** APPROVAL OF AGENDA. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS AMENDED TO REFLECT REMOVAL OF ITEM 13 DUE TO A LACK OF CASES. THE COMMISSIONER ALSO ADVISED THAT THE JUNE 2018 COMMISSION MEETING WAS RE-SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 19 FROM JUNE 26, 2018. [audio]
1. MINUTES of previous meeting. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED WITH ONE AMENDMENT. [audio]
2. PERMITS (Projects over $500,000.00 with no objections and with staff recommendation for approval). NONE [audio]
4. CLOSED MEETING FOR CONSULTATION WITH, OR BRIEFING BY, COUNSEL. NONE [audio]
5.OLD DOMINION BOAT CLUB, #17-1845 Requests authorization to construct a 16-foot wide by 74-foot long concrete boat ramp in the Potomac River, adjacent to upland property situated immediately south of the waterfront terminus of Prince Street in the City of Alexandria. The project requires a wetlands permit. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT PER STAFF'S RECOMMENDATION.
6.VIRGINIA ELECTRIC AND POWER COMPANY, #18-0055 Requests authorization to temporarily impact 3,460 square feet of jurisdictional wetlands as a result of the placement of construction access mats; for the replacement of existing electric towers; and to replace an existing power line that crosses Hodges Creeks at the Dozier Tap Substation, located along Bainbridge Boulevard in the City of Chesapeake. The project requires a subaqueous and wetlands permit. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT PER STAFF'S RECOMMENDATION.
7.CHESAPEAKE LAND DEVELOPMENT, LLC, #18-0122 Requests authorization to dredge approximately 100 cubic yards of submerged land and tidal wetlands for the construction of a 20-foot wide tidal channel that will connect New Mill Creek to the New Mill Creek Tidal Wetland Mitigation Bank at 174 Sampson Creek Road, in the City of Chesapeake. Dredged material will be dewatered on-site and transported by truck to the Higgerson-Buchanan landfill. The project requires a subaqueous and wetlands permit. UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS SUBMITTED..
8.TARYN ROWLAND, Oyster Planting Ground Application #2015-141 Requests authorization to lease approximately 93 acres of oyster planting grounds within the Rappahannock River in Lancaster County. The application is protested by numerous local property owners. THE COMMISSION VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE PROJECT BASED ON A MOTION TO APPROVE AN AMENDED APPLICATION, AS PRESENTED BY STAFF, FOR THE THREE SMALLER AREAS DESCRIBED IN THE ORIGINAL STAFF EVALUATION. VMRC STAFF WILL RESURVEY THESE AREAS, BEGINNING AT THE MINUS FIVE FOOT MEAN LOW WATER CONTOUR, AND ENDING AT THE EXISTING PUBLIC GROUND OFFSHORE. ADDITIONALLY, STAFF WILL INCLUDE A 500-FOOT SETBACK FROM THE EXISTING LEASES TO THE NORTH AS A NAVIGABLE THOROFARE. VMRC STAFF WILL ASSESS AN ADDITIONAL SURVEY FEE TO THE APPLICANT BASED ON AN HOURLY RATE. [audio]
9.MICHAEL E. WEST, Oyster Planting Ground Application #2016-179 Requests authorization to lease approximately 235 acres of oyster planting grounds within the North River in Gloucester County. Bottomlands of this application are not suitable and/or economically feasible for cultch planting or aquaculture activities and some areas also contain submerged aquatic vegetation. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE PROJECT AS SUBMITTED. [audio]
10.THOMAS JAMES, Oyster Planting Ground Application #2017-067 Requests authorization to lease 0.83 acres of oyster planting ground in The Gulf in Northampton County. The project has submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and is protested by nearby property owners. THE COMMISSION VOTED 5 TO 1 WITH 1 ABSTENTION TO APPROVE THE PROJECT PER STAFF'S RECOMMENDATION. COMMISSIONER BOWMAN VOTED NO, ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER LUSK ABSTAINED. [audio]
