Monday, March 10, 2014

APA Seeks Expedited Approvals For Some Wetland Activities

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is seeking public comment on two new general permits related to wetlands in the Adirondack Park that would expedite APA approval for qualifying activities. One relates to the the management of invasive species within 100 feet of a wetland, the other to access and replacement of power poles in wetlands. Both General Permits will apply throughout the Adirondack Park and will be effective for three years unless revoked or modified by the Agency.

The APA will accept public comments until March 28, 2014. If there is significant concern with, or opposition to these General Permits, a public hearing may be required. Approval of a General Permit by the Agency is a SEQRA, Type 1 action. A negative declaration and Full Environmental Assessment Form has been prepared by the Agency and is on file at its offices in Ray Brook, New York.

Agency staff have determined that all activities authorized under these General Permits and undertaken as authorized: will meet the criteria for approval established in Executive Law § 809; and will secure the natural benefits of wetlands consistent with the general welfare and beneficial economic, social, and agricultural development of the state.

Proposed General Permit 2014-G1

Proposed general permit 2014-G1 is entitled “Management of Terrestrial Invasive Plant Species In or Within 100 Feet of Wetlands in the Adirondack Park.” The draft general permit updates and replaces existing practices allowed under General Permit P2003G-1R. The draft general permit would expedite APA approval for qualifying activities.

The Adirondack Park Agency is proposing General Permit 2014G-1 to authorize the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), and the Regional Inlet Invasive Plant Program (RIIPP) to undertake activities related to the management of terrestrial invasive plant species in or within 100 feet of wetlands in the Adirondack Park. Such activities include the use of herbicide. The general permit will only apply where:

· The sole basis of Agency jurisdiction on the project site is a “regulated activity” incidental to the management of terrestrial invasive plant species in wetlands; and

· The regulated activity is undertaken by the DOT, DEC, APIPP, or RIIPP.

General Permit 2014G-1 will apply throughout the Adirondack Park and will be effective for three years unless revoked or modified by the Agency.

Pursuant to Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law (the Freshwater Wetlands Act), Executive Law §§ 809(2)(a) and 810(1) (the Adirondack Park Agency Act), and 9 NYCRR §§ 570.2, 578.2(a), and 578.3(n)(1) and (2), within the Adirondack Park, any form of dredging, excavation, removal of soil, peat, mud, or sand, any form of pollution, or any other activity which substantially impairs the functions served by or the benefits derived from freshwater wetlands is a “regulated activity” requiring a permit from the Agency (Sections 809(2)(a) and 810(1) of the Adirondack Park Agency Act do not apply to activities undertaken by the DOT or DEC).

Proposed General Permit 2014-G2

Proposed general permit 2014-G2 is entitled “Access to and Replacement of Utility Poles in Wetlands.” The draft general permit updates and replaces existing practices allowed under General Permit P2002G-3AAR. The draft general permit would expedite APA approval for qualifying activities. The APA will accept public comments until March 28, 2014. The General Permit 2014-G2 application and APA Board Resolution and Order are available for download from the Agency’s website – www.apa.ny.gov.

The Adirondack Park Agency is proposing General Permit 2014G-2 to authorize municipal utility companies to access and replace utility poles in wetlands and/or the establishment of temporary structures in wetlands to access utility poles in the Adirondack Park. The general permit will only apply where:

· The sole basis of Agency jurisdiction on the project site is fill or substantial impairment to the functions and values of a wetland incidental to the replacement of a utility pole or the establishment of a temporary structure for access to a utility pole;

· The replacement pole will be located within the existing utility company right-of-way or fee ownership;

· The project will not result in an increase in the number of utility poles in wetlands; and

· The project will be undertaken by a regional or municipal utility company.

Pursuant to Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law (the Freshwater Wetlands Act), Executive Law §§ 809(2)(a) and 810(1) (the Adirondack Park Agency Act), and 9 NYCRR §§ 570.2, 578.2(a), and 578.3(n)(1) and (2), within the Adirondack Park, any form of filling or any other activity that substantially impairs the functions served by or the benefits derived from freshwater wetlands is a “regulated activity” requiring a permit from the Agency. Replacing utility poles in wetlands when stone ballast is added to the new hole and placing temporary structures such as bog matting in wetlands constitute fill, and may also substantially impair the functions and values of wetlands.

Agency and Public Comments

All persons and agencies are invited to comment on this proposed General Permit in writing or email no later than March 28, 2014.

Please submit written comments to:

Richard E. Weber III
Deputy Director, Regulatory Programs
Adirondack Park Agency
PO Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

[email protected]

The General Permits and other related documents are available for download from the Agency’s website – www.apa.ny.gov.

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