** APPROVAL OF AGENDA. THE AGENDA WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
[Note: due to technical difficulties audio recording of Items 1 through 9 are not available; links to audio recording for Items 10 to 20 are posted below.]
1. MINUTES of previous meeting. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED WITH A CORRECTION OFFERED BY COMMISSIONER NEILL TO CHANGE THE APPROVAL FOR THE FEE INCREASES BY THE PENINSULA SALT WATER FISHING CLUB AND NOT THE COSTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION.
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 and 2C WERE APPROVED.
3. CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS. NONE
4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE.
5. ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, #14-1236, requests authorization to construct a 15-foot wide pedestrian/bicycle bridge over approximately 210 linear feet of Jones Creek, a tributary to the Pagan River in Isle of Wight County. The bridge structure is associated with a proposed 10-foot wide shared use trail from the Town of Smithfield to the Carrollton Nike Park. The application is protested by adjacent property owners. THE COMMISSION VOTED 6-2 AFTER LENGTHY DISCUSSION TO TABLE THE APPLICATION TO THE JANUARY 27, 2015 MEETING AND THE COMMISSION DIRECTED THE STAFF TO ISSUE ANOTHER PUBLIC NOTICE OF THE APPLICATION.
6. DENNIE BARTOL, #14-1370, requests authorization to install a 17-foot by 39-foot open-sided boat house and 12-foot by 17-foot gazebo on a statutorily authorized open-pile private pier along the James River at 9 Hopemont Drive in the City of Newport News. The project is protested by an adjacent property owner. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS PROPOSED.
7. VULCAN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS L.P., #14-1413, requests authorization to construct a commercial pier and set eight dolphins to provide for the loading of sand and gravel barges at the proposed Black Marsh Sand and Gravel Facility at property situated along the Rappahannock River in Caroline County. The project requires a wetlands and a subaqueous permit and is protested. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF WITH A TIME OF YEAR RESTRICTION TO PROTECT ANADROMOUS FISH, PROHIBITING IN-STREAM CONSTRUCTION BETWEEN FEBRUARY 15 AND JUNE 30 AND A ONE-TIME ROYALTY ASSESSMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $4,421.40 FOR THE ENCROACHMENT OF THE PROPOSED PIER AND DOLPHINS OVER 2,210.70 SQUARE FEET OF STATE-OWNED SUBAQUEOUS LAND AT A RATE OF $2.00 PER SQUARE FOOT, AND WITH AN ADDITIONAL CONDITION RECOMMENDED BY THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE TO REQUIRE BUBBLE CURTAINS DURING THE INSTALLATION OF ANY STEEL PILINGS.
8. CHARLES F. DOWNEY, #14-1485, requests after-the-fact authorization to retain a foot-wide by 240-foot long cable-supported suspension bridge across 120 linear feet of the Cowpasture River located near Clifton Forge in Alleghany County. The project is protested by an adjacent property owner. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF REQUIRING THE APPLICANT TO PAY A TRIPLE PERMIT FEE OF $75.00 AND A $1,000.00 CIVIL CHARGE AND WITH AN AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE EROSION CONTROLS DURING CONSTRUCTION.
9. PUBLIC COMMENTS. MR. ELLIS JAMES OF NORFOLK REQUESTED THE COMMISSION PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO ISSUES OF WATER QUALITY, FRACKING, AND WATER ABUNDANCE.
