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COMMISSION ACTIONS MAY 26, 2015

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY. [ 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 AND 2B WERE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED. [ audio ]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS. NONE.  [ audio ]

4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE.

5. TRICORD, INC., ., #15-0498, requests authorization to construct a concrete boat ramp, two (2) timber jetties, riprap scour protection, two (2) tending piers and a community fishing pier for waterfront access from property (Parcel 11, Tax Map 38-2-11) off Nottingham Drive adjacent to the Rappahannock River in Spotsylvania County. The project requires a wetlands and subaqueous permit. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT, FINDING ITS DESIGN TO BE CONSISTENT WITH ITS WETLANDS AND SUBAQUEOUS GUIDELINES. THEIR APPROVAL WAS CONTINGENT ON AN INSTREAM WORK TIME-OF-YEAR RESTRICTION OF FEBRUARY 15 TO JUNE 30 TO PROTECT ANADROMOUS FISHES, A PROHIBITION OF THE OVERNIGHT MOORING OF VESSELS, AND A ONE-TIME ROYALTY ASSESSMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,005.60 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE PROPOSED RAMP AND JETTIES OVER 624 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBAQUEOUS LAND, AT A RATE OF $1.00 PER SQUARE FOOT, AND THE PROPOSED PIERS OVER 1,272 SQUARE FEET AT $0.30 PER SQUARE FOOT. [ audio ]

6. DOMINION RESOURCES, INC., #10-1787, requests authorization to modify their existing wetlands permit to increase permanent wetland impacts from 0.007 acres to 0.012 acres, including revisions to the temporary fill plan for construction access associated with the permitted bridge crossing of Proctors Creek, adjacent to the Chesterfield Power Station at 603 Reymet Road in Chesterfield County. THE COMMISSION APPROVED THIS REQUEST UNANIMOUSLY AND REQUIRED THE PURCHASE 436 SQUARE FEET OF WETLANDS CREDITS AT AN APPROVED TIDAL WETLAND MITIGATION BANK. [ audio ]

7. DENNIS PARKER, OYSTER PLANTING GROUND APPLICATION # 2013-079, request to lease approximately 100 acres at the mouth of Skiffs Creek at its confluence with the James River, in both the City of Newport News and James City County. The requested area is within an area currently closed for the direct harvest of shellfish, overlaps an existing Army Corps of  Engineers navigation channel and turning basin, is partially adjacent to Fort Eustis Military base, and is partially within a restricted area of the James River. THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-0 TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO DENY THE PORTIONS OF THE APPLICATION WITHIN HEALTH DEPARTMENT RESTRICTED CLASSIFICATION WATERS AND TO CONTINUE PROCESSING THE REMAINING AREA WITHIN OPEN WATERS CLASSIFICATION EXCEPT FOR THE AREA OF THE FEDERAL PROJECT CHANNEL AND AN AREA 300 FEET OFFSHORE OF MEAN LOW WATER ALONG FORT EUSTIS MILITARY RESERVATION THESE TWO AREAS CONTAIN APPROXIMATELY 10 ACRES AND 6 ACRES RESPECTIVELY. [ audio ]

8. WILMORE D. HOGGE, ET AL, OYSTER PLANTING GROUND APPLICATION # 2014-204, request to lease approximately 70 acres within the Warwick River in the City of Newport News. The application is within an area currently closed for the direct harvest of shellfish. THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-0 TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION NOT TO LEASE THE ENTIRE APPLICATION AREA AND TO REFUND THE COST OF THE PUBLIC NEWSPAPER NOTICE UPON VERIFICATION FROM THE APPLICANT OF THE AMOUNT PAID FOR THE NOTICE. [ audio ]

9. JENNINGS BURTON, JR., ET AL, OYSTER PLANTING GROUND APPLICATION # 2014-206, request to lease approximately 41 acres within the Warwick River in the City of Newport News. The application is within an area currently closed for the direct harvest of shellfish. THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-0 TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION NOT TO LEASE THE ENTIRE APPLICATION AREA AND TO REFUND THE COST OF THE PUBLIC NEWSPAPER NOTICE UPON VERIFICATION FROM THE APPLICANT OF THE AMOUNT PAID FOR THE NOTICE. [ audio ]

