Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Chapter 130. Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations
7/5/2020

4VAC25-130-816.97. Protection of Fish, Wildlife, and Related Environmental Values.

(a) The permittee shall, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available, minimize disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values and shall achieve enhancement of such resources where practicable.

(b) Endangered and threatened species. No surface mining activity shall be conducted which is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species listed by the United States Secretary of the Interior or which is likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitats of such species in violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 USC § 1531 et seq.). The operator shall promptly report to the division any State or Federally listed endangered or threatened species within the permit area of which the operator becomes aware. Upon notification, the division shall consult with appropriate State and Federal fish and wildlife agencies and, after consultation, shall identify whether, and under what conditions, the operator may proceed.

(c) Bald and golden eagles. No surface mining activity shall be conducted in a manner which would result in the unlawful taking of a bald or golden eagle, its nest, or any of its eggs. The permittee shall promptly report to the division any golden or bald eagle nest within the permit area of which the permittee becomes aware. Upon notification, the division shall consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and also, where appropriate, the State fish and wildlife agency and, after consultation, shall identify whether, and under what conditions, the permittee may proceed.

(d) Nothing in this chapter shall authorize the taking of an endangered or threatened species or a bald or golden eagle, its nest, or any of its eggs in violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, 16 USC § 1531 et seq., or the Bald Eagle Protection Act, as amended, 16 USC § 668 et seq.

(e) Each permittee shall, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available--

(1) Ensure that electric powerlines and other transmission facilities used for, or incidental to, surface mining activities on the permit area are designed and constructed to minimize electrocution hazards to raptors, except where the division determines that such requirements are unnecessary;

(2) Locate and operate haul and access roads so as to avoid or minimize impacts on important fish and wildlife species or other species protected by State or Federal law;

(3) Design fences, overland conveyors, and other potential barriers to permit passage for large mammals, except where the division determines that such requirements are unnecessary; and

(4) Fence, cover, or use other appropriate methods to exclude wildlife from ponds which contain hazardous concentrations of toxic-forming materials.

(f) Wetlands and habitats of unusually high value for fish and wildlife. The permittee shall avoid disturbances to, enhance where practicable, restore, or replace, wetlands, and riparian vegetation along rivers and streams and bordering ponds and lakes. Surface mining activities shall avoid disturbances to, enhance where practicable, or restore, habitats of unusually high value for fish and wildlife.

(g) Where fish and wildlife habitat is to be a postmining land use, the plant species to be used on reclaimed areas shall be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

(1) Their proven nutritional value for fish or wildlife.

(2) Their use as cover for fish or wildlife.

(3) Their ability to support and enhance fish or wildlife habitat after the release of performance bonds. The selected plants shall be grouped and distributed in a manner which optimizes edge effect, cover, and other benefits to fish and wildlife.

(h) Where cropland is to be the postmining land use, and where appropriate for wildlife- and crop-management practices, the permittee shall intersperse the fields with trees, hedges, or fence rows throughout the harvested area to break up large blocks of monoculture and to diversify habitat types for birds and other animals.

(i) Where residential, public service, or industrial uses are to be the postmining land use, and where consistent with the approved postmining land use, the permittee shall intersperse reclaimed lands with greenbelts utilizing species of grass, shrubs, and trees useful as food and cover for wildlife.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-230 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 816.97, eff. December 15, 1981; amended, eff. June 28, 1982; October 28, 1982; December 14, 1982; October 11, 1983; December 27, 1983; May 8, 1984; June 22, 1984; August 2, 1984; October 16, 1985; January 7, 1987; July 22, 1987; November 25, 1987; October 12, 1988; December 26, 1990; July 1, 1991; July 17, 1991; November 20, 1991; July 7, 1992; May 5, 1993; October 19, 1994.

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