10. 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. ALL CASES WERE NOTIFIED BY STAFF SEVERAL TIMES BY PHONE, MAIL AND CERTIFIED LETTERS THAT THEIR REPORTS WERE MISSING. TWO OF THE THREE HARVESTERS APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMISSION AND PLACED ON PROBATION FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS, STARTING DECEMBER 8, 2014. THE COMMISSION ALSO VOTED TO SUSPEND THE LICENSES OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHO DID NOT APPEAR FOR HIS HEARING UNTIL HE IS ABLE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMISSION. [audio]
11. LICENSE EXCEPTION APPEALS: Individual appeals of decision to deny exceptions to the two year waiting period for a Commercial Fisherman Registration License. THE COMMISSION HEARD THREE CASES FOR APPEALS OF DECISION TO DENY EXCEPTIONS TO THE TWO YEAR WAITING PERIOD FOR A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN REGISTRATION LICENSE (CFRL). STAFF REVIEWED HOW AN INDIVIDUAL MAY OBTAIN A CFRL, AND HOW EXCEPTIONS MAY BE GRANTED, INCLUDING THE DEMONSTRATION OF SIGNIFICANT HARDSHIP THAT PREVENTED THE APPLICANT FROM MAKING TIMELY APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION. THE REGULATION STATES THAT NO EXCEPTION CAN BE MADE SOLELY FOR THE BASIS OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP. ONE INDIVIDUAL APPEARED FOR HIS APPEAL AND STATED THAT HIS HARDSHIP WAS BASED SOLELY ON AN ECONOMIC HARDSHIP. THE OTHER TWO INDIVIDUALS FAILED TO APPEAR FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE HEARING. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO DENY THE THREE APPEALS FOR AN EXCEPTION TO THE TWO YEAR DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM FOR A CFRL, BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO PROVIDE EXCEPTION FOR HARDSHIP. [audio]
12. RECOMMENDATIONS: From the Recreational Fishing Advisory Board, on funding projects from the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM STAFF AND THE RECREATIONAL FISHING ADVISORY BOARD (RFAB) FOR APPROVAL OF EXPENDITURES ON SEVERAL RECREATIONAL PROJECTS, TOTALING $581,337. THESE PROJECTS INCLUDED MULTI-YEAR FISHING EVENT RENEWALS AND RESEARCH PROJECTS FOR 2015. THERE WAS MUCH DISCUSSION ON THE KING AND QUEEN RECREATIONAL FISHING PIER AND NON-POWER BOAT ACCESS (MATTAPONI RIVER) PROJECT. THIS PROJECT WAS DENIED FOR FUNDING BY THE RFAB DUE TO CONCERNS OVER FUNDING AND THE SALTWATER AND FRESHWATER BOUNDARY LINE. PUBLIC COMMENT WAS RECEIVED FROM MANY INDIVIDUALS, BOTH IN SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION OF THE PROJECT. STAFF RECOMMENDATION WAS TO SUPPORT THE RFAB DECISION OF DENIAL FOR PROJECT FUNDING. THREE INDIVIDUALS FROM THE PUBLIC SPOKE IN FAVOR OF THE PROJECT AND ADDRESSED THE CONCERNS THAT THE RFAB HAD DURING THE TIME OF THEIR DECISION FOR DENIAL. COMMISSIONER BULL STATED THAT THE COMMISSION IS ABLE TO MOVE THE BOUNDARY LINE IF IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE PROJECT. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HAVE THE RFAB REVISIT THE PROJECT PROPOSAL, WITH ALL NEW AND RECENT INFORMATION, AND TO EXAMINE AND RECOMMEND FUNDING TWO-THIRDS OF THE PROJECT, WITH ONE-THIRD OF THE PROJECT COVERED BY KING AND QUEEN COUNTY, AND HAVE THE PROJECT BE REEVALUATED BY THE RFAB PROJECT CHECKLIST. THE RFAB WILL RE-VOTE ON THE PROJECT PROPOSAL IN JANUARY, AND THE FORTHCOMING RECOMMENDATION WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE COMMISSION AGAIN AT THE JANUARY 2015 COMMISSION MEETING. [audio]
13. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-252-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Taking of Striped Bass" to comply with Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan. ADDENDUM IV TO AMENDMENT 6 TO THE ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS INTERSTATE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN WAS APPROVED BY THE ASMFC ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS MANAGEMENT BOARD IN OCTOBER 2014. THIS ADDENDUM REQUIRES VIRGINIA TO 1) REDUCE THE ANNUAL VIRGINIA COMMERCIAL COASTAL QUOTA BY 25% OF THE AMENDMENT 6 QUOTA OF 184,853 POUNDS, 2) REDUCE THE ANNUAL VIRGINIA COMMERCIAL CHESAPEAKE BAY QUOTA BY 20.5% OF THE 2012 HARVEST OF 1,339,619 POUNDS, AND 3) REDUCE THE BAG LIMIT FOR THE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY FROM 2 FISH TO 1 FISH. AS STATED BY ADDENDUM IV, ALL THREE OF THESE MEASURES MUST BE EFFECTIVE BY JANUARY 1, 2015. VIRGINIA HAS THE ABILITY TO SELECT ALTERNATE OPTIONS FOR THE RECREATIONAL COASTAL AND BAY FISHERIES AFTER AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN HAS BEEN REVIEWED BY THE ASMFC ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS TECHNICAL COMMITTEE, SO THESE ALTERNATE OPTIONS WILL APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMISSION IN SPRING 2015. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RECREATIONAL SPRING TROPHY STRIPED BASS PERMIT IS ALSO NEEDED IN ORDER TO ENFORCE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE ANGLERS. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ESTABLISH THE ANNUAL COMMERCIAL COASTAL QUOTA AS 138,640 POUNDS; ESTABLISH THE ANNUAL COMMERCIAL CHESAPEAKE BAY QUOTA AS 1,064,997 POUNDS; ESTABLISH THE RECREATIONAL COASTAL DAILY POSSESSION LIMIT AS 1 FISH PER PERSON PER DAY; ESTABLISH A SPRING RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS TROPHY PERMIT FOR THE BAY, COASTAL, AND POTOMAC RIVER TRIBUTARIES TROPHY-SIZE SPRING STRIPED BASS FISHERIES, WITH REPORTING REQUIREMENTS AND SANCTIONS FOR FAILURE TO REPORT PARTICIPATION IN THE RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS TROPHY-SIZE SEASONS; AND CLARIFY SANCTIONS ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO FAILS TO REPORT PARTICIPATION IN ANY OF THE RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS SEASONS. [audio]
14. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-500-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Catching of Eels" to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan requirements for American eel. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH (1) AN EEL BUYER PERMIT; (2) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR THOSE WHO PURCHASE EELS FROM A LEGALLY LICENSED HARVESTER; AND, (3) A REQUIREMENT THAT ANY LAWFUL HARVESTER WHO SELF-MARKETS OR RETAILS EELS, TO ANY INDIVIDUAL OR BUSINESS, SHALL OBTAIN AN EEL SELF-MARKET PERMIT. THESE PERMITS ARE NECESSARY FOR COMPLIANCE TO TRACK ALL SALES, AS REQUIRED BY ADDENDUM III TO THE INTERSTATE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR AMERICAN EEL. [audio]
15. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-900-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Horseshoe Crabs" to establish the 2015 Virginia commercial landings quota. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO ESTABLISH THE 2015 VIRGINIA COMMERCIAL LANDINGS QUOTA FOR HORSESHOE CRABS AS 172,828 HORSESHOE CRABS. [audio]
16. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Speckled Trout and Red Drum" to amend the daily bycatch landing limit definition for speckled trout. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO AMEND THE DEFINITION OF THE DAILY BYCATCH LANDING LIMIT FOR SPECKLED TROUT. [audio]
17. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed final adoption of emergency amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-620-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Summer Flounder" that modify commercial summer flounder management measures. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO PERMANENTLY ADOPT EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS PERTAINING TO SUMMER FLOUNDER TO ESTABLISH A 20-DAY CONSECUTIVE LANDING PERIOD, BEGINNING DECEMBER 1, 2014, FOR ANY LEGALLY LICENSED SUMMER FLOUNDER ENDORSEMENT LICENSEE LANDING SUMMER FLOUNDER, HARVESTED OUTSIDE OF VIRGINIA WATERS. [audio]
18. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-1270-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Atlantic Menhaden" to revise the reference years for the total allowable landings. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO REVISE THE REFERENCE YEARS FOR THE TOTAL ALLOWABLE LANDINGS OF ATLANTIC MENHADEN TO INCLUDE 2015 AND 2016, AND EXTEND PROVISIONS OF THE REGULATION TO JULY 1, 2016, IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE CODE OF VIRGINIA. [audio]
19. REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS: Proposed emergency amendments to establish the 2015 commercial black sea bass quota in Chapter 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq. "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass". THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADOPT EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS PERTAINING TO BLACK SEA BASS TO ESTABLISH THE 2015 COMMERCIAL BLACK SEA BASS QUOTA AS 408,000 POUNDS FOR THE DIRECTED FISHERY AND 40,000 POUNDS FOR THE BYCATCH FISHERY. A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD ON JANUARY 27, 2015 TO PERMANENTLY ADOPT THE EMERGENCY AMENDMENT. [audio]
THE FOLLOWING SO-CALLED PAGE TWO ITEMS WERE APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY:
2A. LUCK STONE, #14-1555, requests authorization to repair/replace three (3) 6-leg commercial dolphins, in their existing locations, and to mechanically remove/dredge one out cropping of bedrock which rises 5.2 feet above the river bottom and hinders barge traffic in the James River, adjacent to the Luck Stone South Richmond Plant in the City of Richmond. Recommend approval with a time-of-year restriction between February 15 and June 30 of any year to protect anadromous fish, and a royalty of $3.65 for dredging 8.1 cubic yards of State-owned submerged land at $0.45 per cubic yard, and a royalty of $117.75 for encroachment over State-owned submerged lands for three dolphins.
2B. NORFOLK DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, #14-1548, requests authorization to replace the existing Spotico Creek culvert with a new 4.1-foot wide by 16-foot long pre-cast concrete arch culvert, install a new riprap outfall structure resulting in the filling of approximately nine (9) cubic yards of State-owned submerged land, relocate existing utility lines, including the pile-supported aerial crossing of an 8-inch sanitary sewer line across 13 linear feet of State-owned submerged land, and to include the use of temporary cofferdams and turbidity curtains to facilitate construction of the culvert replacement within the Berkley subdivision of Norfolk.
2C. PLAINS MARKETING, L.P., #11-1227, requests a permit modification to construct a new 3-foot wide by 70-foot catwalk and repair/reconfigure an existing vehicle turnaround area on an existing marine terminal in the York River at 2201 Goodwin Neck Road in York County.