Lake Murray buffers to be restored
Updated: Feb 8, 2022
For those who are unable to manipulate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's web-page, I have posted the 2007 Buffer and Riparian Zone Management Plan. Dominion Energy is starting the process of requiring back property owners to de-privatize and restore areas back to their natural state. If you have a buffer, become familiar with this document in order to design your own restoration plan and become compliant with the requirements before the Dominion inspection team arrives.
5.0 BUFFER ZONE RE-VEGETATION PLAN Occasionally, vegetation in buffer zones is disturbed beyond what is permitted in the guidelines. Regardless of whether a disturbance was man-made or natural, intentional or unintentional, it is the intent of the Licensee to implement this re-vegetation plan. The principle of the plan is to stabilize disturbed areas by planting forbs, grasses, shrubs and trees as needed, and to allow natural succession to continue. SCE&G has worked closely with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop guidelines for establishing and/or restoring effective vegetative buffer zones. The NRCS is a federal agency whose mission is to work with landowners assessing and treating natural resource concerns including establishing protective buffer zones on lands which border water bodies. According to the management protocol recommended by NRCS, riparian buffers occur in three distinct zones for management purposes. Zone I begins at the normal water line and extends upland a minimum distance of 15 feet measured horizontally, and vegetation should favor hardwood trees and shrubs. Zone II begins at the edge of Zone I and extends upland a minimum distance of 20 feet measured horizontally. This zone, which can be increased up to 120 feet in high sediment or nutrient producing areas, can include faster growing softwood trees, but should include at least 20% deciduous hardwoods or shrubs. Zone III would apply upland of Zone II, and consists of filter strips comprised of grasses, legumes and/or other forbs. This zone may be a component of a buffer zone where protection from excessive sediment or nutrients is needed. The NRCS has prepared "minimum guidelines" for re-vegetation of these Zones, and the Licensee intends to require landowners to conduct re-vegetation under these Guidelines, which appear as Attachment A. • Zone I (Riparian) - Lands below El 360 • Zone II (Buffer Zone)- Lands above El 360, beginning at the 360 and extending 75 feet inland, measured horizontally
• Zone III (Buffer Zone)- Lands above EL 360 beginning at a line 25 feet inland from the 360, measured horizontally, and extending to a line 75 feet inland measured horizontally at all points above the 360. Landowners found to have violated the buffer zone requirements or landowners adjacent to buffers that have been significantly affected by natural conditions (storm, pestilence, fire, etc.) must submit a re-vegetation plan to SCE&G within 30 days of being notified by SCE&G of the violation or "natural" conditions warranting mitigation. If the buffer has been significantly affected by natural conditions, then SCE&G will work with the landowner to restore vegetation in the buffer zone. SCE&G's Lake and Land Management Department will review the final plan for adequacy and completeness and provide the landowner with a request for modifications and/or approval within 30 days of receipt of the plan. If the plan requires modification, the landowner may be given no more than fifteen business days following SCE&G's modification request to make the modifications and re-submit a conforming plan. Under no circumstances may more than a total of 50 days for violations or 90 days for natural condition mitigation from the date of SCE&G's notification to the landowner pass until an approved plan must be received by SCE&G. SCE&G reserves the right to require more than the minimum re-vegetation requirements should it determine that additional vegetation is needed ,based on site characteristics or extenuating circumstances. The nature of the violation or the response of the landowner are two such extenuating circumstances that will be considered. The landowner must comply with these changes or risk penalties. Once a re-vegetation plan has been approved, the landowner must implement the plan during the next planting season. SCE&G defines the planting season to be from November to February. Should the landowner not implement the plan within the specified time frame, the plan will become null and void and the landowner will be found in violation and subject to penalties.
