Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Bank: Open for Business

Our friends and partners at Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust and EarthSource Solutions, of Richmond, recently placed the advertisement below in the local trade newsletter for the American Society of Consulting Engineers. Nutrient off-set and compliance credits are now available at our Cranston’s Mill Pond Nutrient Reduction Bank. See here for some great background on the hard work behind establishing the water quality banking system in Virginia.

This ground-breaking facility is the 2nd of its kind in Virginia, the 4th in the nation, and the largest proposed or approved nutrient reduction bank in the bay which uses only the top technology and software like the ones related to the posts on the Salesforce site for it to run efficiently. Cranston’s Mill services HUC: 02080206 of the James River which includes Charles City, James City, Isle of Wright, Surry, Prince George, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, King William, New Kent, and York counties. It also includes City of Richmond, Williamsburg and Newport News.

Interested stormwater engineers or stormwater permitees in the James River Basin of Virginia should call Mr. Brent Fults or Mr. Scott Reed of CBNLT. CBNLT is the first Authorized Credit Broker in the bay and these gentleman would be happy to walk you through the benefits of purchasing off-site nutrient reduction for stormwater permits, examine your site plans for the suitability for off-site water quality improvement, and quote you a reserved price for the appropriate number of credits. Please give them a call today!

Nutrient Off-Set Ad – American Society of Consulting Engineers – Richmond Branch

Finally: Restoration Systems' Fall 2011 Brochure

We love to blog here at Stories from the Field, but find print collateral far more difficult to produce. Fortunately, we hooked up with a great studio this time and got an excellent product (we think) with relatively little hassle at an amazing price. It only required seven revisions and six weeks of absolute tedium. Not bad, considering past experience. Going forward this document will be a living draft. We will update it frequently and keep it nice and fresh I hope.

Restoration Systems Fall 2011 Brochure

Cool Google Tech: Bear Creek and Sleepy Creek on Street View

I just noted you can now embed “Google Street View” into blogs, and wanted to give it a try.

You are looking here at the Sleep Creek Wetland Mitigation Site (2005) in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Turn around. That’s the Bear Creek Mitigation Bank (2001).

What will they think of next?

View Larger Map

New Brochure pics

I was putting together some photos for the new brochure and ended up with an interesting collection. Not sure what will end up getting used. So I will share them here too just for the heck of it:

Lady Bird on Texas ranch life

Bill Blurb

I just happened across the short but welcome blurb below (not the cartoon above) in yesterday’s Raleigh News and Observer concerning the new state mitigation law, Senate Bill 425.  Good to see the paper keeping up with the changes at the NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program as a result of the new law and their series, “Washed Away.”

Unfortunately for journalism, I am not sure that people are following this case quite as closely as the Anthony trial in Orlando.  But the state capital’s paper of record is, thank goodness, an indispensable watch-dog for obscure, kudzu-like, government programs like the NCEEP. For what it is worth, people in the surprisingly wide world of environmental mitigation are watching.

As an aside, I do wish they would stop headlining mitigation articles “Streams” this and “Streams” that, since the new law effects the mitigation of Wetlands, Streams, Riparian Buffers and Nutrient Off-sets.  In a word: All things “Water.”

Streams law signed

Rob Christensen and Dane Kane

Raleigh News and Observer, July 6, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue has signed into law changes to the state program that produces stream and wetland restorations to counter the environmental damage caused by road building and development.

Senate Bill 425 requires the state Ecosystem Enhancement Program to first contract with businesses known as mitigation bankers that identify, design and build the restored streams and wetlands. The program still has the option to oversee the design and construction, but only as a last resort.

The provision comes in response to The N&O’s series “Washed Away,” which found roughly a third of the stream restorations overseen by the program didn’t hold up, resulting in repairs that in some cases cost several hundred thousand dollars. In those cases, the program often ended up footing the repair bill.

By using mitigation bankers, the state is shifting the repair responsibility to the businesses. If the restorations are poorly done or fail, the bankers are on the hook to fix them.

The legislation also requires local governments to use mitigation bankers for their restoration needs.

The legislation is one of several changes to the program that began after we started asking questions about how it was operating. Another change introduced this month is a website ( http:// portal.ncdenr.org/web/eep/ welcome ) that is much cleaner and easier to navigate than the old site. It includes a map that shows every site, with links to basic information and key documents.

The site needs work. Some restoration projects lack links to progress reports, and cost information is incomplete. Program spokesman Tad Boggs, in response to questions about the information gaps, said the site is a “work in progress.”

Also this week, Bill Gilmore, the program’s longtime director, is retiring.

