USACE Norfolk District
Published Jan. 28, 2021
Expiration date: 2/27/2021

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

Colonna’s Shipyard
c/o Mark Essert, Director of Operations
400 East Indian River Road
Norfolk, Virginia 23523

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in Spotico Creek, a tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, at 400 East Indian River Road in Norfolk, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant, Colonna’s Shipyard, proposes to relocate Drydock #3.  The project consists of dredging a 545-foot by 155-foot (80,325 sf) basin to achieve maximum depths of -48 feet MLW and a 230-foot by 260-foot (59,800 sf) access channel to achieve maximum depths of -28 feet MLW to accommodate the relocation.  The total initial volume of dredged material to be removed is approximately 365,000 cubic yards.  The total dredge footprint is approximately 8.83 acres.  Dredged materials will be placed at the Craney Island Dredged Materials Management Area (CIDMMA) Rehandling Basin for the initial dredging cycle.  Colonna’s Shipyard anticipates that the area will require maintenance dredging with approximately 50,000 cubic yards of material to be removed from this area every 5 years.  The disposal area for future dredge cycles has not been determined.  If CIDMMA is proposed for use with future dredging cycles, those materials will be evaluated for suitability by CIDMMA staff.  Drydock #3 is currently located 200 feet to the west but must be relocated for safety.

The project also includes construction of a 140-foot long ramp for access to the facility, installation of a 100-foot by 27-foot mooring dolphin and construction of a 260-foot by 27-foot concrete deck to anchor the drydock.  In addition, the applicant proposes to install 345 linear feet of bulkhead, with return walls, where the concrete pier makes landfall to stabilize the shoreline.  The proposed bulkhead will fill 2,010 square feet of mudflats/non-vegetated wetlands.

In order to minimize impacts to the channel and minimize dredging impacts, the drydock was placed as close to the shoreline as possible. Turbidity curtains will be evaluated for feasibility of use during dredging operations. To mitigate for proposed impacts, Colonna’s Shipyard will harvest recoverable shell resources and shellfish within the northeast corner of the project footprint for transplant onto an existing reef within the same HUC Code.  In addition, plans for a living shoreline are under development.  Colonna’s Shipyard will be required to submit a complete mitigation plan to our office for review and approval prior to commencing construction or dredging operations.

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 that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated, a permit from the Norfolk Wetlands Board, and secure appropriate authorization through the Department of the Army per 33 U.S.C. §408. 

Project drawings are attached.  The full JPA and supporting documents can be viewed at: 

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 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 classification, 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 and (2) 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. (3) The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) has listed the Chesapeake Bay distinct population segment (DPS) of the Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), Shortnose sturgeon ((Acipenser brevirostrum), Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta), Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) the threatened/endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205). As the species indicated above have the potential to be found in the vicinity of the project site, informal Section 7 consultation to evaluate potential impacts from the project will be initiated with NOAA. No species of fish, wildlife, or plant (or their critical habitat) listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205) and managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service will be affected. No further coordination with Fish and Wildlife Service is required due to a no effect determination by the Corps. 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 received notification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice that the Coastal Zone Management staff will not require an updated CZMA review, relying on their previous review for the initial installation of Drydock #3 in 2015.  This decision is subject to change pending evaluation 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:  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: or

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 (EFH). Spotico Creek, a tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various life stages of 12 species including 12 species including windowpane flounder (adult life stage), bluefish (juvenile and adult life stages), Atlantic butterfish (egg, larval, juvenile, and adult life stages), summer flounder (larval, juvenile, and adult life stages), black sea bass (juvenile and adult), king mackerel (egg, larval, juvenile, and adult), Spanish mackerel (egg, larval, juvenile, and adult), cobia (egg, larval, juvenile, and adult), red drum (egg, larval, juvenile, and adult), dusky shark (larval), sandbar shark (larval, juvenile, and adult, and Habitat Area of Particular Concern). The habitat which this project would affect consists of shallow and deeper estuarine waters up to forty-eight feet deep. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The project may affect Essential Fish Habitat by converting shallow water areas to deeper water areas and it may result in temporary increases in turbidity. Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our rationale for this preliminary determination is based on the expected short-term nature of the direct impacts; the minimal increases in turbidity, changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work; the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation and anadromous fish spawning habitat; and existing poor water quality and unsuitable substrate. Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, Attn: Traycie West, and should be received by the close of business on February 27, 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 or the permit process, contact Traycie West at (757) 201-7179 or by email at