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COMMISSION ACTIONS SEPTEMBER 27, 2011

** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE COMMISSION APPROVED THE MEETING AGENDA 9-0 AFTER MOVING DR. ORTH'S SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION BREIFING (ITEM 11) UP TO JUST BEFORE ITEM 7 AND MOVING THE CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULATION WITH COUNSEL (ITEM 4) DOWN TO JUST BEFORE PUBLIC COMMENTS.
[Audio Agenda]  

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE COMMISSION APPROVED LAST MONTH'S MINUTES 8-0-1, WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ED TANKARD ABSTAINING.
[Audio Item 1]

2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THESE THREE SO-CALLED PAGE 2 ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS 2A, 2B AND 2C, WERE APPROVED 9-0.
[Audio Item 2]

3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSTHESE TWO CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS 3A AND 3B, WERE APPROVED 9-0.
[Audio Item 3]

4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  A CLOSED MEETING TO DISCUSS NEGOTIATIONS AND A POTENTIAL OR PROBABLE LAWSUIT WAS HELD.
[Audio Item 4a]
[Audio Item 4b]

5.  FISHING BAY YACHT CLUB, #11-0955, requests authorization to construct a 91-foot long by 6-foot wide T-head pier addition at the end of their existing commercial pier and to add a 1-foot wide catwalk adjacent to an existing boatlift on the pier situated along Fishing Bay in Middlesex County.  The project is protested by an adjacent and a nearby property owner.  THE COMMISSION APPROVED THE PROJECT 9-0, AND PERMITTED A CATWALK OF UP TO THREE-FEET WIDE TO BE CONSTRUCTED IF THE APPLICANT SUBMITS A MODIFIED PERMIT APPLICATION.
[Audio Item 5]

6.  BAY CREEK MARINA & RESORT LLC, #04-2844, requests relief from their permit SAV mitigation obligations for repeat plantings that resulted from the construction of seven (7) offshore breakwaters and beach nourishment situated along the Chesapeake Bay adjacent to the Marina Village subdivision in the Town of Cape Charles.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 9-0 TO GRANT RELIEF FROM THE APPLICANT'S SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION OBLIGATIONS.
[Audio Item 6]

7.  DISCUSSION:  Proposed permit process for applications requesting to remove submerged timber logs from State-owned bottomlands.  HABITAT ENGINEER JUSTIN WORRELL BRIEFED THE COMMISSION ON A NEW TYPE OF WATERBOTTOM USE REQUEST, TO RETRIEVE SO-CALLED SINKER LOGS.  THE PRACTICE INVOLVES THE RETRIEVAL OF LONG-SUBMERGED HARDWOOD TREES THAT HAD BEEN LOGGED DECADES OR EVEN CENTURIES AGO, BUT LOST IN TRANSPORT ON SOME RIVERS.  SUCH ACTIVITIES ARE PERMITTED IN OTHER STATES BUT APPARENTLY HAVE NOT BEEN PROPOSED IN VIRGINIA.  THE COMMISSION AGREED TO PURSUE A PILOT PROJECT AT A FUTURE COMMISSION MEETING THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN APPLICATION PROCESS AND FEE, AND AN APPROPRIATE ROYALTY FEE. 
[Audio Item 7]

8.  PUBLIC COMMENT.  At the request of Commissioner Bowman, the Commission unanimously authorized loaning the agency's original signed copy of the Potomac River Fisheries Compact, subject to recall by a future Commission or Commissioner.  The Potomac River Fisheries Commission does not have an original, and few exist.
[Audio Item 8]

9.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Consideration of final blue crab regulations, including closure of the crab dredge fishery for the 2011-2012 season, (4VAC20-1140-20 et seq. "Pertaining to Prohibition of Crab Dredging in Virginia waters).  Decision on licensing those individuals on the peeler pot and crab pot waiting list who have been inactive, at least since 2004 (4VAC20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing").  Re-assignment of latitude-longitude coordinates that apply to Virginia Blue Crab Sanctuaries (4VAC20-752-20 et seq., "Pertaining to Blue Crab Sanctuaries").  THE COMMISSION VOTED 9-0 TO CLOSE THE WINTER CRAB DREDGE FISHERY SEASON FOR THE FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW.  THE COMMISSION DECIDED IT WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO REBUILD THE CRAB STOCK, AND THAT WHILE GREAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE MORE WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE TO BRING THE POPULATION BACK TO HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE LEVELS.  ALSO, THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-3 (WITH ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS PLUMLEE, PALMER AND SESSOMS VOTING NO) TO RETAIN ON A WAITING LIST 320 COMMERCIAL CRAB LICENSES THAT HAD BEEN DEACTIVED IN 2008, AND SIGNALED IT WOULD CONSIDER REINSTATING THEM WHEN THE CRAB POPULATION RETURNS TO TARGET ABUNDANCE LEVELS AND REMAINS THERE THREE YEARS IN A ROW.
[Audio Item 9]

