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NAO-2017-01821

Posted: 6/12/2018

Expiration date: 7/12/2018


FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

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

APPLICANT
Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE- Langley)
Sean K. Tyler, Colonel, Commander United States Air Force
125 Mabry Avenue
Langley Air Force Base, Virginia 23655-2107 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The maintenance dredging project is located in the Back River, from the Langley Air Force Base Fuel Pier to the confluence of the Back River and the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia. The Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 miles east of Cape Henry and is approximately 50 square miles in size. The NODS was designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a dredged material placement site on July 2, 1993. This site is intended for the placement of suitable dredged material from the Inner Harbor channels within Norfolk Harbor and other lower Chesapeake Bay dredged materials.  

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to maintenance dredge the Back River Navigation Channel in Hampton, Virginia. The project involves maintenance dredging approximately 2,346,240 square feet of subaqueous bottom to a maximum depth of – 15 feet mean low water, including overdredge. Each maintenance dredging event will mechanically dredge approximately 205,000 cubic yards of material. The dredge material will be transported via bottom dump scow to be disposed of in the Norfolk Ocean Disposal site.  

This public notice is being issued for the planned transport and disposal of dredged material at the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site that will result from the proposed dredging of the Back River Navigation Channel. Dredged material from the project site that meets Section 103 evaluation criteria is being proposed for placement at the NODS. Dredged materials proposed for transport for the purpose of discharge in ocean waters must be evaluated and permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) in accordance with parts 225 and 227 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), and processed in accordance with 33 CFR 324. The applicant is seeking concurrence from the Corps and EPA that dredged material may be transported to and disposed of at NODS if a permit is issued for the dredging activities.

Approximately 205,000 cubic yards of dredged material from this project is proposed for transport and placement at the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS). The anticipated project duration is approximately 150 to 180 days. The NODS is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 miles east of Cape Henry. The center point coordinate of the NODS is latitude 36°59’00” North and longitude 75°39’00” West. The site is circular with a radius of 4 nautical miles and has an area of approximately 50 square nautical miles. The NODS has been formerly designated for the placement of suitable dredged materials in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 228.1 by the EPA Administrator pursuant to section 102(c) of the MPRSA.  

The NODS has previously been used by the U.S. Navy in August 1993. Approximately 51,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Naval Supply Center Cheatham Annex and 475,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown were placed at the site.  During the period of October 2013 to October 2014 the VDOT-Midtown Tunnel Project placed 1,121,642 cubic yards of dredged material at the NODS. Additionally, approximately 128,266 cubic yards of dredged material was placed at the NODS from Skiffes Creek Channel. Since 2009, additional projects have received authorization to place dredged material at the NODS including the Craney Island Eastward Expansion (CIEE) (24.5 million cubic yards), Norfolk Inner Harbor Channel 50-feet element (1 million cubic yards), Baltimore Harbor Upper Bay Approach Channels, Joint Base Langley Eustis – Fuel Pier Replacement Project, the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station (65,000 cubic yards), and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel Project (1.7 million cubic yards). There have been no documented effects from the authorized discharges that have been made in the placement area.  

Sediments proposed for maintenance and new work dredging to provide safe navigation for vessels utilizing the channel consists primarily of alluvium material. Grain size of the dredged material is predominantly silt and clay material with a small fraction of embedded sands. The dredged material proposed for placement at NODS does not meet the testing exclusionary criteria set forth under 40 CFR 227.13(b). Subsequent dredged material testing detected the presence of ammonia, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated pesticides. Dredged material was tested for liquid phase, suspended particulate phase, and solid phases using criteria and procedures developed by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with 40 CFR 220-228. Evaluation of the liquid phase has determined the material complies with the Limiting Permissible Concentration (LPC) and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(1) and 227.27(a)(1). Evaluation of the liquid and suspended particulate phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(2) and 227.27(b).  Evaluation of the solid phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(3), 227.6(c)(3) and 227.27(b). Accordingly, the proposed dredged material from the Back River Channel meets the Ocean Disposal Criteria (40 CFR 227).  

Maps of the project location and NODS are attached.  

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 and a permit from the local Wetlands Board.   

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, as amended (33 USC § 1413).  

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 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.  

The United States Air Force (USAF) is funding the project and therefore has been designated by the Corps as the lead Federal agency to fulfill the collective Federal responsibilities under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (PL 89-665), and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (PL 104-267). The USAF has preliminarily determined that: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting informal consultations with the NOAA Protected Resources Division, it was determined that listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended) will not be adversely affected. Based on this not likely to adversely affect determination, no further coordination with the NOAA is required; 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   

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to nicole.l.woodward@usace.army.mil or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on July 12, 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, contact Nicole Woodward at 757-201-7122 or nicole.l.woodward@usace.army.mil

 

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