Search

PN No. 24.12; LRN-2024-00097

Nashville District
Published March 19, 2024
Expiration date: 4/19/2024

Please address comments to: Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, 3701 Bell Road, Nashville, TN 37214-2660

SUBJECT:  This notice announces a prospectus has been submitted for the development of the Smith Hollow Mitigation Bank pursuant to 33 CFR 332, Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources (Federal Register: April 10, 2008, effective June 9, 2008).

BANK SPONSOR:  Blue Ridge Waterways LLC.

                                    Attention: Andrew Bick

                                    300 Walker Boulevard

Maryville, Tennessee 37803

LOCATION: The proposed Smith Hollow Mitigation Bank (SHMB) project site involves a 35 acre parcel located off Smith Hollow Lane near Pleasant Shade, Smith County, Tennessee (Latitude 36.4025; Longitude -85.8967). The proposed bank boundary is located within the Pleasant Shade, Tennessee USGS Topographic Quadrangle. The project lies within the Cordell Hull Watershed (HUC 05130106) and Level III ecoregion 71 – Interior Plateau.

PURPOSE:  The SHMB is proposed to provide compensatory stream mitigation for permitted impacts within the primary service area of the Upper Cumberland, Cordell Hull Watershed (HUC 05130106). The Bank’s proposed secondary service area includes Old Hickory Lake Watershed (HUC 05130201) and Caney Fork River Watershed (HUC 05130108) that is within the Level III Ecoregion 71.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Mitigation banks are defined as a site, or suite of sites, where aquatic resources (e.g., wetlands, streams, riparian areas) are restored, established, enhanced, and/or preserved for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for impacts authorized by Department of the Army (DA) permits pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. In general, units of restored, established, enhanced or preserved wetlands or streams are expressed as “credits” which may subsequently be withdrawn to offset “debits” incurred at a permitted project site. In this way, a permit requirement to provide compensatory mitigation can be transferred to the mitigation bank sponsor. The operation and use of mitigation banks are governed by an approved mitigation banking instrument (MBI). The MBI is the legal document for the establishment, operation and the use of a mitigation bank. This bank is intended to be a private commercial bank. The sponsor would be responsible for the successful development of the mitigation bank including monitoring and reporting requirements.

A group of federal and state regulatory and resource agency representatives known as the Interagency Review Team (IRT) oversee the establishment and management of the bank.  The IRT is chaired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).  The primary role of the IRT is to facilitate the establishment of the mitigation bank through the development of a MBI. The IRT will review the prospectus, instrument, and other appropriate documents and provide comments to the USACE.

The approval for the use of the bank for specific projects is the decision of the USACE pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) pursuant to Section 401 of the CWA and/or applicable state of Tennessee statute(s) and regulation(s). The USACE and TDEC provide no guarantee that any particular individual or general permit would be authorized in order to use the bank for compensation. The following is a summary of the prospectus for this project.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  The Bank site currently consists of approximately 7,983 linear feet of eight (8) unnamed intermittent tributaries to Carver Branch. The existing streams are degraded from historic habitat alterations, channelization, silviculture, channel modifications, excessive sediment due to bank erosion, and riparian buffers being managed for hay. Past land use and management activities have contributed to the physical, chemical, and biological degradation of stream ecological functions within the project boundary.

The project goal is to restore and preserve self-sustaining, functional streams to mitigate for lost functions due to unavoidable off-site impacts to streams. Where valley width allows, restoration will create new stream channels that meander across their floodplains in sequences of suitably spaced riffles and pools, thereby improving bedform diversity, lateral and vertical stability, and floodplain connectivity. This approach will result in the establishment of several hundred feet of new channel. In the steeper, more confined valleys (UTs 3, 4 and 5), restoration will largely consist of creating riffle and pool sequences on-line and stabilizing eroding banks. Riparian buffer re-establishment will be accomplished by planting live stakes and herbaceous plugs on the banks, and bare root trees and shrubs within the riparian buffer. These plantings will help increase wood and other organic matter inputs to the system. Table 1: Stream Mitigation Summary shows the existing and proposed linear feet of streams on the site. The proposed SHMB is anticipated to provide up to 2,512 functional stream credits from the 8,125 linear feet of stream establishment, restoration, and preservation.

Table 1. Smith Hollow Mitigation Bank Stream Mitigation Summary

Potential Stream Credit Summary: TN SQT Method
Reach ID Treatment Existing Stream Length (feet) Proposed Stream Length (feet) ECS PCS Change in Functional Condition (PCS-ECS) Functional Lift (Credits)
UT1 Restoration 532 532 0.44 0.80 0.36 192.00
UT2, R1 Preservation 355 355 0.78 0.78 0.00 27.70
UT2, R2 Restoration 110 122 0.51 0.81 0.30 43.00
UT3, R1 Restoration 1784 1784 0.43 0.76 0.33 589.00
UT3, R2 Restoration 1002 1094 0.44 0.81 0.37 445.00
UT4, R1 Restoration 1861 1867 0.42 0.77 0.35 656.00
UT4, R2 Restoration 900 906 0.44 0.80 0.36 329.00
UT5 Preservation 412 412 0.75 0.75 0.00 30.90
UT6 Restoration 300 300 0.49 0.77 0.28 84.00
UT7 Restoration 257 283 0.44 0.81 0.37 116.00
UT8 Preservation 296 296     0.00  
UT5 Upper Preservation 174 174     0.00  
    7983 8125       2521.6

The plan can be viewed at: https://www.lrd.usace.army.mil/Wetlands-Permits/. Information in the prospectus would serve as the basis for establishing the stream mitigation banking instrument (MBI). The MBI would describe in detail the physical and legal characteristics of the bank and how the bank would be established and operated. 

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: A search of the National Register returned no findings of historic properties currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places within the project area. A Phase I cultural/archaeological survey has not been conducted for the site. At this early stage in the regulatory process, no project design plans have been submitted; therefore, USACE cannot complete an effects determination for historic and cultural resources. The Corps invites responses to this public notice from American Indian Tribes or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns regarding historic properties and sites of religious and cultural significance at or near the project area.  After receipt of comments from this public notice, the Corps will evaluate potential impacts and consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and American Indian Tribes in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.  Copies of this public notice are being provided to the SHPO and American Indian Tribes.  This public notice serves to initiate the public involvement requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.  The Corps will continue to consult with the SHPO, American Indian Tribes, and other consulting parties in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES REVIEW:  A review of federally-listed species that are known to or believed to occur in Smith County, Tennessee identified the following list:

Species Nomenclature

Federal Status

Mammals

Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)

 Endangered

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)

 Endangered

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Threatened

Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Proposed Endangered

Clams

Cumberlandian Combshell (Epioblasma brevidens)

Endangered

Dromedary Pearlymussel (Dromus dromas)

Endangered

Fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria)

Endangered

Orange Pimpleback (pearlymussel) (Plethobasus cooperianus)

Endangered

Pink Mucket (pearlymussel) (Lampsilis abrupta)

Endangered

Ring Pink (mussel) (Obovaria retusa)

Endangered

Rough Pigtoe  (Pleuronaia dolabelloides)

Endangered

Spectaclecase (mussel) (Cumberlandia monodonta)

Endangered

A copy of this notice is being furnished to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for their review. After receipt of any comments, the Corps will evaluate the potential effects to proposed and/or listed species and their designated critical habitat, and initiate consultation with the USFWS, if required.

OTHER APPROVALS:  Water Quality Certification from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) pursuant to Section 401 (a)(1) of the CWA is required for the proposed project.  Other federal, state, and/or local approvals may be required for the proposed work.

EVALUATION:  After the end of the comment period, the district engineer will review all comments received and make an initial determination as to the potential of the proposed project to provide compensatory mitigation for activities authorized by DA permits. That determination will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. Factors relevant to the proposal will be considered including conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; American Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the proposed activity. All comments received will be considered by the Corps during the formulation of the initial determination of potential for the proposed activity.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Written statements received in this office within 30 days from the date of this notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the determination.  Any response to this notice should be directed to the Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, Attention: Michael P. Uitvlugt at the above address, email: michael.p.uitvlugt@usace.army.mil, or phone at: (505) 985-2497. 

 

\s\

William E. Worrall
Chief, Technical Services Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers