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Joined: May 2011
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I am wanting to build a lake and so far everyone but the army corp thinks the idea is a slam dunk winner. Any advice?

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What is their objection ?

Last edited by ewest; 06/05/11 04:22 PM.















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The creek running through my property is a blue line on the usg top map. That is causing some issues even though there are two other lakes further upstream on the same blue line. That and wetlands, mitigation, archeologists and animal habitat. Just looking for some advice.evious owner, who's family has ran livestock on this property for years. He said he never found a trace of an arrowhead.

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We've had to get corps permits on several of our dams. You might start by seeing if you can find a local US Fish and Wildlife Service person (in their partners for wildlife program) or someone with NRCS who can help you navigate the permitting process.

In the past the Corps had "minimal effects" agreements if the project was below a certain size in terms of impacting wetlands. The guys at USFWS and/or NRCS should be able to help you with that.

Bill

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Unfortunately, I cannot say I have had GOOD experiences with the army corp out here in Southern Virginia...I have delt with them more than I ever wanted to.

Took me almost a year to get my permitting in place to build a simple 1.5 acre farm pond. Actually, still getting it done...I'm dragging my feet at this point. Thread below got really long...bottom line we had to mitigate for all the stream we impacted.

My blow-by-blow experiences.


1.) Army corp cares nothing about structural integrity of the project...they are an arm of the EPA now...they are environmental police, at least in my area.

2.) My brother and I, who own the farm, have a ditch we were daming up...this ditch did not show up on any official USGS Topo surveys. The local NRCS guys said it would be a no-brainer to get a permit. They were wrong.

3.) The Army Corp environmentalist said we were "disrupting the waters of the United States" by daming up a ditch! At first they said we would have to pay about $470,000 to Uncle Sam to build our pond to compensate for the disruptions to the environment (this is twice as much as the value of the land!) There is a calculation of dollars per linear stream foot impacted by daming the ditch (the army corp classified my ditch as a ephemeral stream Water only runs when it rains.) My NRCS guy, who was FANTASTIC in helping us design the pond, spec the dam, lay out the water line, and test the dirt, politely asked what if "these boys" build the pond without telling you? The Army Corp person said she would find out and fine us $10,000/week for building an unpermitted dam! To add complete insult to injury, she reported this 40 plus year NRCS vet to her superiors and got him repremanded for insubordination.



4.) After a little more discussion, the army corp environmentalist said we could mitigate for the stream we impact. Mitigation involved setting aside, in perpetuity (ie. forever) "compensated land" for the land we were disrupting that would never be built on. We need to fence off the compensated land, take pictures, and put in our deed that we will never build on the compensated land. Now, the really interesting part is determining how much land we needed to compensate. At first, the EPA told me 10 to 1...in other words, we would need to block of 10 feet for every 1 foot we stream impacted beyond a threshold. Bottom line, this would have forced us to fence in most of the remaining "ditch streams" on the property. I politely blew up...and demaned the EPA get me the law...documenting EXACTLY WHERE it states this.

5.) In parallel, since I had a little lull at work, I contacted a few environmental consultants to figure out what the heck was happenning..and why it was so difficult to build a 1.5 acre farm pond that would be used to fish and water cattle! The guys I talked to said that during the Bush admin, the EPA won a power struggle with another group and wrestled the Army Corp to work under it. It had been beefed up in personnel to really go after developers...to make sure that big land developers were stymied or had to pay a LOT more for their projects. Even they were really surprised that they were going after my brother and I on a farm pond like this.

6.) We actually wrote our congressman at thst point, who just won an election, told our story, mentioned that these govt rules had stopped development on a pond that would bring development dollars into a depressed southern VA economy. The congressment actually replied back to us saying he would look into it. I doubt he did, but felt good to express dissatisfaction to somone.

8.) To really fight these guys, we would have had to take a grievence up their chain of command. Just not worth our time to do this.

7.) After finally figuring out that my brother and I were probably not planning on building a Wall Mart or subdivision of some kind on the farm, she relented and said we would only have to mitigate 1:1, which was somewhat reasonable to me. I am taking pictures this weekend to send to her so we can get our permit.

8.) My guess is your level of work/effort getting through the Army corp will be porportional to how vigiliant this person is on following what can be interpreted as onerous rules. Also, if you look like a developer...watch out. Some of the Army Corp people are much more reticent on following the letter of the law..there is a lot of room for judgement in the guideline.