It Never Gets Old

Game On: RS project at Jesuit Bend makes BP restoration list

RS was thrilled to see a welcome surprise in the Sunday email today.  The Jesuit Bend Coastal Protection and Restoration Site has made the long “Master List” of projects to be considered for restoration using the first $1 billion tranche of BP Natural Resource Damages funding pursuant to the Early Restoration Agreement penned on April 22.

Jesuit Bend is likely an out-lier on this list. I am guessing that not a single project of the 300 presented is a flat-priced, surety bonded, multi-year turn-key professional contract like JB.  Without question there are dozens upon dozens of great places to perform coastal restoration on this list, with many capable sponsors. But it is our hope Jesuit Bend is one of the few that is truly shovel ready and professionally insured.

For instance, we own the land. Actually having fee-title control of the property makes it a lot easier to begin restoration.  No oyster leases to buy out, no obscure title problems, and no real estates assemblages from multiple landowners. We could slap an easement (or “servitude,” in Napoleonic vernacular) on the property in short order.  I also bet there are very few projects that have two dredges ready to go. We estimate we could pump river mud within ninety days of Notice to Proceed.

We will keep you up on the progress. As is clear in the website announcing the projects, this is the beginning — not the end — of the process.  I am just thankful it is not the beginning OF the end!

Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration

Submitted BP oil spill Restoration Projects

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal process whereby trustees represent the public interest to ensure that natural resources injured in an oil spill are restored. The trustees assess the injuries to our natural resources from a spill, develop restoration plan(s) and implement those plans in order to compensate the public for the injuries incurred.

Making the environment and public whole includes both restoring injured resources to the condition they would have been in had the spill not occurred as well as compensating for the temporal loss of natural resources, and the ecosystem services they provide, from the time of injury until the time they are fully restored.

Typically, in the NRDA process, the trustees will develop a restoration plan or series of plans to compensate for those injuries after the injuries are assessed and the scope and scale of those injuries is determined. However, plans for early restoration projects may be developed prior to the completion of the injury assessment, when opportunities arise, to achieve restoration faster.

On April 21, 2011, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees reached an agreement whereby BP committed $1 billion to fund early restoration projects. These funds will be divided among the trustees pursuant to the early restoration allocation agreement. $500 million will be split equally among the Gulf State Trustees (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas); $200 million will be split equally among the Federal Trustees (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Interior); and $300 million will be used to fund state sponsored restoration projects based upon impacts. Louisiana first made the request for BP to fund early restoration in July 2010 and laid the groundwork for this negotiation.

The State of Louisiana is currently engaged in the process of selecting potential early restoration projects, as are other impacted state and federal trustees.

For the past year, Louisiana has worked with coastal stakeholders through a variety of public outreach and coordination efforts to build a master list of potential projects for both early and long-term restoration of the State’s natural resources that were injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Through the combination of a concerted stakeholder and public outreach effort and the State’s Regional Restoration Planning Program, Louisiana has compiled a list of over 300 restoration project candidates. These projects reflect the ideas and input of a variety of coastal stakeholders. Click HERE to view the current master list.

Louisiana continues to accept restoration project submittals. Project proposals may be submitted online at http://losco-dwh.com/.

Projects received through June 25, 2011 will be analyzed by the State’s natural resource trustees for potential inclusion in an early restoration plan. Projects submitted after this date and those not selected for the initial phase of early restoration planning will be considered for future stages of both early and long-term restoration.

The State of Louisiana remains committed to outreach and engagement efforts and will continue in those efforts throughout the NRDA process. In addition to our regularly scheduled monthly coastal stakeholders meetings, we will also hold a public meeting to solicit early restoration projects on June 20, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm in Room 110 in Weinmann Hall at Tulane University School of Law.

BP coastal restoration down payment of $1 billion includes $100 million for Louisiana

By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune

BP has reached an unprecedented agreement with coastal states and two federal agencies to make a $1 billion advance payment for restoration projects to compensate for damage to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The money will go to the Natural Resource Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which includes the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The trustees will use the money to pay for projects such as rebuilding coastal marshes, replenishing damaged beaches, conservation of sensitive areas for ocean habitat for injured wildlife, and restoring barrier islands and wetlands.

Some of the money may also go to projects that support recreational fishing, such as public boat launches or docks, or fish hatcheries.

Louisiana and the other states will each be given $100 million. NOAA and the Interior Department also will be given an initial $100 million. The remaining $300 million will be divided between NOAA and Interior to be used for projects selected by them from proposals submitted by the states.

The first $500 million will be forwarded within 45 days, with a second $500 million provided in six months.

The projects must be approved by a Trustee Council that includes representatives of all trustees. The proposals also will undergo public review before final approval.