NAO-2010-0404/ VMRC#17-V1047

Published July 10, 2017
Expiration date: 8/11/2017

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

Virginia Port Authority
c/o: Jeff Fisher 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the Elizabeth River, a tributary to Hampton Roads, at the Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) facility. The street address for NIT is 7737 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA; the approximate location of the dredging includes the navigation access channels and the berthing areas at Norfolk International Terminals. 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: This application is for new work and continued maintenance dredging at the Virginia Port Authority's facility known as the Norfolk.

International Terminals (NIT). The maximum proposed dredging depth of -37 feet is associated with the areas surrounding Pier 3, the berthing areas by Piers 1 & 2 and the Roll on/Roll off berthing area. The maximum proposed dredging depth of -57 feet is associated with the North and South Container Terminals. These areas are depicted on the attached drawings. All depths are based on MLLW.  New work dredging is required to deepen the berths at Pier 3 and at the North and South Container Terminals.  The estimated new work volume is 4,300,000 cubic yards and is within the original dredging footprint. The estimated maintenance volume would be 250,000 cubic yards/year for the next 10 years. The area to be dredged encompasses 290 acres of subaqueous bottom as shown on the attached drawings. The dredged material will be either mechanically dredged and transported in sealed barges to the Craney Island Rehandling Basin (CIRB) for disposal or hydraulically pumped directly to the upland cells at the Craney Island DMMA. The estimated dredging volume over the next ten years is approximately 6,800,000 cubic yards. The new work and periodic maintenance dredging is required to provide safe navigation for larger vessels calling at the terminal. 

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 Norfolk 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), 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, no 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 be adversely affected. 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 is attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Protected Resources Division; 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:

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: or  

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). The Elizabeth River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for several life stages of twelve species including windowpane flounder, bluefish, Atlantic butterfish, summer flounder, black sea bass, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, red drum, dusky shark, sandbar shark, and Atlantic angel shark. The habitat which this project would affect consists of deep water subaqueous bottom which has been periodically maintenance dredged. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The Essential Fish Habitat may be impacted by temporary increases in turbidity due to dredging and also by the removal of benthic species within the dredge footprint. The turbidity should gradually improve after each dredging event is completed, and the benthic community may become re-established several months after each dredge cycle. 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 caused by the proposed work and the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation and anadromous fish spawning habitat. 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 or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R, George Janek), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on August 11, 2017. 

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

Brian Denson at or by phone at (757) 201-7792.