** APPROVAL OF AGENDA. [ audio ]
1. MINUTES of previous meeting. APPROVED. [ 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 2A THROUGH 2C WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED. [ audio ]
3. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS. NONE. [ audio ]
4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE [ audio ]
5. SEAGATE TERMINALS, L.L.C., #14-1667, requests authorization to dredge approximately 137,500 cubic yards of State-owned submerged land to achieve maximum depths of -42 feet mean low water, to install 100 linear feet of steel sheet-pile bulkhead, 160 linear feet of riprap revetment, a 550-foot long by 80-foot wide wharf and a 615-foot long by 50-foot wide access dock with four (4) mooring dolphins and associated catwalks, and to construct approximately 600 linear feet of living shoreline in association with a proposed bulk materials handling facility adjacent to Jefferson Street situated north of the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake. The project requires a wetlands and a subaqueous permit. Continued from the February 24, 2015, Commission meeting. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT WITH SEVERAL SPECIAL CONDITIONS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF AND FURTHER CONDITIONED UPON THE PURCHASE OF 1,014 SQUARE FEET OF WETLANDS CREDITS FROM THE LIBERTYVILLE MITIGATION BANK TO COMPENSATE FOR AUTHORIZED TIDAL WETLANDS IMPACTS AND WITH A ROYALTY OF $61,875.00 FOR THE DREDGING OF 137,500 CUBIC YARDS OF STATE-OWNED SUBAQUEOUS MATERIAL AT A RATE OF $0.45 PER CUBIC YARD. [ audio ]
6. TOMMY GARNER, #12-1423, requests authorization to install a 5-foot wide open pile private pier extending 220 feet channel ward of mean low water with a 6-foot wide L-head and two (2) associated mooring piles along Deep Creek extending from an existing water access easement at 632 Snug Harbor Lane in the City of Newport News. The project is protested by the property owner and an adjacent property owner. THE COMMISSION VOTED 5-2, WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS NEILL AND HAYNIE OPPOSED, TO CONTINUE THE MATTER UNTIL AN APPEAL TO THE VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT CONCERNING THE PIER EASEMENT HAS BEEN SETTLED. [ audio ]
7. STEPHEN AUSTIN, #14-0867, requests authorization to construct a 15-foot by 18-foot gazebo roof structure and to construct a 16-foot by 36-foot open-sided boathouse roof structure to shelter a single boat at his property situated along the Pagan River, in the Town of Smithfield, in Isle of Wight County. The roof structures are protested by both adjacent property owners. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED. [ audio ]
8. ROBERT and JANE ELLIOTT, #14-1414, request authorization to install 45 linear feet of Class II armor stone riprap against an existing revetment, which will extend four feet channel ward of mean low water, place approximately 30 cubic yards of beach nourishment, and install a 20-foot long by 14-foot wide, breakwater, adjacent to property situated along Judith Sound in Northumberland County. The project is protested by both adjacent property owners. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED. [ audio ]
9. RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER COMPANY, #15-0031, requests authorization to cover two (2) existing open-pile deck structures with an open-sided roof, construct open-pile decking over a 30-foot wide by 80-foot long existing boat slip area, and install six (6) mooring piles to secure a 60-foot long by 30-foot wide floating, paddlewheel upweller barge at their oyster aquaculture facility on Locklies Creek at 784 Locklies Creek Road in Middlesex County. The project is protested by several nearby property owners. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF, CONDITIONED UPON THE REMOVAL OF ALL DERELICT PILINGS AND OTHER FAILED STRUCTURES LOCATED EAST OF THE EXISTING EASTERN DOCK PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF ANY NEWLY AUTHORIZED CONSTRUCTION. A TOTAL ROYALTY OF $4,590 WAS ASSESSED FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE NEW DECKING AND ROOF STRUCTURES AT A RATE OF $1.50 PER SQUARE FOOT AND A FOR THE FLOATING UPWELLER AT A RATE OF $0.05 PER SQUARE FOOT. [ audio ]