11.REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING Consideration of a petition to the Marine Resources Commission to designate an area as Public Clam Grounds within the Poquoson River in the City of Poquoson. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED STAFF'S REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE MAY 2018 COMMISSION MEETING. [audio]
12.PUBLIC COMMENTS The only public comment was a request to delay the start of the sanctuary closures to commercial harvest until June 1. The request was made by Mr. Mark Sanford who made the request on the basis that current weather in the spring prevented usual harvests in the lower Chesapeake bay. [audio]
13. LICENSE STATUS REVIEW: THE COMMISSION HEARD 3 CASES OF LICENSE STATUS REVIEWS. [None - Postponed to June]
14.PUBLIC HEARING The Commission proposes to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-490-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Sharks," that would: 1) establish the May 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019 commercial spiny dogfish harvest quota as 4,123,239 pounds; and, 2) modify harvest limits. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADOPT THE 2018-19 COMMERCIAL SPINY DOGFISH HARVEST QUOTA AT 4,123,239 POUNDS AND MODIFY THE HARVEST LIMITS. [audio]
15.PUBLIC HEARING The Commission will consider a proposal that would establish a start date of May 16, rather than May 9, when it would be unlawful for any person to conduct certain crabbing activities in areas 2, 3 and 4 of the Blue Crab Sanctuary. Currently, areas 2 and 4 prohibit any commercial crabbing from May 9 through September 15, while area 3 prohibits recreational and commercial crabbing from May 9 through September 15. If this proposal is adopted it would require an amendment to Chapter 4 VAC 20-752-10 et seq., "Pertaining to the Blue Crab Sanctuary." THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO AMEND CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-752-10 ET SEQ., "PERTAINING TO THE BLUE CRAB SANCTUARY," TO CHANGE THE START OF THE SEASON CLOSURE TO CRAB HARVESTING IN AREAS 2, 3, AND 4 OF THE BLUE CRAB SANCTUARY FROM MAY 9 TO MAY 16. [audio]
16.PUBLIC HEARING Proposal to amend Chapter 4 VAC 20-1120-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Tilefish and Grouper," to establish the 2018 recreational season and possession limits for Blueline Tilefish that complement federal waters measures. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO AMEND CHAPTER 4VAC20-1120-10 ET SEQ., "PERTAINING TO TILEFISH AND GROUPER," TO ESTABLISH THE 2018 OPEN RECREATIONAL SEASON FROM MAY 1 THROUGH OCTOBER 31 AND ADOPT A RECREATIONAL POSSESSION LIMIT OF THREE BLUELINE TILEFISH PER PERSON PER TRIP ABOARD A PRIVATE VESSEL, FIVE BLUELINE TILEFISH PER PERSON PER TRIP ABOARD A FOR-HIRE VESSEL THAT HAS BEEN ISSUED A VALID TILEFISH CHARTER/PARTY PERMIT, BUT DOES NOT HAVE A CURRENT U.S. COAST GUARD SAFETY INSPECTION STICKER AND SEVEN BLUELINE TILEFISH PER PERSON PER TRIP ABOARD A FOR-HIRE VESSEL THAT HAS BOTH A VALID TILEFISH CHARTER/PARTY PERMIT AND A CURRENT U.S. COAST GUARD SAFETY INSPECTION STICKER. [audio]
17.DISCUSSION A request for an May public hearing to consider amendments to Chapter 4 VAC 20-950-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Black Sea Bass," to establish the 2018 recreational fishery management measures. THE COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO ADVERTISE FOR A MAY 2018 PUBLIC HEARING TO AMEND CHAPTER 4 VAC 20-950-10 ET SEQ., "PERTAINING TO BLACK SEA BASS," TO CHANGE THE RECREATIONAL BLACK SEA BASS FISHING SEASON FOR 2018. [audio]