US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2017-00574

Published Nov. 17, 2017
Expiration date: 12/18/2017
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

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

APPLICANT
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Langley Air Force Base (JBLE-Langley)
Colonel Caroline M. Miller, USAF Commander
125 Mabry Avenue
Langley AFB, Virginia 23665 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in Back River, at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to eliminate obstructions, abrupt grade changes, open ditches, and standing water within the maintained grassy areas in and near the Langley Air Force Base airfield Clear Zones. The purpose of the project is to assist in reducing the risk of loss of life and damage to military assets in the event of an aircraft mishap, to ensure consistency with the installations Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) plan, and to ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The project will be constructed in three independent phases. Phase I will result in permanent impacts to a total of 0.93 acres of tidal emergent wetlands, 17.92 acres of non-tidal emergent wetlands, 0.51 acres of tidal ditch, and 0.92 acres of non-tidal ditch.  Phase II will result in permanent impacts to a total of 1.46 acres of tidal emergent wetlands, 2.52 acres of non-tidal emergent wetlands, and 5.08 acres of tidal ditch. Phase III will result in permanent impacts to a total of 0.05 acres of tidal emergent wetlands, 12.72 acres of non-tidal emergent wetlands, 0.80 acres of tidal ditch, and 3.18 acres of non-tidal ditch.  These proposed impacts are depicted on the project drawings entitled “Study Wetlands for Permit Requirements,” dated August 2017 and date stamped as received by our office on September 8, 2017.   

As compensation for Phase I, the applicant proposes to purchase credits from an approved wetland mitigation bank servicing HUC 02080108 and/or the Virginia Aquatic Resource Trust Fund (VARTF). Mitigation for Phases II and III will be subject to the availability of mitigation credits from an approved mitigation bank at the time of construction.  If no credits are available for purchase from an approved wetland mitigation bank, the applicant will follow the joint EPA/USACE 2008 mitigation rule hierarchy and will be required to submit a mitigation plan to our office for review and approval prior to commencing the construction of each phase of the project. For Phase I, the applicant proposes to purchase 0.93 tidal wetland credits and 17.92 non-tidal wetland credits.  For Phase II, the applicant proposes to purchase 1.46 acres of tidal wetland credits and 2.52 acres of non-tidal wetland credits. For Phase III, the applicant proposes to purchase 0.05 acres of tidal wetland credits and 12.72 acres of non-tidal wetlands credits.   

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 Hampton 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. 

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, 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 not be adversely affected; (3) the project will not have a substantial adverse effect on essential fish habitat; and (4) known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places in or near the permit area will not be adversely affected.  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 December 18, 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

Nicole Woodward at 757-201-7122 or nicole.l.woodward@usace.army.mil.