NAO-2016-1202(DMMA) NAO-2008-01451 (Maintenance Dredging)

Published Jan. 22, 2018
Expiration date: 2/21/2018

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

Dominion Electric and Power Company 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the James River at the Surry Nuclear Power Station and in Lawnes Creek at the Dredged Material Management Site in Surry County, Virginia.  Vicinity maps are attached. 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: Dominion proposes to perform maintenance dredging within an existing intake channel in the James River at the Surry Nuclear Power Station. Approximately 150,000 cubic yards of material is proposed to be hydraulically dredged to a depth of -12 feet (MLLW) within a 2,000 foot long by 150-foot wide channel. The dredged material will be placed at a new 54-acre upland Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA) located approximately 4 miles south of the power station off Hog Island Road. The new DMMA will have a final capacity for approximately 1,500,000 cubic yards of dredged material. Dredged material from the intake channel will be transported to the DMMA via a temporary dredge pipe submerged in Lawnes Creek.  The temporary pipe will be made of flexible High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) material and sized from 22 to 30-inch diameter. The pipe will run from the intake channel to the DMMA site for approximately 4.0 miles (21,120 feet). The pipe will be anchored to the bottom of Lawnes Creek as close to the center of the channel as possible to ensure clearance for watercrafts and will be marked with bouts to identity its location. The pipe, anchors and buoys will typically be in place for less than a month during each dredging cycle and will be removed when the dredging is complete. The DMMA will also require a dredged return water pipeline which will be used during active dredging.  There will be no fill in wetlands or streams for the project (both the dredging and the work associated with the DMMA), and no wetland mitigation is proposed. However, approximately 4,200 square feet (0.096 acres) of forested wetlands will be cleared (not grubbed) for the above ground installation of the DMMA return water pipeline.  

Project Purpose and Need: The Surry Power Station requires an adequate circulating water supply for electrical power generation equipment cooling.  This cooling water is pumped from the James River via a circulating water intake channel and intake structure. The station also maintains adequate water depth in an approximately 1,800-foot long dredge channel as a means of transporting fuel casks and large equipment to the station via barge transport. The channel was initially dredged in the early 1970’s as part of the construction of the power station and has been maintenance dredged on a routine, as needed basis.  The channel is typically dredged every three to five years with dredged volumes ranging from 65,000 to 150,000 cubic yards per dredge cycle, and was last dredging in December 2016-January 2017. Dredged materials have historically been stored in an existing pond at the facility adjacent to the intake structure.  Geotechnical studies on the pond conducted in 2016 determined that the existing pond is reaching its full capacity. Therefore, Dominion must construct a new pond for future dredging activities. 

Alternatives: Dominion considered several alternative sites that were close to the station and were on the market to build a DMMA. The sites were evaluated for the following criteria:

  1. Acreage

  2. Proximity to the dredging site

  3. Accessibility from the road

  4. Accessibility from the dredge site, and

  5. Impacts to resources (wetlands, stream, tree clearing, etc.)

The site located at 1652 Hog Island Road fit the search criteria. It is a 400-acre site with a combination of forested and non-forested acreage.  It is located approximately four (4) miles south of the Surry Power Station between Hog Island Road and Lawnes Creek where a temporary pipe can be installed during dredging to sluice the dredge material to the pond. When compared to other parcels, tree clearing, and wetlands and stream impacts will be minimal at this site.

During the design phase, the Dredge Material Management Area (DMMA), its associated access roads, discharge pipe and outfall locations were arranged on the property in a manner to minimize wetland impacts to the maximum extent possible.  

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit/401 certification or waiver 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 for the work in waters and wetlands are required pursuant to Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia. The Corps must comply with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (54 U.S.C. § 306108), 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C, Processing of Department of the Army Permits.  

