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NAO-2016-00734/18-V0012

Posted: 5/23/2018

Expiration date: 6/21/2018


May 23, 2018
CENAO-WRR

NAO-2016-00734/18-V0012

 

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

APPLICANT
Alpha Omega Farm Inc. et al

Attn: Mr. Bart Frye
300 W. Freemason Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in a man-made tributary to West Neck Creek, a tributary to the North Landing River at 2585 West Landing Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to mechanically dredge approximately 3,633 cubic yards of material to maintain an existing channel out to West Neck Creek. The dredging will impact 0.98 acres (42,744 square feet) of subaqueous land, 0.1 acres (4,635 square feet) of vegetated emergent wetlands within the 2x and 4x buffer, and 0.01 acres (362 square feet) of forested wetlands at the unloading area.  The project would also temporarily impact forested wetlands within the dredge spoil transfer area; however, timber mats will be placed within this area to minimize impacts and all impacts from the use of the logging mats for spoils transfer from the transfer site to the spoils pit will be restored to pre-existing conditions.

The applicant is proposing to dredge a man-made channel that connects to a natural waterway. The applicant modified the location of the dredge spoil placement area to avoid forested wetland impacts.  The applicant also reduced the forested wetland impacts by adjusting the spoil unloading area. The temporary wetland impacts between the off-loading area and the spoil area will be restored.  As compensatory mitigation, the applicant proposes to compensate for impacts to the 0.1 acres of vegetated, emergent wetlands and 0.01 acres of forested wetlands through the purchase of 0.5 credits from the Davis Wetlands Bank, which is an established mitigation within the watershed.  Approximately four cypress trees within the buffer may be impacted by the dredging. The applicant has proposed to compensate for the potential tree impacts by planting cypress trees onsite at a 2:1 ratio.                  

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit/401 certification from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  Project drawings are attached.

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 issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity 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 the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All of the proposal's 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 activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. 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 Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.

Preliminary review indicates that: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, we have determined there may be an effect to listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal. Additional information might change any of these findings. 

For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). We have not received a certification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review for concurrence or objection and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert.  For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: bettina.sullivan@deq.virginia.gov or john.fisher@deq.virginia.gov.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). West Creek does not contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it will not have any effect on EFH and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our rationale for this preliminary determination is based on mapping showing that EFH is not found in this waterway. Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on June 21, 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 about this project or the permit process, please contact Melissa Nash by email at melissa.a.nash@usace.army.mil or at (757) 201-7489. 

Attachment: Drawings

Alpha Omega Farm permits regulatory Virginia Beach VA West Neck Creek wetlands