FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:
James White, P.E., Virginia Beach Public Works
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the Chesapeake Bay, a tributary to the Atlantic Ocean, along Cape Henry Beach, between the eastern abutment of the Lesner Bridge and the western boundary of First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to restore beach width and volume to the Cape Henry beach through a beach nourishment project. Sandy material dredged from the Thimble Shoals Channel will be placed on the beach using a pipeline system and pump-out buoys with the specific construction means and methods to be determined by the contractor. The beach nourishment project is designed to mitigate damage to existing structures which could be caused by storm surge and wave erosion. The project will accomplish its purpose through the placement of 331,300 cubic yards of sand along 9,000 linear feet of shoreline. This material will be placed in 29.91 acres below Mean Low Water (MLW), and in 8.89 acres between Mean High Water and MLW. The total impacts to waters of the U.S. are approximately 38.80 acres.
No impacts are anticipated to vegetated or non-vegetated wetlands as part of the proposed beach nourishment. Because there are no wetland impacts, the applicant hasn’t proposed any mitigation. Construction impacts may be minimized by equipping the pipes with spreaders which will reduce effluent discharge velocities during sand-slurry placement. As appropriate, temporary longitudinal sand dikes could be used to contain and direct the horizontal flow of the discharged sand-slurry along the beach. In addition, all sand placed on the beach will be compatible with native beach sand and with the sandy material that has been placed on the beach during previous nourishment projects.
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 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), Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia. The permit application may be reviewed here:
link to permit application at VMRC website
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 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: (l) 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. Based on this “no effect” determination, no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service is required; 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 located in Virginia’s Coastal Zone , 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’s Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM Program),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 OEIR 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 in the Federal Consistency Manual here: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/permits-regulations/environmental-impact-review/federal-consistency . For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the Virginia CZM Program, contact the DEQ-OEIR at (804) 698-4204 or e-mail: email@example.com.
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). The Chesapeake Bay contains EFH for various life stages of 16 species including red hake, Atlantic herring, scup, Atlantic sharpnose shark, sand tiger shark, butterfish, windowpane flounder, bluefish, dusky shark, black sea bass, summer flounder, red drum, sandbar shark, cobia, king mackerel, and Atlantic Spanish mackerel. The habitat which this project will affect consists of shallow water habitat in the littoral zone with sandy bottom. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. 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, minimal increases in turbidity which should dissipate quickly, and the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat. Minimization measures are described above in Proposed Work and Purpose. 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 in writing and can be sent by either email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R, George Janek), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on March 15, 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 George Janek at 757-201-7135.