US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2000-02761

Published May 20, 2019
Expiration date: 6/17/2019

May 20, 2019
CENAO-WR-R
NAO-2000-02761/19-V0818

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:

APPLICANT
Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding
4101 Washington Ave.
Newport News, VA 23607

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the James River, at 4101 Washington Ave. in Newport News, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to modify its existing dredge permit that standardized dredge depths to include a new wharf and 400’ x 3,700’ channel at its Joint Manufacturing Facility’s north end. This modification is to accommodate a need to moor and load ocean-transport barges as part of Columbia Class submarine construction and will require the removal of 1.12 million cubic yards of subaqueous bottom. Subsequent maintenance-dredging events will result in the anticipated removal of about 340,000 cubic yards of material, as the proposed channel is in an area of high siltation. No filling of marine areas is required, and all work will take place in an industrial shipyard that is regularly dredged. The applicant proposes to dispose of dredge spoils at Craney Island.

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 applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated, and a permit from the Newport News 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 a probable-impact evaluation, 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 that 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, 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, property ownership and, in general, the people’s needs and welfare. 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 other public-interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. They are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and 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 this notice date, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The district commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.

Preliminary review indicates: (1) 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 affected. Based on this “no effect” determination, no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places near the permit area 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 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 and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review. We have not received applicant certification 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 must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A federal consistency certification template can be found at www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert. For more information or to obtain a list of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program’s enforceable policies, contact the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Environmental Impact Review at 804-698-4330 or email 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. The James River contains EFH for the various life stages of 11 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 ocellatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus) and sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus). The habitat this project would affect consists of regularly dredged, deep-water subaqueous silt/mud bottom. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose above. Our project assessment leads us to a preliminary determination that new dredging will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH, as the areas proposed for deepening are already regularly dredged, and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our preliminary-determination rationale 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/absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish-spawning habitat/existing poor water quality/unsuitable substrate. Based on National Marine Fisheries Service comments in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing. They can be sent by email to matt.m.wicks@usace.army.mil or regular mail, addressed to: Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510-1011. All comments should be received by close of business June 17.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the submitter’s identity, submitted in response to this public notice may be disclosed, reproduced and distributed at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discretion. Information 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 the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.

If you have questions about this project or the permit process, contact Matthew Wicks at 757-201-7540 or matt.m.wicks@usace.army.mil.

Attachment: Drawings