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COMMISSION ACTIONS DECEMBER 10, 2012


** APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  THE MEETING AGENDA WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY, 7-0. ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS ROBINS AND PALMERS WERE ABSENT FROM THE MEETING.
[Audio Agenda]

1.  MINUTES of previous meeting.  THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER MEETING WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.
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2.  PERMITS (Projects over $500,000 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval).  THESE FOUR SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS, DELINEATED BELOW IN DETAIL AS ITEMS 2A-2D, WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.
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3.  CONSENT AGENDA ITEMSNONE.
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4.  CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY COUNSEL.  A CLOSED SESSION WAS HELD TO DISCUSS WITH COUNSEL LEGAL JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES PERTAINING TO ITEM 5 (RAM ISLAND ROD AND GUNNING CLUB).  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO CERTIFIED THAT THE SESSION WAS CONFINED TO THOSE ISSUES.
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5.  RAM ISLAND ROD and GUNNING CLUB, INC., #12-1665, requests after-the-fact authorization for improvements to the house structure constructed on pilings in Back Bay in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach that now includes a 625 square foot second story with stairs, surrounding decking and piers, which measure 8-feet wide on the northern and eastern sides, 15-feet wide on the southern side, and 10-feet wide with two accompanying 10-foot wide by 24-foot long finger piers on the western side, as well as an 8-foot by 14-foot floating dock.  Electric power is provided by an overhead line, on poles, that extends from the structure approximate 370 feet to a service pole at the upland near the end of Ship's Cabin Road.  THE COMMISSION VOTED 4-3 TO RETAIN JURISDICTION AND THEN UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE APPLICANT'S AFTER-THE-FACT APPLICATION TO RETAIN PIERS, DECKING AND A SECOND-FLOOR ADDITION TO THE STRUCTURE.
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6.  ANDERSON'S NECK OYSTER COMPANY (dba ANDERSON'S NECK, LLC) #12-0990, requests authorization to moor two Osterplexes, four floating upwellers and to deploy approximately 1,670 OysterGroTM floats, attached to 139 longlines, above their leased oyster ground associated with a proposed commercial oyster grow-out facility in Morris and Poropotank Bays in King and Queen and Gloucester Counties.  The project is protested.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE APPLICANTS REQUEST FOR 1,670 CAGED OYSTER FLOATS, TWO OYSTERPLEXES AND FOUR FLOATING UPWELLERS IN MORRIS AND POROPOTANK BAYS.  IN KEEPING WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS, THE COMMISSION ISSUED A NUMBER OF STIPULATIONS, INCLUDING THE PAYMENT OF A ROYALTY FOR THE USE OF STATE-OWNED WATER BOTTOMS, A $25,000 BOND OR LETTER OF SURETY IN CASE THE PROJECT IS ABANDONED, THE INSTALLATION OF LIGHTED MARKERS AROUND SECTIONS OF THE PROJECT'S BORDER, AND THAT THE APPLICANT ABIDE BY ALL COUNTY, HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEER REQUIREMENTS. THE COMMISSION ALSO AGREED TO REEVALUATE THE PROJECT IN NINE YEARS.
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7.  MICHAEL CHALLONER, #12-1481, requests authorization to replace a failing 100 linear foot long timber bulkhead with a 100 foot long timber bulkhead in line with or immediately channelward of the existing bulkhead, install Class II stone armor on an existing concrete groin extending 56 feet channelward of the proposed bulkhead, install Class II stone toe protection on an existing concrete groin extending 40 feet channelward of the proposed bulkhead, replace a failed timber groin with a new timber groin extending 82 linear feet channelward of the proposed bulkhead, and place 138 cubic yards of sand along the shoreline as beach nourishment at his property situated along the James River at 15 Barclay Rd in the City of Newport News.  The project requires a Subaqueous Permit and a Coastal Primary Sand Dune and Beach Permit.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
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8.  FAYE R. HOLLOWAY, JR., #2012-009, requests authorization to lease up to 170 acres of oyster planting grounds in the Piankatank River, near Berkley Island, in Middlesex County.  The application is protested by an adjacent oyster ground leaseholder.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE LEASE APPLICATION.
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9.  FAYE R. HOLLOWAY, JR., #2012-017, requests authorization to lease up to 21 acres of oyster planting grounds in the Piankatank River, at the Twigg Ferry Road Bridge (Route 3), in Middlesex County.  The application is protested by two adjacent oyster ground leaseholders.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE LEASE APPLICATION.
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10.  RECOGNITION OF BILL LAINE AND KYLE SCHICK.  COMMISSIONER TRAVELSTEAD THANKED FORMER ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER BILL LAINE FOR HIS FOUR YEARS OF SERVICE ON THE COMMISSION, AND PRESENTED HIM WITH A DISTINGUISHED SERVICE COMMENDATION.  FORMER ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER KYLE SCHICK COULD NOT ATTEND THE MEETING, AND WILL BE SIMILARLY HONORED AT A FUTURE DATE.
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11. PUBLIC COMMENT.  NONE.
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12.  VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE:  Presentation of Dr. Bob Orth's annual review of the status of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation.  DR. ORTH OF THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE BRIEFED THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND TRIBUTARIES, AND NOTED THEY ARE AN INDICATION OF WATER QUALITY AND BAY HEALTH.  THE REPORTED SAV LEVELS DECLINED IN THE LOWER END OF THE BAY LAST YEAR, DUE TO THE SUMMER HEAT, STORMS AND WATER CLARITY LEVELS, BUT NOTED THAT SAV LEVELS IMPROVED IN THE LESS SALTY UPPER REACHES OF THE JAMES RIVER. 

EELGRASS LEVELS CONTINUED TO IMPROVE ON SOME OF THE SEASIDE BAYS OF THE EASTERN SHORE, AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF RESTORATION EFFORTS. DR. ORTH CHARACTERIZED THOSE GAINS AS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SAV RESTORATION EFFORTS IN THE WORLD, AND NOTED THOSE GRASSY BAYS ARE NOW HOME TO INCREASING BAY SCALLOP POPULATIONS.
THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED $22,600 IN FUNDING FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF DR. ORTH'S RESEARCH INTO PROPELLER SCARRING ON SOME OF THE WATER BOTTOMS.

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13.  PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-900-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs" to establish the 2013 annual quota, quota permit categories, limited entry, and transfer requirements.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED A STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO SET THE 2013 COMMERCIAL HORSESHOE CRAB QUOTA, REDUCE PARTICIPATION BY HAND HARVESTERS, DIVIDE THE QUOTA BY GEAR USAGE AND TO LIMIT FUTURE ENTRY TO THE FISHERY.
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14.  PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-610-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Commercial Fishing and Mandatory Harvest Reporting" to reclassify the current requirements for reporting and permitting of aquaculture product owners and harvesters.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REQUIRE CLAM AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS TO REPORT THEIR HARVESTS MONTHLY, INSTEAD OF DAILY. THIS WILL REDUCE A BURDEN ON THE INDUSTRY WHILE CONTINUING TO PROVIDE HARVEST AND PARTICIPATION INFORMATION NEEDED BY THE MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION.
[Audio Item 14]

15.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Striped Bass" to establish the 2013 recreational and commercial striped bass harvest quota, the commercial striped bass harvest season and quota transfer requirements.  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC20-751-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Setting and Mesh Size of Gill Nets" to establish the 2013 stretch mesh size exception time period.  THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO REDUCE THE 2013 RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL STRIPED BASS HARVEST BY 14 PERCENT, AS REQUIRED UNDER A FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN APPROVED BY THE ATLANTIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION.  THE REDUCTION IS NECESSARY DUE TO LAST YEAR'S HARVEST LEVEL AS WELL AS POOR TO MEDIOCRE SPAWNING RATES IN RECENT YEARS.  SEVERAL WATERMAN OBJECTED TO THE QUOTA REDUCTION.
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16.  PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass" to establish the 2013 recreational season and commercial landing quota.  THE COMMISSION SET THE 2013 COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL BLACK SEA BASS QUOTA. THERE WE NO PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN OBJECTIONS.
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17.  Richard Bradford:  Appeal of decision to deny his exception to the two year waiting period for a Commercial Fisherman Registration License.  THE COMMISSION TABLED THIS MATTER UNTIL ITS JANUARY MEETING BECAUSE THE APPELLANT WAS NOT IN ATTENDANCE.
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18.  POUND NETS:  Mr. Arthur P. Bender of Cheriton, Virginia has applied to license a pound net at a new location in the lower eastern Chesapeake Bay.  There are public comments in opposition to this new pound net location. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO DENY ONE BUT APPROVE A SECOND POUND NET APPLIED FOR BY MR. BENDER FOR PLACEMENT ALONG FISHERMAN'S ISLAND ON THE EASTERN SHORE, AND GRANTED MR. BENDER A YEAR TO FIND A SUITABLE LOCATION FOR HIS DENIED POUND NET.  SUSAN RICE, THE MANAGER OF THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AT FISHERMAN'S ISLAND, OBJECTED TO APPROVAL OF EITHER POUND NET, NOTING THE ISLAND IS DELICATE HABITAT THAT IS CRITICAL FOR THE AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, PIPING PLOVER AND RED KNOT.
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19.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING:  Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-260-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Designation of Seed Areas and Clean Cull Areas', to revise oyster culling and inspection procedures for Seaside of the Eastern Shore.  THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND VOTE AT ITS JANUARY MEETING ON A PROPOSAL TO ALLOW SOME EASTERN SHORE WATERMEN TO USE ONION SACKS TO TRANSPORT THEIR OYSTER HARVESTS UNDER SOME CONDITIONS.
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THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS (PROJECTS OVER $500,000 WITH NO OBJECTIONS AND WITH STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL) WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:

