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CENAO-WRR

Posted: 2/26/2018

Expiration date: 3/28/2018


FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

Proposed Reissuance and/or ModificationS of the Norfolk District Regional (general) Permits

The Norfolk District Regulatory Branch is proposing to reissue the following Regional Permits (RP): RP-02, RP-15, RP-17, RP-18, RP-19, and RP-22.  The Norfolk District issues Regional Permits for a category of activities in Virginia that would result in minimal environmental impacts and are not contrary to the public interest.  In addition, RPs can improve regulatory consistency, enhance program efficiency, avoid duplication with other agencies, and simplify the permitting process for the regulated public. All of the above-referenced permits are currently in effect, but will expire on August 14, 2018 with the exception of RP-15, which expires on August 15, 2018. These current permits are available at:

http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/RBregional.aspx.   

The following is a brief summary of each permit:  

  • RP-02 – for both new and maintenance dredging (channels and basins) for certain navigationally-related recreational and commercial dredging projects, by either mechanical or hydraulic method, in waters of the United States;

  • RP-15 – the maintenance of existing drainage ditches originally constructed in and previously authorized in navigable waters and waters of the United States for either mosquito control purposes or to maintain drainage from upland areas for the purposes of storm water management;

  • RP-17 – the installation of open-pile piers, mooring piles, certain covered boat houses/lifts, osprey poles/ platforms, and devices associated with shellfish gardening, for private use;

  • RP-18 – the installation of open-pile piers, mooring piles, mooring dolphins, fender piles, mooring camels, covered boathouses, boatlifts, osprey pilings/platforms, and devices associated with shellfish gardening, for private, commercial, community, and government use;

  • RP-19 – construction and/or installation of living shoreline projects, low breakwaters, bulkheads, riprap, groins, jetties, spurs and/or baffles, associated beach nourishment, boat ramps, and aquaculture/mariculture activities;

  • RP-22 – certain activities within the Virginia portion of Lake Gaston including:  construction of piers, boat docks, boat ramps and boathouses; excavation of boat slips and channels; construction and backfilling of bulkheads and placement of riprap; and installation of submerged and aerial power lines and utility lines. The Norfolk District is not proposing to reissue Regional Permit (RP)-01. RP-01 authorizes certain Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) projects when the VDOT is the applicant.  When considering the reissuance of Regional Permits, the District must evaluate the frequency of which the Permit is verified, as well as its continued relevancy and impact on program efficiency. 

  • For RP-01, the Norfolk District verified the use of the permit so infrequently (twice) during the period of August 15, 2013 to the date of this Notice, that the District determines that reissuance of this permit, at this time, would not result in improved regulatory efficiency. 

The Norfolk District proposes to reissue RP-02, RP-15, RP-17, RP-18, RP-19 and RP-22 for five (5) years. The proposed permits and conditions in their entirety are included with this Notice; however, a brief summary of proposed changes are listed below: 

General Conditions 

The District proposes to modify the General Conditions, applicable to each of the Regional Permits listed below, for consistency with the General Conditions of the 2017 Nationwide Permits as well as the District Regional Conditions for the 2017 Nationwide Permits.   

Regional Permit-02 (18-RP-02) 

  1. Part I. AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES:   

    1. Updated the language to include its use in all waters of the U.S.

    2. For new dredging in navigable waters, the minimum channel bottom width of 20 feet may be reduced in those cases where safe navigation would not be comprised with a narrower channel.  This reduction now requires a waiver from the District Engineer.

    3. Updated language to reflect that this RP cannot be used for the dredging of coral reefs.

    4. This permit authorizes, to the extent that a section 404 permit is required, the associated discharges of dredged material into non-tidal waters of the United States. The combined amount of navigation related dredge/excavated material and associated discharge of dredge material in wetlands or waters of the United States, cannot exceed 5,000 cubic yards, nor can the area of dredge/excavation exceed a surface area of two (2) acres. 

  1. Part V. SPECIAL CONDITIONS: 

    1. Language updated to “permit verification”.

    2. Updated language to reflect that any use of dredged material for beach nourishment would require a separate Department of the Army authorization.

    3. Updated Craney Island contact information. 

      Regional Permit-15 (18-RP-15)  

      Only minor changes relative to grammar and formatting.  

      Regional Permit-17 (18-RP-17) 

  1. Added notification requirement #9.

  2. Updated the following RP-17 Certificate of Compliance checklist questions:

    1. Are all piles non-steel and ≤12” in diameter, and will ≤ 25 piles be installed below MHW?

    2. All work will occur behind cofferdams, turbidity curtains, or other methods to control turbidity will be utilized when operationally feasible.

    3. Have you confirmed that the proposed project will NOT occur in areas that contain submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV)?  See Notification Requirement #2 for direction.

