March 31, 2020
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
City of Chesapeake c/o Earl Sorey, P.E.
306 Cedar Rd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in a jurisdictional drainage ditch located directly west of Shillelagh Road in the City of Chesapeake, Virginia. The 1.35 mile project area begins 800 feet north of Vincek Way and terminates at Herring Ditch to the south. The northern portion of the jurisdictional ditch drains into New Mill Creek (TNW) while the southern portion drains into Herring Ditch which ultimately drains into the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River (TNW).
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The complete application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) website (https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/habitat/getPDF.php?id=20191419).
The applicant proposes relocating the existing drainage ditch which will include permanent impacts to 1.96 acres of the existing drainage ditch. These impacts will include filling 1.30 acres of the existing ditch and 0.66 acres of excavation and re-grading of the existing ditch. The relocated 2.09 acre ditch will be dug from uplands to match the existing ditch’s original design specifications, and will be planted with an emergent wetland vegetation seed mix. Portions of the new ditch will be lined with a concrete matting product (Flexamat) to permanently stabilize the slopes and prevent erosion, and will involve the replacement of several existing culverted road/driveway crossings.
The purpose of this project is to restore the roadside shoulder to a width of 15 feet in order to meet the need for improved safety along Shillelagh Road. The original shoulder for much of the project area was 10 feet in width, but over time has eroded into the adjacent drainage ditch, resulting in the loss of road shoulder to less than 5 feet in some places. This has resulted in a hazardous slope in close proximity to the roadway, as well as a much wider channel bottom than originally designed. There is a need for this improvement because more than half of the traffic accidents documented for this stretch of road between 2013 and 2018 involved vehicles running off the road, particularly at night time under dry conditions
The applicant investigated several alternatives to avoid and minimize impacts that were determined to not be practicable due to proximity of the road and privately owned property. The current proposed design avoids and minimizes impacts by only re-locating the ditch where necessary and the impacts will be compensated for through the construction of the new drainage ditch of larger size.
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 (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated and a permit from the City of Chesapeake 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 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, 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. The Northern Long Eared Bat may be affected, but the 4(d) key was completed and no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required (the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table is attached), 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. However, there are historic resources that are not eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places in or near the permit area (Herring Ditch and 2 architectural resources). There is no Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) or Anadromous Fish Use Waters present in the project area. 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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to email@example.com, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: Herman W. Hudson III, CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on April 30, 2020.
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:
Herman W. Hudson III, PhD, PWS.
Attachment: Drawings, Official Species List, and Species Conclusion Table