2A.  NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORPORATION, #12-1627, requests authorization to remove an existing railroad bridge over Clear Creek between Rose Avenue SE and 12th Street SE and construct in place a new 22-foot wide by 40-foot long clearspan trestle with riprap scour protection at milepost CV-464.01 in the City of Norton in Wise County.  Recommend approval with our standard instream permit conditions, coordination with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to ensure avoidance of trout stocking and angling activities and an encroachment royalty in the amount of $630.00 for the encroachment of the new bridge over 315 square feet of State-owned subaqueous land at a rate of $2.00 per square foot.

2B.  CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #12-1169, requests authorization to remove and replace the Shore Drive - Lesner Bridge (U.S. Route 60) over the Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach.  The new bridge will consist of four lanes and associated pedestrian pathways on both the eastbound and westbound structures and will be 117 feet wide by 1,528 feet long, of which 800 linear feet will be over State-owned bottom.  There will be a vertical clearance of approximately 45 feet above the mean high water elevation of the existing federal navigational channel. In addition to annual maintenance dredging of the City's municipal channel at Crab Creek, approximately 5,000 cubic yards of State-owned submerged bottom will be mechanically dredged along Crab Creek and within the Inlet to allow for the creation of a staging basin at the City's Beach and Boat Ramp facility. Initial mechanical dredging adjacent to Crab Creek will be limited to a maximum depth of minus eight (-8) feet mean low water and to a time-of-year-restriction of October 1 - February 28 to protect shellfish and summer flounder.  If necessary, additional maintenance dredging of Crab Creek outside of the time-of-year restriction may occur provided the City submits the requisite bathymetric surveys indicating shoaling.  All sandy material dredged from Crab Creek and the Inlet will be offloaded at the staging basin and truck-hauled to the nearby Ocean Park beach for beach nourishment efforts landward of mean low water.  The deconstructed bridge will be transported by barge to approved VMRC artificial reefs within the lower Chesapeake Bay. 

2C.  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, #12-1347, requests authorization to remove and replace the existing concrete boat ramp directly west of Pier 34 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach.  The new concrete ramp will consist of fixed slab and open-pile support sections with overall dimensions of 154 feet wide by 287 feet long, extending approximately 100 feet channelward of mean low water.  A 12-foot wide by 66-foot long fixed concrete pier will be constructed down the center of the ramp including two, 4-foot by 36-foot gangways attaching to a 12-foot wide by 71-foot long floating tending pier. All ramp demolition and construction activities will occur within temporary sheet-pile design cofferdams. 

2D.  LYON SHIPYARD, INC., #12-1453, requests authorization to maintenance dredge 35,000 cubic yards of material by mechanical methods, on an as-needed basis, to achieve maximum navigable depths of minus twenty feet (-20) mean low water adjacent to their existing bulkhead and minus thirty-one (-31) feet mean low water within a 100-foot by 400-foot basin adjacent to their existing drydock facility at 307 Campostella Road situated along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Dredged material will barged to the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA) and disposed of in the rehandling basin.

PAGE THREE CONSENT AGENDA ITEM:  

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