Hope this helps. I have some official documentation if you care to look at it sometime.

John

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That is a common occurrence. Find a natural resources attorney with experience in dealing with the COE.
















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This is just wrong

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They're not very popular around here right now. Lots of flooding and possible mismanagement of the dams. Personally, I don't think they're to blame.

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First I had bad luck, but then I had good luck. When I began planning my pond, I contacted the COE, but the position covering my county was vacant. So I called the guy for a neighboring county who with almost no information told me I "definitely need a permit". When I asked what the criteria was that determines when you need one and when you don't, he said he'd email me the regs. The regs were for a nationwide permit that addressed the construction of stormwater management facilities on commercial development sites. I did a word search of the document and words like "pond", "dam", "embankment", etc. were never used.

A month or so later the position covering my county was filled and I called that guy. After about one minute of quick questions, I was told there was a regional permit in place that allowed for private land owners to build small ponds. No special permit necessary. Doesn't matter if the purpose is recreational or agricultural. Under the regional permit I'm limited to 300' of streambed and 1/10th acre of wetlands. He made no site visit but asked if I'd send him an email when the project was completed so he'd have the option of making an inspection.

So anyway, it seems there can be a big difference in how regs are implemented from one county to the next and I'm lucky I don't live down the road a couple miles or I'd be dealing with the first guy.

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This is Gavins Point Dam on the border of NE and SD right now. Before this year, the record cubic feet per second coming through that dam was 70,000. It will be at 150K on the 14th. It's at 140K right now I believe, and when this picture was taken by a friend of mine yesterday. This is why people around here are not very happy with the Corps right now. We're expecting water like we've never seen before. We began filling sandbags here at my work yesterday in anticipation.



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WOW! Now that'll clean out the river bottom! How high are they expecting the water to be at work?


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Originally Posted By: esshup
WOW! Now that'll clean out the river bottom! How high are they expecting the water to be at work?


If the level breaches or fails, we'll be sitting in 2-4 feet of water here. They've evacuated small pockets of the community and are about to shut down my route to/from work this afternoon. It's absolutely crazy how much water is down here. Complete fields, roads, everything underwater.

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Omaha we are in a drought. In fact what is crazy part of the flooding areas are in a drought. One area flooded while neighbor downt the road have crops drying up.

Yes the frustrating part is COE you get a differnet answer depending on what office your dealing with. WOrking on a 12 acre lake design right now; got it permitted as "irrigation" and was told impossible if build as a pond just for fishing. They are showing checks written for plants etc. to make it legit. You tired that angle almwood since your a farmer?


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Originally Posted By: vamaz
. Under the regional permit I'm limited to 300' of streambed and 1/10th acre of wetlands.



You are correct that any pond that impacts less than 300 linear stream feet does not need mitigation. Mine impacted about 1100 feet since we covered two ditches. Bottom line we were told we had to pay about $500-$600 for every foot over 300 feet, or mitigate by blocking off other land.

I searched for a while for a lawyer to get some help, but did not find one. I probably did not look hard enough

Looking at the posts coming from Omaha, it looks to me like the COE may no longer know how to do its real job of managing the waters of the United States. Maybe its what we get for hiring environmentalists instead of civil engineers.

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My way home from work. Taken today.



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WOW!


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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at least the bridges are high and dry

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Another



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That picture brings up a good question. With that much flooding for that long of a time, over that large of an area, what happens to all the animals? Expecially the young ones?


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I would imagine they either don't make it or they relocate themselves to wherever they can find dry land...potentially the same land used by people.

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Wow......
My situation: I am still working on getting all the costs for the permits....... I should have some hard numbers by end of next week.

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I have an acquaintance here in SE Virginia that had a low lying marshy, wet area on his 25 acre property. He wanted to dig a pond, and thought that would be the ideal location. The water table around here is very high, often just a few inches below the surface, and many people have "water table only" ponds that stay pretty full all year.

He called the Army COE. They came out and looked at the site. They looked around and said that he could not build a pond, but they were going to take three acres of his property (including the marshy area) for a conservation easement. They gave him "market" price for the three acres. Now he has a three acre area in the middle of his property that is owned by the state. And no pond.....

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I wish I knew how to respond to that without getting myself moderated. It would be some pretty hard words.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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