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NAO-2011-00025

Posted: 12/13/2018

Expiration date: 1/12/2019


Dec. 13, 2018
CENAO-WR-R
NAO-2011-00025

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
APPLICANT Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
c/o David Norris
7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400 (Villa Park 3)
Henrico, VA 23228

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in in the James River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, at Hog Island Wildlife Management Area in Surry, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to repair approximately 6,150 linear feet of eroded shoreline in three priority areas. Repair will consist of construction of eighteen near-shore riprap breakwaters with a total of 39,908 cubic yards of fill placed shoreward of the structures. Wetland vegetation (Spartina patens) will be planted behind the structures. This design will replace the existing failing tombolo system. The primary purpose of this project is to protect the existing managed tidal impoundments from erosion which threatens infrastructure and upland improvements at Hog Island. The secondary purpose is to replenish the beach to a natural grade and to restore wetland vegetation between the impoundment and James River.

Impacts for the proposed activities were avoided by limiting construction to three priority areas with critical erosion. Impacts will be minimized by requiring installation of turbidity curtains prior to construction and placing materials from barges where possible. Additionally, this design will result in the accretion of sediment and increase in wetland area. Unavoidable impacts will be compensated through the establishment of Spartina patens and other wetland vegetation shoreward of breakwaters.

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 Surry 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, 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: (1) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, there are 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) that may be affected. Further coordination with NOAA NMFS GARFO will be required and the Species Conclusion Table is attached for review and comment; and (3) there are known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places that are in or near the permit area, therefore the Corps will be initiating coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 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). The James River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the life stages of 11 species including Butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) Black sea bass (Centropristis striata), Summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), King mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), and dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus). The habitat which this project would affect consists of subaqueous bottom extending from shore to 4 foot deep. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. This project is located in a portion of the James River that will provide adequate space for the above species to avoid the construction (~15,000 ft wide). 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/changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work/the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation. There work area does encompasses anadromous fish use waters. 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 george.a.janek@usace.army.mil, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: George Janek, CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business Jan. 12.

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 George Janek at 757-201-7135 or by email at george.a.janek@usace.army.mil.

Attachment: Drawings, Species Conclusion Table, IPaC Species Table

Hog Island Wildlife Management Area James River Surry Virginia Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries