October 12, 2021
The District Commander has received a permit application for work described below:
Naval Station Norfolk
Attn: CDR Gretchen Sosbee
1530 Gilbert Street, Suite 2000
Norfolk, Virginia 23511-2722
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located inElizabeth River surrounding the Naval Station Norfolk Lambert’s Point DepermingStation in Norfolk, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: Naval Station Norfolk (NSN) is the homeport of numerous ships and provides operational readiness support to the US Atlantic Fleet with its facilities. The deperming station is located within the waters of the Elizabeth River provides magnetic silencing services for military vessels. The proposed regulation is necessary to better protect underwater equipment, personnel, and vessels utilizing the facility by implementing a waterside security program. The applicant proposes to establish new restricted area in the Navigation Regulations, (33 C.F.R. §334.296), as follows: 334.296 Elizabeth River, Deperming Station, Norfolk, VA, Restricted Area.
(a) The areas. The datum for the coordinate for the restricted area described in this section is WGS84.
(b) The waters within an area beginning at a point latitude 36 deg.51'52” N, longitude 76 deg.20'04" W; thence easterly to a point at latitude 36 deg.51’ 52” N, longitude 76 deg.19'49" W, thence northerly to latitude 36 deg.52’06” N, longitude 76 deg.19'48" W; thence northwesterly to latitude 36 deg.52'12" N, longitude 76 deg.19'57" W; thence northwesterly to a point at latitude 36 deg.52'15" N, longitude 76 deg.19'59" W; thence westerly to latitude 36 deg.52'15" N, longitude 76 deg.20'04” W, thence to the point of origin.
(c) The regulations.
(1) No vessels other than vessels of the U.S. armed forces and other authorized vessels shall enter the restricted area. Other authorized vessels include vessels and personnel, including contactors and agents, acting on behalf of any Federal or state agency or department performing specific work authorized as part of that agency or department's statutory missions or to enforce their respective laws. Authorized vessels may enter anywhere in the restricted area at any time in the furtherance of their authorized operations. This includes, but is not limited to, vessels that are engaged in the following operations:
(a) Law enforcement,
(b) Servicing aids to navigation and/or
(c) Surveying, maintenance, or improvement of the Federal navigational channel.
(2) There shall be no introduction of external magnetic field sources within the area.
(3) No person or vessel shall at any time, under any circumstances, anchor or fish or tow a drag of any kind in the restricted area due to the risk of damage to mission essential underwater equipment including an extensive cable system located therein.
(4) Orders and instructions issued by U.S. Navy patrol craft or other authorized representatives of the enforcing agency shall be carried out promptly by persons or vessels in or in the vicinity of the restricted area.
(5) The regulations in this section shall be enforced by the Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia and such agencies as he/she may designate.
AUTHORITY: Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat. 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat. 892; 33 U.S.C. 3).
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision whether to create the restricted area 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 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:
(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 is required; and,
(3) there are known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, however they are not likely be affected by the proposal. Additional information might change any of these findings.
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 Elizabeth River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the juvenile and adult life stages of eleven species including Little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), Red hake (Urophycis chuss), Winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata), Clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triancanthus), summer flounder (Paralicthys dentatus), black sea bass (Centropristus striata), and sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus).
The habitat which this project would affect consists of open water. 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 minimal direct impacts associated with the establishment of restricted areas and danger zones. 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), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on November 7, 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
Nicole Woodward at 757-201-7122.