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The Virginia Marine Resources Commission convened a public hearing on the Newport News request on behalf of the Regional Raw Water Study Group for an intake permit in the Mattaponi River. The meeting began at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at Lafayette High School in James City County.

All nine Commission members were present. Tony Watkinson, Deputy Chief-Habitat Management, began the hearing with a staff presentation, followed by nearly four hours of presentations by the Newport News staff and supporting comments by members of the public officials and members of the public. The meeting was recessed at 6:30 p.m.

The Commission reconvened at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, August 12, 2004 at Lafayette High School. Opponents of the permit were given six hours and 10 minutes to present their material.

The Commission began to deliberate its actions about 4:00 p.m. and voted 5-3 to approve a request to construct to construct a 75 million gallons per day (mgd) raw water intake structure in the Mattaponi River at Scotland Landing and raw water distribution lines under Cohoke Creek in King William County and the Pamunkey River between King William and New Kent Counties, as well as a water discharge structure in Beaverdam Creek, a tributary to Diascund Reservoir in New Kent County in association with the proposed King William Reservoir Project. the permit.

In making its decision, the Commission considered the documents and materials in the pre-hearing public record, as well as the record made at the previous hearings on this matter; staff briefings and recommendations; evidence, testimony and arguments presented during the Supplemental Hearing on behalf of the applicant and protestants; the Commission's Subaqueous Guidelines, and those factors and legal principles referred to in 28.2-1205 of the Code of Virginia for the Commission's consideration when determining whether to grant or deny a permit for the use of State-owned bottomlands pursuant to its 28.2-1204 authority.

The synopses of the conditions are as follows:

Screen Design - Intake screens will be designed with 1mm slot openings and a maximum through slot velocity of 0.15 feet per second. The screen assemblies will be made of standard Type 316 stainless steel materials without any special coatings, chemical treatments or special alloys.

Pumping Hiatus - A springtime pumping hiatus will be required. Temperature triggers arising out of an 8-year ichthyoplankton monitoring program will determine the initiation and length of the hiatus. The pumping hiatus will be designed to protect no less than 97% of the standing stock of American shad eggs and yolk-sac larvae in 7 of 8 years of pre-operational data collection and study, and no less than 95% of the standing stocks of such eggs and yolk-sac larvae in the eighth year. 

Pre-operational Ichthyoplankton Monitoring Program - An eight-year ichthyoplankton monitoring program will commence in 2006, or the first calendar year after the Corps has issued the required Section 404 permit, whichever is later. The monitoring program will be in accordance with Appendix D in the Fisheries Panel Report, and data will be collected until the river water temperature reaches 28 C in order to document the presence of post yolk-sac larvae.

Screen Alignment - The intake structures will be aligned in order to maximize natural current sweeping velocities. 

Intake Chemical Feed System - A chemical feed system may be pre-installed to address bio-fouling mollusks, like the zebra mussel. The system shall not be used until the chemical or other proposed measures have been specifically approved by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Commission has granted express permission to do so. 

Pre-Operational Monitoring Reports - Annual reports which include the results of the spring spawning season monitoring, and a cumulative summary of all data collected, shall be provided to the Commission by September 30th of each year.

Setting Hiatus Triggers - At the end of the eighth year, the City will provide a final report and analysis of all data collected with their recommendation for the proposed temperature triggers for initiation and cessation of the spring pumping hiatus. The hiatus must adequately meet the 97% and 95% protection levels specified in the City's application. In no case may the temperature range be less than 12 C. The Commission must approve both the report and trigger values before any pumping may occur during the period March 1 - July 31 unless a water supply emergency has been declared. 

Post Operational Monitoring - During water supply emergency years, the City shall conduct entrainment monitoring in the manner described in Appendix D of the Fisheries Panel Report. Entrainment monitoring will be determined for eleven species of fish (American shad, hickory shad, gizzard shad, alewife, blueback herring, striped bass, white perch, yellow perch, longnose gar, Atlantic sturgeon, and common carp).

Commission authority to Reopen the Permit - After proper notice and opportunity for a hearing, the Commission's permit may be reopened by the Commission to modify one or more of its conditions if the circumstances on which the permit was granted materially and substantially change, if the Virginia Water Protection permit has been modified, or if studies conducted by the Commission or the permittee show some material, substantial and adverse change in the condition of the Mattaponi fisheries or the Commission's jurisdictional habitat has occurred as a result of the permittee's operations.

Creation of a Fund or Endowment - The City will enter into good faith negotiations with the Commission toward the funding or endowment of a program that would ensure the Mattaponi watershed is maintained as a viable and productive resource for future generations. Any agreement coming out of these negotiations would have to be mutually agreed to.

Finally, the City had also previously agreed, as part of their application, to employ certain other mitigation efforts designed to help offset effects on fishery resources through fish passageway improvements and support hatchery efforts for stocking American shad. Those concessions remain unchanged.

The Commission adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

NEXT MEETING:  9/28/2004

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