10. PUBLIC HEARING: Consideration of amendments to Regulation 4VAC20-720-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Restrictions on Oyster Harvest" to establish the 2011-2012 public oyster seasons.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 9-0 TO SET THE 2011-2012 OYSTER SEASON AND TO ADOPT A 10 BUSHEL DAILY LIMIT PER LICENSE HOLDER , WITH A MAXIMUM OF 30 BUSHELS PER VESSEL PER DAY FOR ALL HARVEST AREAS EXCEPT SEASIDE OF THE EASTERN SHORE AND THE JAMES RIVER HAND TONG AREA, WHERE THERE ARE NO DAILY LIMITS.
THE COMMISSION ALSO ADOPTED AN EMERGENCY REGULATION TO SET A 120,000 BUSHEL YEARLY QUOTA ON SEED OYSTERS IN THE JAMES RIVER, WITH ONLY 40,000 BUSHELS OF THE QUOTA AVAILABLE FOR HARVEST BETWEEN OCTOBER 1 AND DECEMBER 31. SEED OYSTER HARVESTERS IN THE JAMES RIVER MUST GET A PERMIT FROM THE AGENCY'S CONSERVATION AND REPLENISHMENT DEPARTMENT, MUST REPORT THEIR HARVEST MONTHLY ON FORMS PROVIDED, AND MUST CALL IN ON EACH DAY OF SEED HARVEST TO REPORT THEIR HARVEST.
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11. VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE: Presentation of Dr. Bob Orth's annual review of the status of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, including VIMS' request to authorize the renewal of the 727.85 acre set-aside area in South Bay for seagrass restoration that was last established by the Commission at their August 22, 2006, meeting.  DR. BOB ORTH BRIEFED THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF UNDERWATER GRASSES IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND SEASIDE LAGOONS, AND THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO RENEW THE SET-ASIDE AREA IN SOUTH BAY WHERE SEAGRASS REPLANTINGS HAVE SHOWN SOME REMARKABLE SUCCESSES.
[Audio Item 11]

12. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: To modify Summer Flounder trip limits and season starting date for the winter 2011 fishery.  THE REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC HEARING AT THE COMMISSION'S OCTOBER MEETING WAS APPROVED 9-0.
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13. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: To modify Scup trip limits for the Winter I, 2012 fishery.  THE REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC HEARING AT THE COMMISSION'S OCTOBER MEETING WAS APPROVED 9-0.
[Audio Item 13]

14. Recommendations of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Board and Commercial Fishing Advisory Board.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 9-0 TO SPEND $557,581 IN RECREATIONAL FISHING LICENSE MONEY TO FUND 11 PROJECTS RECOMMENDED BY THE RECREATIONAL FISHING ADVISORY BOARD.  THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED 9-0 TO SPEND $119,629 IN COMMERCIAL LICENSE MONEY TO FUND FOUR PROJECTS RECOMMENDED BY THE COMMERCIAL FISHING ADVISORY BOARD.
[Audio Item 14]

THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WERE APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION 9-0:

2A.  ELIZABETH RIVER CROSSINGS LLC and HAMPTON ROADS SANITATION DISTRICT, #11-1133, request authorization to install a 42-inch sanitary force main, using the Horizontal Directional Drilling Construction Method, under approximately 2,600 linear feet of State-owned subaqueous land of the Elizabeth River downstream of the Mid-Town Tunnel between the Cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk.

2B.  DOMINION VIRGINIA POWER, #10-1256, requests authorization to construct an overhead electrical transmission line across Lake Anna in Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties, a temporary bridge across the North Anna River in Caroline and Hanover Counties, and a temporary solid fill causeway with riprap scour protection and timber dolphins into the Mattaponi River in King William County to facilitate the transport of components for the construction and operation of the proposed Unit 3 at their North Anna Power Station in Louisa County.  Recommend approval contingent on the SAV restoration plan received April 5, 2011, complete removal of the aforementioned temporary structures upon project completion, and a February 15 to June 30 instream work time-of-year restriction to protect anadromous fishes.  Staff also recommends a one-time royalty of $150.00 for the aerial crossing of the drowned streambed of the North Anna River (50 feet) within Lake Anna at a rate of $3.00 per linear foot and a combined royalty of $7,300.00 for the temporary encroachment of the causeway (13,400 square feet at $5.00 per square foot), bridge (1,650 square feet at $2.00 per square foot), and dolphins (5 at $500.00 each) over State-owned submerged land, based on an annual rate of 10% of the one-time charge for the five-year period the temporary structures will be in place.

2C.  WESTERN REFINING, #11-1227, requests authorization to encase and/or replace numerous pilings, to repair and/or replace numerous fenders, cross-beams and longitudinal braces, and to replace three entire pile bents to facilitate reconstruction of an existing commercial pier in the York River at the Western Refining Yorktown Refinery located at 2201 Goodwin Neck Road in York County.

THE FOLLOWING PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM WAS APPROVED 9-0:   

3A.  FRANK HUNDLEY and PAT LEWIS, #11-1044, request after-the-fact authorization to retain an uncovered, four-pile boat lift which was constructed without the benefit of a permit at their joint-use pier on Wooldridge Cove adjacent to their properties at 7 Wooldridge Cove and 17 Wooldridge Cove, respectively, in Middlesex County.  The applicants and the contractor have each agreed to pay a civil charge in the amount of $600.00, for a total of $1,200.00, in lieu of further enforcement action.  Staff recommends approval with a triple permit fee totaling $75.00 and acceptance of the aforementioned civil charges.

3B.  VINCENT RADLEY, #11-0786, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain an 18-foot long by 33-foot wide covered marginal wharf impacting 594 square feet of subaqueous bottom, adjacent to his property at 6476 Fairview Drive situated along the Passapatanzy Creek in King George County.  The applicant agrees to pay a civil charge in the amount of $600.00 in lieu of further enforcement action.  Staff recommends approval with a triple permit fee totaling $75.00 and acceptance of the aforementioned civil charge.


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