November 12, 2021
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE: The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:
Captain Vince W. Baker, Commanding Officer Naval Station Norfolk
9742 Virginia Avenue, Building A-81
Norfolk, VA 23511
PROJECT LOCATION: This project is located at the Norfolk Naval Station, in Norfolk, Virginia, and involves the demolition of an existing pier and the construction of a new Pier 3 to support the berthing of Navy submarines. Dredging will also be required at the new pier 3 and adjacent to existing bulkheads.
PROJECT SIZE: Approximately 39 acres
NEAREST WATERWAY: Elizabeth River
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 36.9384, -76.3316
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: To provide berthing space and onshore support for the Navy’s newer submarines, the Navy is proposing to construct a new submarine berthing pier and a new berthing bulkhead; dredge adjacent areas; demolish existing obsolete Pier 3 and Pier 3T; install a new fender system at Pier 4; construct a new wharf with steel bulkhead at CP-176; construct a new relieving dock with steel bulkhead at CEP-102; backfill the area between the new and existing bulkhead at CEP176; backfill three scour areas at CEP-102; and reconfigure the existing floating security barrier.
The new Pier 3 will be 1324 feet long by 85 feet wide, the existing Pier 3 (to be demolished) is 1255 feet long by 50 feet wide, Pier 3T (to be demolished) is approximately 578 feet by 34 feet wide, the new CEP-176 wharf and steel bulkhead will be 807 feet long by 103 feet wide, and the new CEP-102 concrete relieving platform and steel bulkhead will by 676 feet long by 27 feet wide. Approximately 5,600 square feet (0.13 acres) of area between the new and existing wharf CEP-176 will be filled with #57 stone, and #57 stone will also be used to fill three scour areas along wharf CEP102. These three scour areas total 16,600 square feet (0.38 acres) so the total filled area for the entire project is 22,200 square feet, or 0.51 acres. The fill areas are primarily deep open water areas next to existing bulkheads.
The existing river bottom at existing pier 3 and 3T and at new wharves CEP-176 and CEP-102 will be dredged to a maximum depth of -40 feet at Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). This proposed dredge depth will match existing depths throughout the submarine berthing areas, and during the dredging pilings and other debris from the demolished piers will also be removed. The dredge area at Pier 3T and next to wharf CEP-176 is 176,040 square feet (4.04 acres), and the dredge area at existing Pier 3 and next to wharf CEP-102 is 157,050 square feet (3.61 acres). The total dredge area is 333,090 square feet (7.65 acres) and will be mechanically dredged to match surrounding depths. Dredged material will be disposed of at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The applicant has reduced impacts by utilizing existing naval shoreline facilities as much as practicable, matching the existing river bottom with the proposed dredge depths, and by limiting fill placement to voids between existing and new bulkheads and adjacent scour areas.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has not proposed compensatory mitigation.
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.
A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/habitat/) and enter the VMRC permit application number which is 2021-1707.
(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:
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.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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. The U.S. Navy is the lead federal agency and is responsible for coordinating this project’s potential effects on historic resources.
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).
The Elizabeth River contains EFH for various life stages of 11 species including 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 would affect consists of deeper water on an industrial shoreline. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. EFH may be temporarily impacted by disruption of the benthic community caused by dredging, by turbidity, and by noise effects due to pile driving. 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, temporary increases in turbidity, and the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation. Anadromous fish may pass through the adjacent river at certain times of the year. Based on comments from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary. The U.S. Navy is the lead federal agency and will consult with the NMFS as needed.
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: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/permits-regulations/environmental-impact-review/federalconsistency . 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The applicant has not submitted concurrence.
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.
PRE-FILING MEETING (PFM) The applicant has not requested a PFM with DEQ.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to email@example.com, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WRR, George Janek), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on December 13, 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. George Janek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (757) 201-7135.
FWS Official Species List
Species Conclusion Table