10. VIRGINIA ELECTRIC AND POWER COMPANY, #14-0968, requests authorization to install a 34.5 kV submarine export cable under State-owned submerged bottomlands within the Atlantic Ocean from the Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation shoreline in Virginia Beach to the three nautical mile boundary of the Commonwealth’s territorial sea. The export cable will be a portion of the line that will transmit electrical power from two (2) 6-MW wind turbine generators to be constructed in federal waters approximately 24 nautical miles offshore to support the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP). THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED WITH A ROYALTY IN THE AMOUNT OF $54,684.00 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE TRANSMISSION LINE ON 18,228 LINEAR FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBMERGED BOTTOMLANDS AT A RATE OF $3.00 PER LINEAR FOOT. [ audio ]
11. CHARLIE R. GREGORY, #2014-004, requests authorization to lease approximately one acre of oyster planting grounds in Broad Bay in the City of Virginia Beach. The application is protested by a nearby adjacent highland property owner. THE COMMISSION VOIDED A LEASE ERRONEOUSLY ASSIGNED TO MR. GREGORY, BUT ALLOWED HIM TO MOVE HIS OYSTER CAGES TO NEARBY VACANT GROUND THAT HE HAS APPLIED TO LEASE AND REFUNDED THE CHARGES INCURRED ON HIS ORIGINAL LEASE. [ audio ]
12. PUBLIC COMMENT: NONE [ audio ]
13. OFFENDERS. THE COMMISSION HEARD SIX CASES ON OFFENDERS WITH REPEATED OFFENSES AND NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATIONS. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE THE LICENSE OF ONE INDIVIDUAL FOR ONE YEAR FOR TAKING OYSTERS FROM CONDEMNED GROUNDS AND REMOVING OYSTERS FROM A CONDEMNED AREA DURING A CLOSED SEASON. THE COMMISSION PLACED ONE INDIVIDUAL ON SIX MONTH PROBATION AND PLACED FOUR INDIVIDUALS ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. [ audio ]
14. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-20-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Licensing of Fixed Fishing Devices" to amend the gear management measures for pound nets to comply with the bottlenose dolphin take reduction plan and the endangered species act for sea turtle take conservation areas. THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE (NMFS) ISSUED A FINAL RULE AMENDING THE BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN TAKE REDUCTION PLAN AND ITS IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS UNDER THE MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT (MMPA) ON FEBRUARY 9, 2015. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADOPT AMENDMENTS TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE FINAL RULE FROM THE NMFS FOR VIRGINIA POUND NET GEAR UNDER THE MMPA AND ESA. [ audio ]
15. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-650-10 et seq. “Establishment of Oyster Sanctuary Areas” to designate all unassigned or vacant submerged bottom, designated as restricted shellfish areas or prohibited shellfish areas by the Virginia Department of Health, as oyster sanctuaries. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT AMENDMENTS TO PROHIBIT LEASING OF ALL UNASSIGNED OR VACANT SUBMERGED BOTTOM THAT HAS BEEN CONDEMNED AND CLASSIFIED AS “RESTRICTED” OR “PROHIBITED” BY THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DIVISION OF SHELLFISH SANITATION. [ audio ]
16. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed final adoption of emergency amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-720-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest” to temporarily suspend the sale of any oyster hand scrape and oyster dredge gear licenses. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PERMANENTLY ADOPT REGULATIONS APPROVED AT THE FEBRUARY 2015 COMMISSION MEETING, SUSPENDING THE SALE OF OYSTER HAND SCRAPE AND OYSTER DREDGE LICENSES TO INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE NOT PREVIOUSLY HELD THESE LICENSES. [ audio ]
AGENDA ITEMS 17, 18, & 19 BELOW ARE SUMMARIZED TOGETHER BELOW THE LISTING OF ALL OF THE STRIPED BASS PROPOSALS.
17. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq. "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass", to establish the annual Chesapeake Bay and Coastal recreational management measures, modify the commercial striped bass tag possession requirements by area, reestablish the lawful methods for harvesting striped bass commercially, and modify the administrative dates for permanent and temporary commercial transfers of individual striped bass weight quota. [ audio ]
18. REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY REGULATION: Proposed emergency Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., Pertaining to the Taking Of Striped Bass”, to establish the coastal area and Chesapeake area trophy-size striped bass minimum possession size limit of 36 inches total length. [ audio ]
19. REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY REGULATION: Proposed emergency Chapter 4 VAC20-252-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass” to delay the start of the 2015 Chesapeake Bay 28-inch commercial striped bass maximum size limit that begins March 26 until April 2 and corresponding proposed emergency Chapter 4 VAC 20-751- 10 et seq. “Pertaining to Setting and Mesh Size of Gill Nets” to modify the gill net mesh. [ audio ]
IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE A 25 PERCENT HARVEST REDUCTION IN THE COASTAL STRIPED BASS FISHERY AND A 20.5 PERCENT REDUCTION ON THE BAY STRIPED BASS FISHERY AS REQUIRED BY THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES THE COMMISSION TOOK THE FOLLOWING MANAGEMENT MEASURES TO INCLUDE BOTH THE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS FISHERY:
• REQUIRE COSTAL WATERS RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS HARVESTED BE A MINIMUM OF 28 INCHES IN TOTAL LENGTH WITH A ONE-FISH PER DAY LIMIT.
• bay season minimum size limit was increased from 18 inches to 20 inches. The Trophy Season (May 1 – May 15 coastal and May 1- June 15 bay and tribs) minimum was increased from 32 to 36 inches by emergency action with a public hearing on 28 April to finalize.
• MODIFY THE COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS TAG POSSESSION REQUIREMENTS IN THE GREAT WICOMICO/TANGIER STRIPED BASS MANAGEMENT AREA. – ONE TAG PER TRIP WHILE IN MARYLAND; THE POTOMAC RIVER FISHERY COMMISSION OR VIRGINIA.
• REESTABLISH THE LAWFUL METHODS FOR HARVESTING STRIPED BASS COMMERCIALLY BY INCLUDING ORIGINAL GEAR TYPES.
• AND, MODIFY THE COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS TRANSFER DATES AND EXPANDED THE ADMINISTRATIVE DATES FROM FEBRUARY 1, 2015 TO DECEMBER 2015 FOR TEMPORARY TRANSFERS AND OCTOBER 31, 2015 FOR PERMANENT TRANSFER S OF COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS QUOTA.
IN ADDITION, BECAUSE OF ICING THIS WINTER AND AT THE REQUEST OF INDUSTRY THE COMMISSION APPROVED BY EMERGENCY ACTION, TO DELAY THE START OF THE 28 INCH MAXIMUM SIZE LIMIT ON COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS WITHIN THE CHESAPEAKE AREA FROM MARCH 26, 2015 UNTIL APRIL2, 2015 AND TO MODIFY A CORRESPONDING GILL NET MESH SIZE REGULATION.
20. REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY REGULATION: Proposed emergency amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1090-10 et seq. “Pertaining to License Requirements and License Fees” to lower recreational fishing license fees.
THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ROLL BACK THE PRICES OF RECREATIONAL SALTWATER FISHING LICENSES TO 2014 LEVELS, EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2015. $550,000 WAS APPROPRIATED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ROLL BACK RECREATIONAL LICENSE FEES. THIS APPROPRIATION ALLOWS VMRC TO REPLACE MONIES TAKEN FROM THE LAW ENFORCEMENT FUND DUE TO STATE BUDGET REDUCTIONS. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ADVISED THAT STATE LAW PROHIBITS REFUNDS TO ANGLERS PURCHASING LICENSES BETWEEN JANUARY 1, 2015 TO MARCH 31, 2015. A PUBLIC HEARING WAS APPROVED FOR APRIL 28, 2015. [ audio ]
21. REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY REGULATION: Proposed emergency Chapter 4 VAC 20-1280-10 et seq. “Pertaining to License Revocations” to establish penalties for individuals who violate a Commission issued revocation of fishing licenses. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING THE ADOPTION OF AN EMERGENCY REGULATION AT THE REQUEST OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION AND THE COMMISSIONER WHICH ESTABLISHES PENALTIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO VIOLATE A COMMISSION ISSUED REVOCATION OF FISHING LICENSES. THIS NEW REGULATION STATES THAT ANY PERSON VIOLATING ANY COMMISSION ORDER OF REVOCATION OF ANY FISHING LICENSE, OR ANY COMMISSION ORDER OF REVOCATION OF FISHING PRIVILEGES, WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH’S TIDAL WATERS SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS 3 MISDEMEANOR. A SECOND AND EACH SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION OF ANY PROVISION OF THE CHAPTER COMMITTED BY THE SAME PERSON WITHIN 12 MONTHS OF A PRIOR VIOLATION IS A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR., OF ANY PROVISION OF THE CHAPTER COMMITTED BY THE SAME PERSON WITHIN 12 MONTHS OF A PRIOR VIOLATION IS A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR. A PUBLIC HEARING WAS APPROVED FOR APRIL 28, 2015. [ audio ]
22. REQUEST FOR AN EMERGENCY REGULATION: 4 VAC-20-620-10, “Pertaining to Summer Flounder”, to close the summer flounder commercial offshore fishery on April 19th, to prevent a quota overage. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CLOSE THE SUMMER FLOUNDER COMMERCIAL OFFSHORE FISHERY ON APRIL 19, 2015, TO PREVENT A QUOTA OVERAGE. [ audio ]
23. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20- 950-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Black Sea Bass” to modify the dates for the recreational fishing season for black sea bass. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE STAFF REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC HEARING TO MODIFY THE DATES FOR THE RECREATIONAL FISHING SEASON FOR BLACK SEA BASS, FROM MAY 19 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 21 AND OCTOBER 18 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, TO MAY 15 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 21 AND OCTOBER 22 THROUGH DECEMBER 31. THE POSSESSION LIMIT WILL BE 15 FISH AND THE MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT WILL BE 12.5 INCHES, TOTAL LENGTH
Menhaden- Request for Public Hearing: THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR AN APRIL 28, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1270-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO ATLANTIC MENHADEN.” [ audio ]
THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:
2A. NORFOLK DEPARTMENT OF UTILITIES, #14-1388, requests authorization to install a 36-inch steel raw water main a minimum of 45 feet beneath the substrate utilizing horizontal directional drilling technology and extending across 450 linear feet of the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River between 12 Sandie Point Lane in Portsmouth and the intersection of Bruce Station and Bruce Road in Chesapeake.
2B. CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH, #15-0068, requests authorization to maintenance dredge on an as-necessary basis approximately 150,000 cubic yards (per cycle) of State-owned submerged bottom within the City’s Rudee Inlet Outer Channel Deposition Basin, situated along the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach. The Basin will be hydraulically dredged to maximum depths of minus 22 feet mean lower low water, and the dredged material (beach quality sand) will be used as beach nourishment and placed on the City’s adjacent resort beach between Rudee Inlet and 14th Street.
2C. VIRGINIA ELECTRIC AND POWER COMPANY, #15-0213, requests authorization to replace the fender system protecting two (2) existing Virginia Electric and Power Company Towers that support power lines extending between Isle of Wight County and the City of Newport News in the James River upstream of the Route 17 James River Bridge. Staff recommends approval of the project with a royalty of $4,914.00 for the encroachment over 2,457 square feet of State-owned subaqueous bottom at a rate of $2.00 per square foot. Staff also recommends a special permit condition for a time-of- year restriction of February 15 through July 15 to protect nesting Peregrine Falcons.