Public Notices

Regulatory Public Notice 23-52; LRN-2023-00933

USACE - Nashville District, Regulatory Division
Published Dec. 19, 2023
Expiration date: 1/18/2024

SUBJECT:  This notice announces a prospectus has been submitted for the development of the Briar Pond Bottom 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:  Clearwater Conservation Revival, LLC.
                                  Attention: Rhett Baggett
                                  160 Trinity Road 
                                  Franklin, Tennessee 37067

LOCATION: The Briar Pond Bottom Mitigation Bank (BPBMB) project site involves a +/-133-acre parcel off State Route 50 approximately 11 miles west of Centerville, Hickman County, Tennessee (Latitude 35.798539; Longitude -85.650083). The proposed bank boundary is located within the Coble, Tennessee USGS Topographic Quadrangle. The project lies within the Lower Duck River Watershed (HUC 06040003) and Level III ecoregion 71 – Interior Plateau.

PURPOSE:  The BPBMB is proposed to provide compensatory stream and/or wetland mitigation for permitted impacts within the primary service area of the Lower Duck River Watershed (HUC 06040003). The Bank’s proposed secondary service area includes the Upper Duck River Watershed (HUC 06040002), Buffalo River Watershed (HUC 06040004), Beech River Watershed (HUC 06040001), and Kentucky Lake Watershed (HUC 06040005), located 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restored, established, enhanced or preserved wetlands or streams are expressed as “credits” which may subsequently be withdrawn to offset “debits” incurred at a permitted project site.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 6,704 linear feet of unnamed tributaries to and including Briar Pond Branch. Of the 6,704 linear feet of stream channel, 4,674 linear feet is classified as perennial, and 2,030 linear feet is classified as intermittent. The existing wetland areas encompass a total of 118.60 acres of the bank site to include 93.2 acres of agricultural pasture and row crop wetland (effectively drained), 11.6 acres of ditched linear wetlands and open water, and 13.8 acres of forested wetland.

The proposed wetland and stream mitigation areas are degraded from historic habitat and resource alterations, including stream channelization, ditching, manmade berms (from spoiled materials), unrestricted cattle access, row cropping, and riparian buffers managed for hay and pasture or eliminated altogether. The primary stream mitigation actions or treatments will be Priority 1 stream and riparian buffer restoration to all site stream reaches. The proposed wetland mitigation actions or treatments will be wetland reestablishment, wetland rehabilitation, and wetland enhancement.

The Sponsor’s goals are to re-establish, rehabilitate, and enhance functional, riverine and 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 proposal plans to restore tributaries and reconnect stream and wetland hydrology that has been lost for decades following channelization. Overbank flooding and raised streambeds along Briar Pond Branch and unnamed tributaries are designed to restore hydrologic connections between the streams and the wetlands.

As proposed, the site would generate 4,867.80 stream mitigation credits as detailed in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Proposed Stream Mitigation Methodology Credits

As proposed, the site would generate as much as 102.45 wetland credits through the re-establishment of 93.2 acres of agricultural field wetlands, the rehabilitation of wetland ditches, and the enhancement of forested wetland as outlined in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Proposed Wetland Mitigation Credits

The plan can be viewed at: http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.aspx.  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 Hickman County, Tennessee identified the following list:

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. 

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Mark G. McIntosh
Acting Chief, Technical Services Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers