Public Notice Distribution List

To be added to the Regulatory Branch Public Notice email distribution list, please send an email to Rod Desk at 

NAO 2020-0149

Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published June 15, 2021
Expiration date: 7/14/2021

June, 14, 2021

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

Joseph Sensi, Jr. Trust
6811 Caroline Avenue
Norfolk, VA  23505

Dr. Gregory Adams
6806 Caroline Avenue
Norfolk, VA  23505

Frank L. Sawyer Trust
521 Oak Grove Road
Norfolk, VA  23505

James L. Smith
6740 Talbot Hall Crescent
Norfolk, VA  23505

PROJECT LOCATION:  Crab Creek (southeast cove) in the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia.

PROJECT SIZE:  26,265 square feet (0.6 acres)

NEAREST WATERWAY: Crab Creek, a tidal tributary to the Lafayette River.

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE:  LAT 36.904695° / LONG -76.287859°

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  New mechanical dredging of a navigation channel, community turning basin, and private mooring areas for four property owners.  The total dredge area is 26,265 square feet (0.6 acres), comprised of 382 square feet of mudflat and 25, 883 square feet (0.59 acres) of unvegetated subaqueous bottom.  Total dredge volume would be 2,699 cubic yards, and the total dredge depth would be -4.5 feet.  The applicants propose to dispose of dredged material by placement in the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  To minimize mudflat impacts, the Sensi floating pier was moved seaward.  The agent for the applicants also evaluated moving the existing boat lifts and mooring basin at the Sensi and Adams properties further seaward to further reduce mudflat impacts.  Due to the way the properties are arrayed in the cove, the further seaward the piers extend the greater the amount of encroachment in front of the adjoining properties, which would infringe on adjoining owners’ riparian rights.  All tidal wetlands in the project vicinity are high marsh located landward of existing stone revetments.  The only area where the 4X dredging buffer is close to tidal wetlands is along the Adams shoreline, where the closest point falls within the existing stone revetment.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION:  To compensate for unavoidable impacts to mudflats, the applicant would donate to Norfolk’s in lieu fee mitigation fund at the established rate for mudflat impacts associated with dredging, and would be required to seed all adjacent rip rap with diploid oysters to meet the 15 oysters per square meter threshold (with Norfolk Wetlands Board staff present for placement of the oyster seed).  Additionally, all existing shellfish would be required to be relocated to out of the dredge impact area prior to dredging.

In addition, the applicant must obtain an Individual Section 401 Water Quality Certification or waiver from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  

The applicant must obtain a permit from the Norfolk Wetlands Board.

Copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (


  X   Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403)
  X Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia
   Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1413)


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 (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Preliminary review of the application indicates that no EIS will be required.

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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: After conducting the Norfolk District Endangered Species Act (ESA) Project Review Process, the Corps has made the preliminary determination that:

   No listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the ESA 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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is required.
  The Northern long-eared bat may be affected, but the FWS Information and Planning and Consultation (IPaC) 4(d) determination key was completed and no further coordination with the FWS is required.
   X   There may be an effect to listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the ESA of 1973. The IPaC Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by the FWS and the NMFS.

Additional information might change any of these findings.


   X    No known Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) are in or near the Corps permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.
  Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the NRHP are in or near the Corps permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.

Additional information may change any of these findings.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: 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 NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

     There is no EFH in the Corps area of responsibility.
  X  Crab Creek contains EFH for the adult Little Skate (Leucoraja erinacea), juvenile and adult Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus), all life stages of Red Hake (Urophycis chuss), adult Winter Skate (Leucoraja ocellata), juvenile and adult Clearnose Skate (Raja eglanteria), juvenile Windowpane Flounder (Scophthalmus aquosus), juvenile and adult Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), juvenile and adult Atlantic Butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), larvae, juvenile and adult Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), and juvenile and adult Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata).  The habitat which this project would affect consists of mainly shallow, subaqueous land and a small amount of mudflat.  All tidal wetlands in the project vicinity are high marsh areas located landward of existing stone revetments.  The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above.  The project would convert 0.6 acres of shallow water habitat (including 328 square feet of mudflats) to subaqeous land at a depth of -4.5 feet. During active dredging there would be increased turbidity and noise, and the deeper post-project depths could result in water temperature and dissolved oxygen changes.  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 (e.g., minimal increases in turbidity and noise), and the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation in the immediate project area.  Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.

VIRGINIA’S COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: 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). 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: .  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:

    The applicant has not submitted concurrence.
   The applicant has submitted concurrence.
   No concurrence is required because the project is not located within Virginia’s Coastal Zone.

VIRGINIA’S SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: The applicant must obtain, from the Virginia DEQ, a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for any federal license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the U.S. (40 CFR Part 121).  As the Certifying Authority, the Virginia DEQ may grant, grant with conditions, or deny a certification request.  Alternatively, the Virginia DEQ may waive, expressly or implicitly, its authority to act on a certification request.  In either case, a written notice of waiver from DEQ (expressly waived) or from the Corps (implicitly waived), satisfies the project proponent’s requirement to obtain certification.


  The applicant has requested a PFM with DEQ
     X   The applicant has not requested a PFM with DEQ.  In a letter dated September 04, 2020, the DEQ provided their 401 certification for this project.

 COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on July 14, 2021.

PRIVACY AND 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 Mr. David Knepper at or (757) 201-7488.