6.0 PENALTIES In most cases, SCE&G is able to work with the landowner to resolve areas of nonconformance, particularly if the buffer zone modificationis a result of naturalcauses. SCE&G reserves the right to require additional plantings that go beyond the guidelines in Attachment A. Landowners found in violation of the 75-foot buffer zone management restrictions or management restrictions below El. 360, as a result of the removal of vegetation, encroachment into the buffer zone, or un-permitted changes to property contours, may be subject to any or all of the following: a) Repeat violations by landowners may result in the permanent cancellation of their dock permit and loss of lake access. b) Revocation of existing shoreline dock and/or ramp permits for a period ofno less than five years. c) Denial of any future permits and denial of access across SCE&G's property to the lake, perhaps even in the form of positive barriers. d) Requirements that the landowner submits a re-vegetation plan for approval to SCE&G and complete replanting during the next growing season. A re-vegetation plan must, at a minimum, comply with guidelines set forth in Attachment A. e) SCE&G reserves the right to take legal action to require re-vegetation of the affected areas, seek damages, and seek its administrative and legal costs for doing so. f) Removal of marketable timber within the buffer zone by the landowner will require, at a minimum, payment equal to triple stumpage, subject to valuation by SCE&G's Land Department. g) Reimbursement of costs, in cases where SCE&G finds it necessary, to actively restore affected buffer zones because landowners either have not timely submitted a re vegetation plan, or the conditions are such as in the opinion of SCE&G to require immediate attention to prevent serious shoreline problems. ATTACHMENT A 75-FOOT BUFFER ZONE GOALS AND CRITERIAFOR RE-VEGETATION OF DISTURBED AREAS
BUFFER ZONE GOALSAND MINIMUM CRITERIAFOR RE-VEGETATION OF DISTURBED AREAS FERC PROJECT NO. 516 LAKE MURRAY- SCE&G MINIMUM BUFFER ZONE AND SHORELINE VEGETATION 1. Improvement Goals and Recommendations Implementation of the management goals below is recommended to enhance vegetated buffers, thereby improving biodiversity, providing erosion protection, adding or maintaining filtering capacity, and protecting the aesthetics of a "natural" shoreline. The vegetated buffer will be managed as three zones with the desired vegetative mix for each zone based on the inherent properties of the zone and the ecological function of that zone and of the buffer in total. These zones include Zone I (vegetated perimeter below the 360 elevation), Zone II (0 feet to 25 feet beginning at the 360 elevation inland),and Zone III (>25 feet to 75 feet). The table in Section 3 provides recommendations for adapted species for each zone. a) Zone I: If the slope is as flat as 2 to 1 or flatter, an understory cover consisting of grasses, forbs, and shrubs with a height of at least 6 inches or duff or natural mulch at least 4 inches thick will be established or encouraged to develop over at least 75% of this zone for the stability of the shoreline. All shrubs, grasses and forbs used to meet the understory requirement shall be native species. Absolutely no removal of trees and shrubs other than dead specimens is permitted in this zone. Unless an exception is granted by SCE&G, any tree removed in this zone must be replaced. Replacement trees shall be at least 6 feet in height (measured from the first sign of bark exiting the soil to the top of the tree). If the slope of this zone is steeper than 2 to 1 and the shoreline is unstable, South Carolina Electric & Gas will provideguidance on acceptable measures that may be used to stabilizethe shoreline.
b) Zone II: At least 50% of Zone II shall have an understory cover consisting of grasses, forbs, and shrubs with a height of at least 6 inches or a layer of duff or mulch of natural materials at least 4 inches in thickness. All shrubs, grasses and forbs used to meet the understory requirement shall be native species. Absolutely no removal of trees other than dead or diseased specimens is permitted in this zone should occur in this Zone. Removed trees should be replaced as needed to meet the spacing limitation. Replacement trees should be at least 6 feet in height above the ground.
