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NAO-2017-01842/17-V1774

Posted: 6/21/2018

Expiration date: 7/6/2018


PUBLIC NOTICE

The District Commander has received a permit application for work described below:

APPLICANT

City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works-Engineering
C/o James White
Municipal Center, Building 2
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in Hurds Cove, a tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River, and would service properties located in the eastern portions of Little Haven, Quail Run and Bishopsgate neighborhoods as well as the western portion of Lynnhaven Acres neighborhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: This is the second public notice regarding this proposal. An initial public notice was issued in November 2017, however, due to modifications to the proposal, a new public notice is required. The changes involve the removal of three individual access channels and the addition of four new individual access channels. All previous comments we received in response to the first public notice have been incorporated into our record for consideration and unless you have additional comments you do not need to resubmit previous comments.   

The applicant proposes new mechanical dredging in Hurds Cove for navigation access. The proposed dredging consists of three channels. A City channel that is 450 feet long and 30 feet in width is proposed to be dredged to a maximum depth of -5.5 feet mean low water (MLW) and would connect to the existing channel in the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River. A main Special Service District (SSD) channel that is 3,007 feet long would run from the City channel to 6 access channels. The main SSD channel would be 25 feet in width and dredged to a maximum depth of -5.0 feet MLW for 2,245 feet then decrease to 15 feet in width and to a maximum depth of -3.5 feet for the last 762 feet. The six access channels and spur channels that tie into the access channels would be dredged to a width of 15 feet and to a maximum depth of -4.0 feet MLW.  A total of 9,408 feet of access and spur channels are proposed.  A total of 55 individual properties will tie into the dredged channel via driveway channels, with varying dredge dimensions.      

Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of material is proposed to be dredged from the proposed city channel, main SSD channel as well as access and spur channels. The volume of material removed from the 55 proposed individual driveways would be 12,500 cubic yards. The total cubic yards of dredged material has not changed.  

The dredging will directly impact, or indirectly impact due to slumping, 362,825 square feet of subaqueous bottom, 129,400 square feet of non-vegetated areas and directly, and indirectly due to potential slumping impact, 19,335 square feet of tidal vegetated wetlands. The applicant proposes to mitigate for non-vegetated wetland impacts and the tidal wetland impacts resulting from the dredging by purchasing tidal vegetated wetland credits from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, an approved mitigation bank servicing the watershed or the proposed Pleasure House Point Tidal Mitigation Bank, which is being reviewed by the Interagency Review Team, if approved at the time credits are needed. All vegetated wetland impacts will be mitigated at a 1:1 ratio while non-vegetated wetland impacts are proposed to be mitigated at 0.33:1.  

The dredged material will be trucked to the Whitehurst Dredge Material Management Area off Oceana Boulevard in Virginia Beach, VA for disposal.   

Twenty five new day markers will be installed on pilings at various locations along the channels also.  

The required number of homeowners have agreed to participate in the City of Virginia Beach Special Service District (SSD) program which helps carry out the neighborhood dredging projects. The project proposes a 16 year three stage dredging cycle with the first dredging cycle in year two (2) and maintenance dredging events taking place every seven years on year nine (9) and year sixteen (16); however, the Corps authorization can only be issued for a maximum of ten (10) years.  

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 Virginia Beach Wetlands Board. 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). 

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.  

Preliminary review indicates that:  (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) 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). Gills Cove and the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the juvenile and adult life stages of 17 species including red hake (Urophcis chuss), windowpane flounder (Scpthalmus aquosus), Atlantic sea herring (Clupea harengus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralichtys dentatus), scup (Stenotomus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), ciba (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus), sand tiger shark (Odontaspis taurus), Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizopriondon terraenovae), Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril). The habitat which this project would affect consists of water, mud flats, and tidal vegetated wetlands. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The proposed dredging will impact areas of shallow water, some vegetated wetlands in the buffer areas and mudflats (nonvegetated areas). Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our rationale for this preliminary determination is based on the expected short-term nature of the direct impacts, minimal increases in turbidity, minimal changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work, and the absence of submerged aquatic vegetation. 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 in writing and can be sent by either email to robert.a.berg@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 6, 2018.  

The attachments, drawings, and/or maps are best viewed on-line for this project at: http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.aspx   

If you do not have access to the web site, I will be glad to send copies of the drawings and maps at your request. Please send your request to: Army Corps Regulatory Branch, Attn: Robert Berg, 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.  

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 Robert Berg at (757) 201-7793 or by email at robert.a.berg@usace.army.mil

Eastern Branch Hurds Cove Lynnhaven River tributary Virginia Beach VA