March 13, 2020
The district commander has received a permit application for work described below:
City of Virginia Beach Public Works
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF PROPOSED WORK: The Schilling Point SSD project is located in a tributary to the Lynnhaven River’s Western Branch, adjacent to the Saw Pen Point neighborhood surrounded by homes along Saw Pen Point Trail, Bridgehampton Lane, Witch Point Trail and Schilling Point in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes new mechanical dredging for navigation access. A 692-foot-long city spur channel with a 25-foot bottom width is proposed to be dredged to a maximum depth of -4.5 feet mean low water (MLW) and would connect to the existing channel in the Lynnhaven River’s Western Branch. A main 490-foot-long Special Service District channel would run from the city channel to SSD North Spur and SSD South Spur channels. The main SSD channel would have a maximum bottom width of 25 feet, reducing to a 20-foot bottom width as it approaches the neighborhood, and would be dredged to a maximum depth of -4.5 feet MLW. The SSD North Spur would be 470 feet long with a 15-foot bottom width, and the SSD South Spur would be 286 feet long with a 15-foot bottom – individual access basins will be dredged as part of this proposal. These SSD channels would be dredged to a maximum -4.5-foot depth and MLW. The proposal also includes dredging nine individual access basins for homeowners to access the dredged channels. These areas are proposed to be dredged to a maximum depth of -4.5 feet MLW.
The applicant has proposed to dredge 9,583 cubic yards of material from 88,383 square feet of impact area.
The dredging will directly impact 486 square feet of non-vegetated wetlands or mudflats for proposed dredging of one of the individual access channels. The remaining impacts are to subaqueous bottom. The applicant proposes to mitigate for non-vegetated mudflat impacts by purchasing tidal vegetated wetland credits from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund or an approved mitigation bank servicing the watershed at a 1:1 ratio.
The city channel was designed to utilize the deepest and most central portions of the existing channels to avoid unnecessary impacts to wetlands and minimize dredge volumes. The proposed width of SSD channels will narrow as they progress landward to avoid impacts to vegetated wetlands and non-vegetated tidal areas (mudflats) as these areas become more prominent in the tributary’s upstream portions.
The dredged material will be taken by scow to the Thalia Creek Transfer Site and trucked to the Whitehurst Dredge Material Management Area off Oceana Boulevard in Virginia Beach for disposal.
Nine new day markers will also be installed on pilings at various locations along the channels.
The Shilling Point SSD program includes 11 waterfront parcels. Waterfront homeowners have agreed to participate in the City of Virginia Beach Special Service District program, which helps carry out neighborhood dredging projects. The project proposes a 16-year, three-stage dredging cycle, with the first cycle in year 2 and maintenance dredging events taking place every seven years on years 9 and 16; however, the Corps authorization can only be issued for a maximum of 10 years.
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 Virginia Beach 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).
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision to issue a permit will be based on a probable-impact evaluation, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. It 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, wildlife and flood-plain values; flood hazards, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation; water supply, conservation and quality; energy and mineral needs, safety, food and fiber production, property ownership and, in general, the people’s needs and welfare.
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 proposed activity’s direct, indirect and cumulative impacts. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps 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, the general environment 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 in 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 take place.
Preliminary review indicates: (1) no Environmental Impact Statement will be required; (2) after conducting Norfolk District’s Endangered Species Act 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. The Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service; 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 Tidewater projects, 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. The Corps has not received applicant certification prior to this public notice’s publication. 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 e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions or proposals – permitted, funded or undertaken by the agency – that may adversely affect essential fish habitat. The Lynnhaven River’s Western Branch contains EFH for the juvenile and adult life stages of 16 species, including red hake (Urophycis chuss), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), scup (Stenotomus chrysops) Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae), sand tiger shark, butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), black sea bass (Centropristis striata), summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), sandbar shark, cobia (Rachycentron canadum), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) and Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus). The habitat this project would affect consists of open-water subaqueous bottom and 486 square feet of mudflats. The proposed project is described above in “Proposed Work and Purpose.” The Corps project assessment leads to a preliminary determination it will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH. Therefore, expanded consultation is not required. This preliminary determination’s 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, anadromous fish spawning habitat, existing poor water quality and 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 email@example.com, or regular mail, addressed to: Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front St., Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011. All comments should be received by close of business April 13.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including submitter identity, provided 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 USACE. 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 Robert Berg at 757-201-7793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Joint Permit Application and its associated attachments can be found on the VMRC Applications website: JPA 20-0243.