June 14, 2019
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF PROPOSED WORK: The project is in Lucas Creek, a tributary to Warwick River in Newport News, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to relocate a perimeter road within the airport operations area (AOA). The road’s current condition and alignment pose safety risks to fuel trucks and emergency vehicles that may require access to multiple areas within the AOA. The proposed project minimizes risks associated with fueling or emergency services operations. The road improvements will result in unavoidable impacts to 0.76 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands/waters of the U.S.
The existing perimeter road’s intended purpose is to provide vehicle access around aircraft-movement areas at the airport and improve safety conditions.
Avoidance and minimization
The proposed perimeter-road alignment is in accordance with the configuration noted in the Short Environmental Assessment Form completed in August 2017 for the proposed project. Existing aircraft navigational-aid equipment, their associated underground utility lines and runway object-free areas surrounding each runway end were all factors in the proposed alignment’s location. Several additional factors have been incorporated into the design to avoid or reduce wetland/stream impacts, including a reduced shoulder width of 5 feet (Virginia Department of Transportation standard would be 8 feet), using 3:1 fill slopes for grading tie-ins in lieu of Federal Aviation Administration-recommended 4:1 fill slopes, an existing dual-culvert crossing and adjusting proposed grades at the crossing to not require a new culvert or extension to the existing culvert, and modifying proposed grades where possible to reduce the overall limits of disturbance. Construction plans will require the contractor to lay out the proposed perimeter-road alignment in advance of any ground disturbance and install orange safety fencing in construction areas through existing wetlands at disturbance limits to help delineate the work-area limits. The use of erosion-control silt fence will also help confine work-area limits and prevent sedimentation of adjacent and downstream areas. Weekly meetings will be required by construction documents between the contractor, airport management and engineer to ensure safety standards are being followed and work-area limits adhered to. A full-time on-site inspector will also be employed by the engineer for the project to help oversee construction operations.
In order to compensate for these unavoidable impacts, the airport plans to purchase 0.76 wetland credits from an approved mitigation bank servicing the project area.
In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit 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 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, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation; water supply, conservation and 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 it. 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, one listed/proposed/candidate species was reported under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884, as amended). Based on a “no effect” determination, no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required. The Species Conclusion Table is attached for review; 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 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 before 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing. They can be sent by email to email@example.com 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 July 13.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including submitter identity, given 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 the 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 Scharlene Floyd at 757-201-7367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attachment: Drawings, Species Conclusion Table, Official Species List