Public Notices

Public Notice 21-23; LRN-2021-00572

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Nashville District
Published July 14, 2021
Expiration date: 8/13/2021

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

BANK SPONSOR:  Christmas Creek Revival, LLC
                                   Attention:  Mr. Zachary Wilbanks
                                   210 Redmayne Road
                                   Gardendale, Alabama 35071

LOCATION: The CCMB is located approximately one mile to the southeast of Christiana, Rutherford County, Tennessee and consists of two separate easement areas. The eastern-most area consists of approximately 31.3 acres of land immediately east of Sims Road. The western-most area consists of approximately 164.7 acres of land north of Sims Court. The site has a central latitude and longitude coordinates of 35.6922°, -86.3898° respectively.  The entire project boundary is located within the Fosterville, Tennessee USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

 PURPOSE:  The CCMB is proposed to provide compensatory stream and wetland mitigation for permitted impacts within the primary service area of the Stones River Watershed (HUC 05130203), as well as secondary service areas within the Lower Cumberland Old Hickory Lake (05130201) and Lower Cumberland River Sycamore Creek (05130202) within the State of Tennessee. 

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restored, established, enhanced or preserved wetlands or streams are expressed as “credits” which may subsequently be withdrawn to offset “debits” incurred at a permitted project site.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) would oversee the establishment and management of the bank. The IRT is chaired by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District (USACE). 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 stream reaches of Christmas Creek (STR-1) total approximately 4,469 linear feet (LF) of stream channel and make up a little less than half (i.e., 43%) of the project stream footage. The remaining project stream reaches consist of unnamed headwater tributaries that are received by Christmas Creek within the site, comprising a total of 6,013 LF. All streams have been straightened and channelized, therefore the restoration of streams with a more sinuous and natural planform produces a proposed amount of approximately 12,141 LF. The stream design within this project will use a natural channel design approach for all proposed restoration activities along Christmas Creek and the two unnamed tributaries. Riparian buffer mitigation activities will include restoring a mixed hardwood system allowing key ecological functions to improve while also reestablishing the adjacent wetland hydrology. All restored stream channels will have Bank Height Ratios (BHRs) equal to 1.0 and entrenchment ratios (ERs) equal to or greater than 5.0 ensuring floodplain connectivity and hydrologic recharge to adjacent wetland systems.

Table 1. Proposed CCMB Stream Mitigation Summary

The average ECS score is 0.33 and the average PCS score is 0.85 for project reaches. In total the project is projected to generate a total of 6,796.19 stream credits. All proposed stream mitigation will include Priority 1 Restoration as well as wetland reestablishment, rehabilitation, establishment/creation, and/or enhancement treatments within proposed stream buffers. Therefore, a 10% credit increase is requested for this project.  Approximately 1,902 LF of STR-1a (61.6%) will flow through an upland area and will not be eligible for this increase. The remaining 38.4% of this reach along with 100% of all other reaches will be eligible for this increase. With a 10% stream credit increase (due to wetland treatments within the adjacent buffer) and only accounting for 38.4% of STR-1a, the project has the potential to generate a total of 7,475.81 stream credits. Verification of wetland hydrology and hydrophytic vegetation within stream buffer treatment areas will be provided during monitoring.

The site contains five palustrine emergent wetlands (PEM1) totaling 2.53 acres and one palustrine persistent scrub-shrub wetland (PSS1) comprising 0.6 acre. The aquatic resources on the site are highly degraded and impaired from an extensive history of unrestricted livestock access, row cropping, mowing, and hydrologic modifications, including but not limited to ditching of streams and wetlands, fracturing of bedrock, installation of tile drains, and crowning of agricultural fields. The wetland mitigation area consists of heavily grazed agricultural pastures and row cropped fields in the floodplain of Christmas Creek and two unnamed tributaries. The Sponsor proposes to create, re-establish, rehabilitate, and enhance functional, riverine-slope wetlands through restoration of stream and wetland hydrodynamics to elevate wetland functions and services, such as improvements to water quality, flood storage, erosion control, and wildlife habitat. The restored tributaries will reconnect stream and wetland hydrology that has been lost for decades following channelization. Overbank flooding and raised streambeds along Christmas Creek and unnamed tributaries will restore hydrologic connections between the streams and the wetlands. Wetland Restoration practices will include plugging drainage ditches to promote both groundwater storage and flood retention, removal of berms located adjacent to several of the ditches to allow for sheet flow across the floodplain, restoration of channelized unnamed tributaries, and planting trees and shrubs to return the degraded wetland to a bottomland hardwood forested community. Wetland re-establishment will rebuild historically converted wetland areas that currently do not meet the definition of a wetland.

Table 2. Proposed CCMB Wetland Mitigation Summary

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps has reviewed the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places, lists of properties determined eligible and other sources of information. No historic resources were identified within two (2) miles of the proposed project site in Rutherford County, Tennessee. 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 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) website, http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac identified the following federally-listed species that are known to or believed to occur in Rutherford County, Tennessee:

Species Nomenclature

Federal Status

Mammals

Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)

Endangered

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalist)

Endangered

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Threatened

Freshwater Mussels  

Littlewing Pearlymussel (Pegias fabula)

Endangered

Flowering Plants  

Braun’s Rock-Cress (Arabis perstellata)

Endangered

Guthrie’s Ground-plum (Astragalus bibullatus)

Endangered

Leafy Prairie Clover(Dalea foliosa)

Endangered


A copy of this notice is being furnished to USFWS for their review. After receipt of any comments, the USACE will evaluate the potential effects to proposed and/or listed species and their designated critical habitat, and initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 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: Ms. Katherine C. Alston at the above address or by email: Katherine.C.Alston@usace.army.mil   

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                                                                                                                  Joshua W. Frost
                                                                                                                  Chief, Technical Services Branch
                                                                                                                  Regulatory Division