Sandbridge Beach, Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment

Published Dec. 18, 2020
Expiration date: 1/18/2021

LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The actions being considered for this programmatic assessment are located in Sandbridge Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Sandbridge Beach is located on a barrier island along coastal southeast Virginia that separates the Atlantic Ocean on the east from Back Bay, a shallow freshwater sound, to the west.  It is a residential community of mostly year-round residents, rental properties, and summer homes located approximately 5 miles south of Virginia Beach’s “resort strip.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The purpose of this draft Environmental Assessment (EA) is to programmatically address a variety of requests from property owners for minor and low impact activities that alter the Sandbridge Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project (the “Project”), a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works project.  The authority to grant permission for temporary or permanent use, occupation or alteration of any USACE civil works project is contained in Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended, codified at 33 U.S.C. 408 (“Section 408”).  Some proposed alterations do not require a Section 404/10 permit but must still be reviewed with a decision documented and approved by the USACE in accordance with NEPA and Section 408.  This EA will allow the District to analyze environmental impacts for proposed actions that are generally related in scope through a Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Decision Document that can be applied to each individual 408 permission.  Addressing proposed and future 408 activities through a Programmatic EA will expedite the current review and decision process, reduce fund requirements (labor) and increase residents’ ability to expedite projects for sand maintenance and construction of structural features. 


Under the requirements of Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this proposed project, which may impact the Sandbridge Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project, has the potential to alter or impair the usefulness of a portion of the Federal project. This Environmental Assessment has been performed to facilitate the Section 408 of the Rivers and Harbors Act evaluations of potential impacts to the Federal project. This EA has been prepared pursuant to NEPA and its implementing regulations.

The purpose of this Environmental Assessment (EA) is to programmatically address a variety of requests from property owners for minor and low impact activities that alter the Project, a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works project.  This EA only considers the environmental impacts of sand maintenance activities and private structural features that may be constructed or maintained at Sandbridge Beach and that require Section 408 coordination.

Sand maintenance:  Sand from Sandbridge Beach is continuously migrating through natural processes onto residents’ properties such as yards, decks, and pools.  Residents frequently propose to remove excess sand that has migrated onto private property and place the sand back onto Sandbridge Beach to maintain their properties.  Maintenance may also be required for non-sand marine debris that migrates through natural processes onto private property and may require removal for disposal. 

Structural features:  Property owners at the Project have requested and are expected to continue to request authorization to construct and maintain a variety of surface or subsurface structures on private property that require Section 408 coordination.  Structures may include but are not limited to bulkheads, piles, decks, pools, storage sheds, landscaping, or other residential structural features.  Structures may be constructed and maintained for various purposes including protection of property, safety, improvements to meet local or state codes, aesthetics, and recreation.  

The draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment is being coordinated with the following agencies:

• City of Virginia Beach

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency (USFWS) 

• NOAA - National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

• Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ)

• Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR)

• Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

• Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment should be by email ( or in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-OT (Nadal)), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on January 18, 2021.

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, contact Teri Nadal at or call 757-201-7299.