    4. Have you determined whether the proposed project will take place in an anadromous fish use area?  If the proposed project will take place in an anadromous fish use area, will you adhere to the anadromous fish use area TOYR preventing in-water work from February 15 to June 30 of any given year?  See Notification Requirement #3 for direction.

      Regional Permit-18 (18-RP-18) 

Only minor changes relative to grammar and formatting. 

           Regional Permit-19 (18-RP-19) 

  1. State and Local Approvals:

    1. The requirement for an accompanying Local Wetlands Board or Virginia Marine Resources Commission regulatory action has been removed.

    2. Procedures associated with this requirement are also removed.

  2. Living Shoreline Group 1 – This project type has been expanded to explicitly include associated beach nourishment activities and the use of woven containment bags.

  3. Living Shoreline Group 2 –

    1. This project type has been expanded to explicitly include associated beach nourishment activities. 

    2. The requirement for sill structures to be detached from the adjacent upland has been removed.

    3. The restriction stating that this project type may not be solely for recreational activities has been removed.

  4. Low breakwaters and associated sandy fill material - The restriction stating that this project type may not be solely for recreational activities has been removed.

  5. Bulkheads, riprap, and associated backfill and/or excavation, including bulkhead repair and/or replacement –

    1. The addition of an option for the District Engineer to waive certain criterion provided the project will result in minimal adverse effects has been added to this project type.

    2. Language has been added to clarify qualifying conditions for using this regional permit for the repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of previously authorized, currently serviceable bulkheads.

  6.       Groins, jetties, spurs and/or baffles and associated sandy fill material – The addition of an option for the District Engineer to waive certain criterion provided the project will result in minimal adverse effects has been added to this project type.

  7. Aquaculture or mariculture activities –

    1. The addition of an option for the District Engineer to waive certain criterion provided the project will result in minimal adverse effects has been added to this project type.

    2. Crab pound location restrictions at Tangier Island have been removed.

       Regional Permit-22 (18-RP-22) 

  1. Updated to authorized activities to reflect the language of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District Regional General Permit Number 198200030, which authorizes activities in reservoirs owned and operated by public utility companies, including Lake Gaston.

     

  2. Updated pre-construction notification requirements, including the requirement for Corps written approval prior to construction for any proposed construction of more than ten (10) boat slips, construction of boat ramps exceeding twenty (20) feet in width, any excavation or dredging activities greater than one-tenth (1/10) acre occurring in a previously un-dredged area of open water, or the installation of fueling facilities on authorized structures.

  3. Updated Norfolk District web links and added the U.S. Coast Guard web link. 

    AUTHORITY:  Permits are required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

    FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision whether to approve the proposed modifications and re-issue the above mentioned RPs will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activities on the public interest. The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected from by extending and/or modifying the RPs must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All relevant factors will be considered including: conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use classification, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).  

    The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed reissuance and/or modification of the RPs. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny these RPs. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Engineer within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The District Engineer will then decide if a hearing should be held.

    Preliminary review indicates that: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) no activity will be authorized by these permits that will jeopardize the continued existence of a threatened or endangered species or a species proposed for such designation, as identified under the Federal Endangered Species Act, or will destroy or adversely modify the critical habitat of such species. Projects which have an effect on any species of fish, wildlife or plant (or critical habitat) which is designated or proposed as endangered or threatened pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P. L. 93-305) will not qualify for these permits until the required procedures have been followed; and (3) known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places located in or near the permit area, or that would likely be affected by the proposal will be properly coordinated with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources pursuant to the provisions of 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), as amended, 16 U.S.C. 470f, and 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C, Processing of Department of the Army Permits. Additional information might change any of these findings.  For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, the Corps must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal zone (Tidewater) will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Resources Management Program (VCP). The Norfolk District will apply for Coastal Zone Management Act consistency via a separate request.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 1 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). Some of Virginia's waterways contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the egg, larvae, juvenile, and adult life stages for a variety of species. An EFH Assessment for each applicable RP will be provided to NOAA under separate cover for consultation. Any required permit conditions will be added as deemed necessary based upon the conclusion of the consultation.

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be made in writing, either via U.S. Mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch (ATTN: CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, or via email to CENAO.REG_ROD@usace.army.mil and should be received by the close of business on March 28, 2018.  

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY:  Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.  

If you have any questions regarding this public notice you may contact Ms. Jennifer Serafin Frye via telephone at 540-344-1498 or via email at jennifer.s.frye@usace.army.mil or Mr. Tucker Smith at 757-201-7653 or via email at tucker.smith@usace.army.mil.  

ditches dredging Lake Gaston Living Shorelines maintenance piers pilings regional permit