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, 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 (3) properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, and will adversely affected by the proposal. Additional information on Section 106 consultation is listed below. 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 James River and Lawnes Creek contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the for the egg, larvae, juvenile, and/or adult life stages of eleven species including; windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralicthys dentatus), black sea bass (Centropristus striata), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops occelatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus) and sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus). The habitat which this project would affect consists of tidal waters. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. Impacts to EFH as a result of the project should be minor and temporary. Impacts will result from temporary turbidity created during the dredging from the dredging equipment and pipelines used for transport of dredged material and discharge pipe. 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,   absence of impacts to tidal wetlands, and the lack of the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation. The applicant proposes no dredging between February 15 and June 30, of any year, in order to minimize impacts on EFH, anadromous fish and federally managed species.  Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary. 

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA): In compliance with regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Norfolk District is soliciting comments on the proposed project from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American Tribes; and other interested parties. This public notice provides an opportunity for members of the public to express their views on the undertaking’s effects on historic properties and resolution of adverse effects. Comments are requested to assist in evaluation of the effects of the project on historic properties and evaluation of alternatives or modifications which could avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects on historic properties. 

Historic Property Identification:

Regarding the maintenance dredging area at the Surry Power Station, historic properties identified within or adjacent to the project site include the eligible Historic District  “Captain John Smith Trail Historic District” which is within the project area and 090-0121, “Hog Island Wildlife Management Area” is located to the north of the project site. A previous permit issued for the maintenance dredging determined there would be no adverse effect on these historic properties from the maintenance dredging. The Virginia SHPO, Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) concurred with the no adverse effect determination in June, 2016.  

DMMA: Extensive archeological surveys have been conducted within and around the DMMA permit area. The James River Institute for Archaeology, Inc. (JRIA) completed a Phase I cultural resources survey of an area of approximately 85 acres, comprising the limits of disturbance for the proposed DMMA. JRIA also completed a Phase I archaeological survey of the proposed effluent pipeline corridor for the DMMA, encompassing the limits of disturbance for the pipeline which measure approximately 2,700 feet long by 40 feet wide, encompassing an area of 2.48 acres. Finally, JRIA completed Phase II archaeological investigations of the six archaeological sites which had been determined to be potentially National Register eligible, including 44SY0274, 44SY0275, 44SY0276, 44SY0277, 44SY0278, and 44SY0280. The archeological sites at DMMA property were found to represent a continuum of historic occupation from the earliest period of Surry County settlement in the mid-seventeenth century through the late twentieth century.  The Corps and DHR concurred with JRIA’s recommendations that four of the six sites (44SY0274, 44SY0276, 44SY0277, and 44SY0278) should be considered National Register eligible under Criterion D, while the remaining two sites (44SY0275 and 44SY0280) are not eligible.   

Regarding architectural properties, a viewshed analysis to assess the potential effects of the project on a nearby historic property, the ca. 1800 Hollemon House, also known as Ellerslie (DHR ID# 090-0037), the National Register eligibility of which had not previously been evaluated, was also conducted by JRIA.

The Corps and the Virginia SHPO, Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), concurred with JRIA’s recommendation that the project would have no adverse effect on that historic property. No other historic properties are located within, or within the viewshed, of the APE. 

Adverse Effect on Historic Properties: In consultation with the VDHR, the USACE has applied the criteria of adverse effect to historic properties within the permit area. The USACE has determined that the four archaeological sites within the APE for the project which have been determined National Register eligible under Criterion D (44SY0274, 44SY0276, 44SY0277, and 44SY0278) cannot feasibly be avoided by construction of the DMMA, and that the undertaking will therefore have an adverse effect on these resources. The Corps, in consultation with VDHR, has also determined that there will be no adverse effects (visual or otherwise) to historic properties beyond the permit area (APE). The USACE is consulting further to develop and evaluate alternatives or modifications to the undertaking that could avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects on historic properties. The US Army Corps of Engineers (Norfolk District), Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), the permittee and other consulting parties are proposing to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.   

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), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on February 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, contact:

Audrey Cotnoir at 757-549-8819 or by email