NAO-2021-03224 / JPA # 21-V2393

Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published March 30, 2022
Expiration date: 4/29/2022

March 30, 2022
NAO-2021-03224 / JPA # 21-V2393

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

City of Newport News
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Michael Poplawski
700 Town Center Drive, Suite 320
Newport News, Virginia 23606

PROJECT LOCATION: The project is located at Riverview Farm Park in Newport News along the shoreline of the Warwick River (37.08252°N; -76.53274°W).

PROJECT SIZE: 90,071 square feet (2.07 acres)


LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 37.08252°N; -76.53274°W

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: Applicant proposes to stabilize approximately 950 linear feet of eroding shoreline by installing (2) 170-foot offshore breakwaters, a 150-foot spur, discharging sand fill, planting vegetation, and performing minor bank grading.

The project includes discharging approximately 10,000 cubic yards of sand fill to establish 5,742 square feet of vegetated tidal wetlands and 42,182 square feet of backshore vegetation. Tidal wetland plantings comprise of Spartina patens and alterniflora on 18" centers. Backshore plantings comprise of Spartina patens and Ammophila brevigulata on 18" centers.

Total impacts to vegetated tidal wetlands are 1,561 square feet, non-vegetated tidal wetlands impacts are 25,234 square feet, and subaqueous impacts are calculated at 63,276 square feet.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The proposed design uses a living shoreline approach that has been proven around Chesapeake Bay for 30 years. This approach uses sand beaches and backshores with stone structures to establish a resilient natural edge, which occurs coincident with the sand beaches, wetlands and waters of the US, therefore full avoidance and minimization is not possible. The existing beach face will be displaced channelward in the current design, displacing nearshore bottom. The stone structures displace nearshore bottom with rocky intertidal and subaqueous habitat. The project results in replacement of one nearshore/shoreline habitat type with another, while providing protection to existing resources.

The project will serve to protect, and therefore avoid and minimize further erosion of the pocket marshes on-site. Where possible, such as the western end of the project, the marsh headland has been incorporated into the project, avoiding direct impact. Sand fill has been limited behind the westernmost structure to allow continued hydraulic exchange between the marsh and river.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The proposed project provides a living shoreline approach. The completed project will result in 21,967 square feet of non-vegetated intertidal area, 6,720 square feet of rocky intertidal habitat and 1,920 square feet of rocky subaqueous habitat, 5,742 square feet of restored marsh habitat, and 42,182 square feet of vegetated backshore habitat. The project will reduce/slow continued loss of existing marsh habitat that has been eroding at a rate of 2-5 feet per year. As such, the applicant suggest that the resulting natural aquatic elements provided by the proposed project will produce, protect, and preclude the need for compensatory mitigation as it is self-mitigating.

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.

A copy of all joint permit application materials 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 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, IPaC Northern Long Eared Bat Determination Key, IPaC Self-Certification Letter, 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 proposed undertaking falls entirely within the boundaries of DHR ID 500-0006 (Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, Keystone Segment, Historic District). Consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act will be required with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Consultation will also include the National Park Service and Tribes with interest to the project area.

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 Warwick River contains EFH (Grid # 81 & 114) for adult, juvenile adult, juvenile, larvae, and/or egg life stages for eleven species including dusky shark, butterfish, windowpane flounder, bluefish, 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 vegetated tidal wetlands, non-vegetated tidal wetlands (existing beach), and shallow water subaqueous bottom. No SAVs are present within the project area. The closest mapped beds, per VIMS 2019-2015 inventory, are over 10 miles away in the downstream direction and over 17 miles in the upstream direction from the project site. The Warwick River is mapped as potential anadromous fish use habitat (ID P176) at the project site. Please note that the applicant is proposing no time of year restriction for anadromous fish since the project is located at the confluence of the Warwick River and the James River where the waterway widths are approximately 4.5 miles, the proposed in-water work extends no further than 140 feet from mean low water, and the construction materials consist of granite stone and clean sand that are not expected to increase turbidity locally during construction. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The river is approximately 4.7 miles wide at the project site. Effects will only occur over less than 1% of the width of the river. Construction work for the proposed project will be performed entirely from land. There will be no need to gain access by water. Due to the shallow nature of the water, work behind cofferdams, turbidity curtains, or other methods to control turbidity is not operationally feasible. The project will result in very minor, short-term turbidity. The work will disturb bottom sediments and may cause a temporary increase in suspended sediment in the action area. Using available information, we expect the work to produce total suspended sediment (TSS) concentrations of approximately 5.0 to 10.0 mg/L within approximately 300 feet of the action area. The small resulting sediment plume is expected to settle out of the water column within a few hours. Studies of the effects of turbid water on fish suggest that concentrations of suspended sediment can reach thousands of milligrams per liter before an acute toxic reaction is expected (Burton 1993). The TSS levels expected for this project (5.0 to 10.0 mg/L) are below those shown to have adverse effect on fish (580.0 mg/L for the most sensitive species, with 1,000.0 mg/L more typical; see summary of scientific literature in Burton 1993) and benthic communities (390.0 mg/L (EPA 1986)). 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/changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work/the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat/ existing poor water quality/unsuitable substrate. 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) 659-1915 or e-mail:

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.

Pursuant to 33 CFR 325.2(b)(1)(i), this Public Notice serves as the Corps’ CWA § 401(a)(2) notification to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pursuant to 40 CFR 121.11-13, the EPA shall notify the Corps, the Virginia DEQ, and the applicant, within 30 days of receipt of the application and certification, if the Regional Administrator determines that the proposed discharge may affect the quality of the waters of any neighboring jurisdiction.

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 April 29, 2022.

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. Randy Steffey via email at or by phone at 757-201-7579.


Vicinity Map || Project Drawings || Species Conclusion Table || IPaC Official Species List || IPaC NLEB Determination Key || IPaC Self Certification Letter