10. LINWOOD DEBREW, OYSTER PLANTING GROUND APPLICATION # 2014-308, request to lease approximately 75 acres within the James River in the City of Newport News. The application is within an area currently closed for the direct harvest of shellfish. THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-0 TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION NOT TO LEASE THE ENTIRE APPLICATION AREA AND TO REFUND THE COST OF THE PUBLIC NEWSPAPER NOTICE UPON VERIFICATION FROM THE APPLICANT OF THE AMOUNT PAID FOR THE NOTICE. DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE PROPOSED USE OF THE AREA AS A SANCTUARY AREA FOR EDUCATION/RESTORATION PURPOSES BY THE APPLICANT HE ADVISED TO WORK WITH STAFF TO SUBMIT A JOINT PERMIT APPLICATION TO THE HABITAT MANAGEMENT DIVISION. [ audio ]

11. PUBLIC COMMENT: NONE (NOTE, PUBLIC COMMENT PERIODS WERE HELD BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THE LUNCH BREAK). [ audio ]

12. OFFENDERS: THE COMMISSION HEARD SIX CASES ON OFFENDERS WITH REPEATED OFFENSES AND NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATIONS. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO PLACE ALL SIX INDIVIDUALS ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. [ audio ]

13. FAILURE TO REPORT: Cases involving failure to report commercial harvests, in accordance with Chapter 4 VAC 20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting." THE COMMISSION HEARD THREE CASES PERTAINING TO FAILURE TO REPORT COMMERCIAL HARVEST TO THE MANDATORY HARVEST REPORTING PROGRAM. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE THE LICENSES OF TWO INDIVIDUALS FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS. HOWEVER, THE COMMISSION SUSPENDED THE REVOCATIONS OF THE TWO INDIVIDUALS, AND ANY NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATION OR FAILURE TO REPORT VIOLATION WILL RESULT IN A SUSPENSION OF LICENSES FOR THE REMAINDER OF THAT TWO YEAR PERIOD. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVOKE THE LICENSES OF THE THIRD INDIVIDUAL FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR, FOLLOWED BY ONE YEAR OF PROBATION IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING HIS REVOCATION. [ audio ]

14. PUBLIC HEARING: On proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq. Pertaining to Sharks,” to advertise the establishment of an increase in the spiny dogfish commercial harvest quota for the upcoming fishing season, May 1 through April 30. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-490-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO SHARKS,” TO ESTABLISH AN INCREASE IN THE SPINY DOGFISH COMMERCIAL HARVEST QUOTA FOR THE UPCOMING FISHING SEASON, MAY 1 THROUGH APRIL 30, TO BE 5,463,565 POUNDS. THIS WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE ASMFC FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR SPINY DOGFISH. [ audio ]

15. PUBLIC HEARING Blue Crab Fishery Issues: To review or authorize: 1) the dates associated with crab fishery season limits; 2) the daily commercial crab harvester, vessel and possession limits; 3) restrictions on the lawful crab harvesting dates on a gear-specific basis; 4) limitations on allowing any person licensed as a seafood buyer and crab fishery licensee to possess both licenses on board any boat or vessel on the same day (Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Crabbing”); 5) the date when harvesters may possess dark-colored sponge crabs (Chapter 4 VAC 20-370-10 et seq. “Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs”); 6) changes to the closed time periods of areas in the Blue Crab Sanctuary, to include allowing crab harvest in Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuary Area 4, but only in the portion of that area that extends from Cape Henry Light southward to Rudee Inlet, thence seaward at least ½ mile (Chapter 4 VAC 20-752-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Blue Crab Sanctuary”); and, 7) the closure of the 2015 – 2016 winter crab dredge fishery season, in accordance with the provisions of Section 28.2-707 of the Code of Virginia (Chapter 4 VAC 20-1140-10 et seq.). STAFF PRESENTED INFORMATION ON EFFORT AND HARVESTER ACTIVITY WITHIN THE COMMERCIAL BLUE CRAB INDUSTRY, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CONTINUE CONSERVATION AND EFFICIENCY WITHIN THE BLUE CRAB RESOURCE. PUBLIC COMMENT WAS HEARD FROM ELEVEN INDIVIDUALS.  STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS AND THE COMMISSION VOTE FOR EACH ITEM ARE LISTED BELOW: 

1. Continue the seasonal management approach, starting the next crab management season on July 5, 2015 and ending July 4, 2016, and opening the commercial crab pot season March 17 and closing the commercial crab pot season November 30 as provided in draft Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Crabbing”. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

2. Continue the current bushel limit management measures and dates for upcoming season, as provided in draft Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Crabbing”. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

3. Adjust the closure dates for the non-crab pot gear season, closing on September 26 instead of September 16 and reopening the non-crab pot gear season on April 21 instead of May 1, as provided in Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Crabbing”. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

4. Amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing", to make it unlawful for any vessel to act as both a crab harvester and a crab buyer on the same trip. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

5. Amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-370-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs” to make it unlawful for any person to possess dark sponge crabs from March 17 through June 15. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

6. Amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-752-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Blue Crab Sanctuary” to redefine Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuary Area 1 as Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuary Area 1A and Blue Crab Sanctuary Area 1B and implement separate closure dates for Blue Crab Sanctuary Areas 1A, 1B and Areas 2 through 4. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION.

7. Amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-1140 et seq., “Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia Waters” to close the winter crab dredge fishery season from December 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVISIT THIS ITEM WITH THE CRAB MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CMAC), WHO SHALL CONTINUE WORKING WITH STAFF AND VIMS TO FIND THE BEST MEASURES TO REOPEN THIS FISHERY. THE CMAC HAS UNTIL THE OCTOBER 2015 COMMISSION MEETING TO COMPLETE THEIR MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK AND BRING THE ISSUE BACK TO THE COMMISSION FOR A FORMAL VOTE.  [ audio A audio B audio C ]

16. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1290-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Relaying of Condemned Shellfish”, to establish a daily permit and associated fee for the harvest and relay of condemned shellfish, and proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1090-10 et seq., “Pertaining to License Requirements and License Fees”, to add the daily permit fee for the harvest and relay of condemned shellfish to the list of license requirements. THE RELAYING OF CONDEMNED SHELLFISH TIES UP A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF TIME BY MARINE POLICE TO MONITOR THE PROGRAM. PUBLIC COMMENT WAS HEARD FROM THREE INDIVIDUALS IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS. THE COMMISSION VOTED (5-1) TO APPROVE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1290-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO RELAYING OF CONDEMNED SHELLFISH” AND CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-1090-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO LICENSING REQUIREMENTS AND LICENSE FEES,” TO ESTABLISH A DAILY PERMIT AND ASSOCIATED $150 FEE FOR THE HARVEST AND RELAY OF CONDEMNED SHELLFISH. [ audio ]

17. PUBLIC HEARING: Chapter 4 VAC 20-910-10 et seq. “Pertaining to Scup (Porgy),” Request to establish the 2015 commercial scup summer period harvest quota as 13,646 pounds. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-910-10 ET SEQ., “PERTAINING TO SCUP (PORGY),” TO ESTABLISH THE 2015 COMMERCIAL SCUP SUMMER PERIOD HARVEST QUOTA AS 13,646 POUNDS. THIS WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE ASMFC FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR SCUP. [ audio ]

18. RECOMMENDATIONS: From the Recreational Fishing Advisory Board, on funding projects from the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, with certain projects also partly funded by the Marine Fishing Improvement Fund. STAFF PRESENTED RECOMMENDATIONS ON FUNDING PROJECTS FROM THE VIRGINIA SALTWATER RECREATIONAL FISHING DEVELOPMENT FUND (VSRFDR), TOTALING $549,209, AND PARTIAL FUNDING OF PROJECTS FROM THE MARINE FISHING IMPROVEMENT FUND (MFIF), TOTALING $74,997. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS TO APPROVE FUNDING FOR THE PROJECTS. [ audio ]

19.-21. REQUESTS FOR JUNE PUBLIC HEARINGS.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS FOR A JUNE 23, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING: 

1) Amendments to Chapter 4VAC 20-70-10 et seq., “Pertaining to the Harvesting of Clams,” to establish a gear license for hand-held “water vacuum” or “water rake” for the harvesting of cultured hard clams on leased ground.

2) Amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-560-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Shellfish Management Areas,” to amend the lawful season of the harvest of clams by patent tong from the Newport News Shellfish Management Area. 

3) Amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-1270-10 et seq., “Pertaining to Atlantic Menhaden,” to increase Virginia’s portion of the coast wide total allowable catch of menhaden, in accordance with recent ASMFC actions.
 [ audio 19-21 ]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A. CORMAN CONSTRUCTION, LLC, #14-0011, requests a permit modification to construct two (2) 25-foot long by 24-foot wide temporary clearspan bridges over Little Tuckahoe Creek to facilitate equipment access and replacement of the I-64 eastbound and westbound bridges in Goochland County.

2B. COLONNA'S SHIPYARD, #14-1717, requests authorization to maintenance dredge 60,000 cubic yards of State-owned submerged land per cycle, on an as-needed basis, adjacent to their facility at 400 East Indian River Road situated along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Dredged material will be barged to the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA) and disposed of in the Rehandling Basin.


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NONE.


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