c) Zone III: An understory primarily consisting of herbaceous species is suggested for this zone to provide for immediate filtering of sediment, nutrients, and other potential pollutants from developed upland areas above the lake. Traditional lawn species, vines and shrubs are accepted and permitted in the upper 25 ft. of this zone, i.e. >50 ft to 75 ft. can be planted with grass but will be managed naturally without application of nutrients or pesticides, and except as specified below, it may not be cleared or "improved" to create conditions favorable for such traditional lawn species. Selective thinning may be allowed in this zone to remove undesirable or dead trees and shrubs. Dead or undesirable trees, which are removed, shall be replanted. Replacement trees should be at least 6 feet in height above the ground. 2. Minimum Criteria for Re-vegetation of Disturbed Areas The following guidelines shall be adhered to as minimum criteria for application in the restoration of disturbed buffers along the shoreline perimeter of Lake Murray: The area beginning at the 360 feet elevation (the "360") and continuing inland to the limits of the 75 ft shoreline buffer zone shall be maintained as a vegetated buffer. No removal ofESA targeted vegetation (willow, buttonbush etc.) whatsoever may occur. This entire area shall be inclusive of buffer vegetative management Zone II and Zone III. a) In addition to the requirements for zones II and III, if the slope of Zone I is as flat as 2 to 1 or flatter, the guidelines in Section 2 will be applied to facilitate the establishment/development of satisfactory vegetative cover. b) The spacing between any two trees shall not exceed 25 feet. In addition, the spacing between the 360 feet elevation and a tree shall not exceed 25 ft. c) If the spacing does not meet the minimum requirements cited above, specimens of approved tree species shall be planted as needed for compliance. Dead trees or trees weakened by disease, insects, natural events, etc. may be selectively cut. However, cut trees must be replaced, regardless of their spacing, to meet these spacing requirements. Existing pines may be credited towards meeting the spacing requirements. However, pines are not included in the list of acceptable replacements because of the frequency of mortality due to pest and climatic problems. d) If a significant understory was present prior to disturbance in Zone 1 re-vegetation shall be planted to have an understory cover consisting of grasses, forbs, and shrubs with a height of at least 6 inches covering no less than 75 % area in Zone 1. e) If a significant understory was present prior to disturbance in Zone 2 re-vegetation shall planted to have an understory cover consisting of grasses, forbs, and shrubs with a height of at least 6 inches covering no less than 50 % area in Zone 2 and a layer of duff or mulch of natural materials at least 4 inches thick. f) In addition, in order to meet this requirement, the understory cover in both Zones 1 and Zone 2 shall be in a mosaic or linear arrangement that extends across at least 80% of the length of the buffer. g) The impacted area shall be replaced with a layer of duff or mulch of natural materials at least 4 inches think. The leaves from the leaf drop of the trees must be left on the surface to provide ground cover and filtering. Dead limbs on the surface in the buffer zone may be removed. h) All replanted trees must be of a height between 6 to 8 feet above the ground (measure from the first sign of exposed bark exiting the soil to the top of the tree). i) No pesticides or nutrients are to be applied within the buffer without written approval from SCE&G. 3. Recommended Species for Planting in the Vegetated Buffer ZONE I - RECOMMENDED SPECIES Trees Shrubs Grass Forbs
(Perimeter below 360 feet elevation)Black Willow* Cottonwood* Cypress, Bald*Cypress, Pond Green Ash* River Birch* Swamp Tupelo Willow Oak* Water Oak*Buttonbush* Silky Dogwood* Swamp Azalea Wax Myrtle* Alder Maiden cane Switchgrass (Alamo)* Bushy Bluestem Switch cane Hibiscus Waterwillow
ZONE II RECOMMENDED SPECIES Trees Shrubs Grass & Forbs (0 to 25 feet in perimeter above the 360 feetelevation)
American Elm* Bitter-nut Hickory Crabapple* Dogwood* Eastern Redbud* Eastern Redcedar* Green Ash* Hackberry/Sugarberry Laurel Oak* Paw Paw Persimmon* Red Maple* Red Mulberry Sweetgum Sycamore* Water Oak* White Ash* Willow Oak* Yellow Poplar*American Strawberry Bush American Beautyberry* American Holly* Carolina Rose Native Azaleas Wax Myrtle*Big Bluestem* Broornsedge Eastern Gamagrass* Little Bluestem* Indian grass* Purple top Switchgrass* Illinois Bundleflower* Partridge Pea* Purple Coneflower*Zone III (>25 to 75 feet in perimeter above the 360 feet elevation)American Elm* Bitter-nut Hickory Crabapple* Dogwood* Eastern Redbud* Eastern Red Cedar* Green Ash* Hackberry/Sugarberry Laurel Oak* Paw Paw Persimmon* Red Maple* Red Mulberry Sweetgum Sycamore* Water Oak* White Ash* Willow Oak* Yellow Poplar*American Strawberry Bush American Beautyberry* American Holly* Carolina Rose Native Azaleas Wax Myrtle*Big Bluestem* Broom sedge Eastern Gama grass* Little Bluestem* Indiangrass* Purpletop Switchgrass* Illinois Bundleflower* Partridge Pea* Purple Coneflower* The tree, shrub and herbaceous plants listed include only native species which are adapted for the location and use and which are commercially available. Species which typically are the most readily available are indicated by an"*". Note that the native botanical community may include other acceptable species that typically are not commercially available.
Document Accession #: 20060131-5001 Filed Date: 01/31/2006