ALSO, KEN SMITH, PRESIDENT OF THE VIRGINIA WATERMAN’S ASSOCIATION TOLD THE COMMISSION THAT HIS ORGANIZATION IS
TRAINING WATERMEN ON HOW TO CONDUCT ECOTOURISM EFFORTS, AND SAID AN ADDITIONAL FOUR DAYS OF TRAINING WILL BE
CONDUCTED THIS WINTER.
[Audio Item 7]

8. 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 VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PLACE FOUR WATERMEN ON PROBATION FOR TWO YEARS FOR THEIR FAILURE TO FILE TIMELY HARVEST REPORTS, AS REQUIRED. THE COMMISSION SUSPENDED THE COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSES OF A FIFTH WATERMAN UNTIL HE APPEARS BEFORE THE COMMISSION FOR FAILING TO FILE TIMELY HARVEST REPORTS.
[Audio Item 8 part 1][Audio Item 8 part 2]

9. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed adoption of previous emergency amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-260-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Designation of Seed Areas and Clean Cull Areas,” to clarify culling tolerances and inspection procedures for oysters taken from public oyster beds, rocks, and shoals in Virginia’s tidal waters. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE TWO TECHNICAL CHANGES TO THE WORDING OF THE OYSTER CULLING REGULATION AND CULLING INSPECTION PROCEDURES, CODIFYING EMERGENCY MEASURES THAT WERE ENACTED AT THE COMMISSION’S SEPTEMBER MEETING.
[Audio Item 9]

10. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed recommendations for the 2013-2014 commercial blue crab fishery, to include proposals for the following Commission actions: 1) establish the lawful 2014 crab pot and peeler pot commercial harvest seasons as March 17 through November 30, 2014, for male crabs, and March 17 through November 20, 2014, for female crabs; 2) extend the crab pot fishery season, for female and male crabs through December 15, 2013; 3) consider whether to close the 2013-2014 crab dredge fishery season in its entirety; 4) establish crab pot license category-specific bushel limits that may be utilized alone for future management or to compensate for either or both an extended crab pot season and limited crab dredge fishery season; and 5) adopt a declaration date for crab fishery licensees who are eligible to use agents in 2014. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CLOSE THE WINTER CRAB DREDGE FISHERY FOR THE SIXTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR, CITING LOW CRAB ABUNDANCE AND SIGNIFICANT LEVELS OF OPPOSITION FROM BOTH THE PUBLIC AND THE COMMERCIAL CRAB POTTING COMMUNITY. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSED THE CONCEPT OF ENACTING MANAGEMENT TRIGGERS THAT WOULD ALLOW THE WINTER CRAB DREDGE FISHERY TO BE REOPENED WHEN STOCK ABUNDANCE LEVELS INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE FUTURE.

ALSO, THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO EXTEND THE FALL CRAB POT SEASON BY A MONTH, UNTIL DEC. 15, FOR THE HARVEST OF BOTH MALE AND FEMALE CRABS, WITH A REDUCTION IN THE DAILY CRAB BUSHEL LIMIT FOR THE 2014 SEASON TO OFF-SET THE CRABS THAT WILL BE CAUGHT THIS FALL. THIS MEANS THE OVERALL CRAB HARVEST IN VIRGINIA WILL NOT INCREASE AS A RESULT OF AN EXTENDED FALL CRAB POT SEASON.

AS A RESULT, THE BUSHEL LIMITS NEXT YEAR WILL RANGE FROM 16 TO 55 BUSHELS, DEPENDING ON THE NUMBER OF CRAB POTS A LICENSE-HOLDER IS ALLOWED TO USE. SPECIFICALLY, THE DAILY BUSHEL LIMITS WILL BE 16, 21, 27, 43 AND 55 BUSHELS, FROM SMALLEST TO LARGEST CRAB POT LICENSE CATEGORY.
[Audio Item 10 Part 1][Audio Item 10 Part 2]

11. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4VAC20-900-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs” to establish commercial management measures for the 2014 fishing season. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE AT ITS DEC. 10 MEETING TO ESTABLISH COMMERCIAL HORSESHOE CRAB MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR THE 2014 SEASON.
[Audio Item 11]

12. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendment to Chapter 4VAC20-252-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass” to establish the recreational and commercial striped bass harvest quota and management measures for the 2014 fishing season. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE AT ITS DEC. 10 MEETING TO ESTABLISH THE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS HARVEST QUOTA AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR THE 2014 SEASON.
[Audio Item 12]

13. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendment to Chapter 4VAC20-490-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Sharks” to establish commercial processing tolerances at seas for smooth dogfish. These amendments are proposed for compliance with the fishery management plan requirements for smooth dogfish. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE AT ITS DEC. 10 MEETING TO ESTABLISH THE COMMERCIAL SMOOTH DOGFISH AT-SEA PROCESSING TOLERANCES.
[Audio Item 13]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE 2 AGENDA ITEMS (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-1207, requests authorization to nourish approximately two miles of beach within the Naval Air Station Oceana, Dam Neck Annex, located along the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach. Approximately 700,000 cubic yards of beach quality sand, dredged from the Sandbridge Shoal area in the Atlantic (located outside of Virginia’s state territorial waters) will be hydraulically pumped onto the beach as part of an effort to nourish the beach and protect existing Navy infrastructure. The proposed nourishment will move the existing mean low water mark a maximum of 125 feet channelward. The Navy has agreed to a time-of-year-restriction of May 16 - November 30 to prevent adverse impacts to Loggerhead sea turtles and their nesting sites. 

2B. LUCK STONE, #13-1335, requests authorization to remove 4,916 cubic yards of rock to construct a tunnel at least 45 feet below Goose Creek to access aggregate reserves at the existing Luck Stone - Leesburg Quarry in Loudoun County. Recommend approval with a royalty of $13,839.60 for the removal of 4,916 cubic yards of State-owned subaqueous material at a rate of $0.60 per cubic yard, and the encroachment of the tunnel roadway on 5,445 square feet of State-owned subaqueous land at a rate of $2.00 per square foot.

2C. LAMBERTS POINT DOCKS, #13-0274, requests authorization to dredge 75,000 cubic yards of new material and to maintenance dredge 29,000 cubic yards of material during an initial cycle, and to maintenance dredge 50, 000 cubic yards of material on an as-needed basis to achieve maximum navigable depths of -36 feet mean low water adjacent to Pier N, located at the terminus of Orapax Drive situated along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Dredged material will be disposed of at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA). Staff recommends approval with a one-time royalty payment of $33,750.00 for the dredging of 75,000 cubic yards of new material at a rate of $0.45 per cubic yard. 

2D. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-1134, requests authorization to install 100 linear feet of steel, sheet pile bulkhead approximately three (3) feet channelward of the existing Dry dock #3 end wall and wing walls and the in-kind replacement of the existing wharf structure associated with Berths 16 and 17 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard situated along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. Staff recommends approval with a permit expiration date five (5) years from permit issuance, as requested by the Department of the Navy.

2E. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #13-1137
, requests authorization to install a new, concrete-pile supported wharf with an overall footprint of approximately 10,765 square feet to replace the existing wharf structure, to include the installation of 148 linear feet of bulkhead aligned from (3) feet to nine (9) feet channelward of the existing walls associated with the replacement of Berths 18 and 19 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The larger nine-foot offset is necessary to maintain the alignment of the new bulkhead around the irregular footprint of the existing dry dock wall. Staff recommends approval with a permit expiration date five years (5) years from permit issuance, as requested by the Department of the Navy. 


THE FOLLOWING PAGE 3 CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

3A. BOTETOURT COUNTY, #13-1285,
requests after-the-fact authorization to retain an existing, concrete boat ramp that extends approximately two (2) feet channelward of ordinary high water, to include the installation of native river rock surrounding the boat ramp, resulting in impacts to 120 square feet of State-owned submerged land adjacent to the Springwood Road Bridge, State Route 630, situated along the James River in Botetourt County. The applicant has agreed to pay a civil charge in the amount of $1,000.00 and triple permit fees totaling $75.00 in lieu of further enforcement action. Staff recommends approval and acceptance of the aforementioned civil charge.


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