June 24, 2022
NAO-2010-02117 / VMRC 22-1295
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:
Captain Michael Witherspoon
U.S. Navy Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek
2600 Tarawa Court, Ste 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23459
PROJECT LOCATION: Within the Little Creek Channel at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Virginia
PROJECT SIZE: Approximately 12 acres
NEAREST WATERWAY: Little Creek Channel, a tributary to the Atlantic Ocean
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 36.922364 and -76.177389
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: The U.S. Navy (Navy) plans to perform maintenance dredging of the Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek Channel and CB 125 Wet Slip at JEB Little Creek located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Navy proposes to: 1) maintenance dredge by mechanical means approximately 89,067 cubic yards from Little Creek Channel to a maximum dredging depth of -24 ft MLLW; 2) maintenance dredge by mechanical means approximately 861 cubic yards from the CB-125 Wet Slip to a maximum dredging depth of -12 ft MLLW; and 3) place approximately 14,000 cubic yards of suitable dredged material, capped with 20,000 cubic yards of armor stone within scour holes at Piers 11,12, and 13, covering 3.4 acres of subaqueous bottom.
The Navy physically and chemically tested the dredged material to be used for the scour hole repair and the material is primarily comprised of fine sands. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) reviewed the testing data, and the materials were deemed chemically suitable for in-water placement. Up to 73,000 cubic yards of suitable dredged material from the Little Creek Channel would be beneficially used for dune renourishment above Mean High Water. The Navy proposes to transport approximately 3,000 cubic yards of dredged material not suitable for placement to an offsite upland facility for disposal.
The purpose of the project is to continue regular maintenance dredging cycles, which are required to maintain adequate water depths at piers, slips, berthing areas, within the entrance channel at JEB Little Creek to allow for the safe operation of the Navy fleet and visiting ships. A secondary purpose is to repair the scour holes at Piers 11, 12, and 13.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The Navy proposes maintenance dredging within approximately 8.3 acres of subaqueous bottom and placement of fill with 3.4 acres of subaqueous bottom for the scour hole repair. The Navy would fill the scour holes to surrounding depths and place armor stone over the dredged material to prevent future scour after the vessels resume operations at the piers. The project footprint for Little Creek Channel is within the previous footprint where maintenance dredging occurred in 2010; there would be no vertical or horizontal expansion of dredging activities for this project. The maintenance dredging would follow best management practices (BMPs) for the operation of mechanical clamshell dredge equipment. There would be no anticipated permanent water quality impacts at the dredging site or at the scour hole repair locations. Material used for the scour hole repairs would be mechanically placed within the scour holes and the Navy would utilize turbidity curtains during the fill placement to minimize impacts to water quality.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The Navy has not proposed compensatory mitigation. The Navy proposes to place fill material within the scour holes to match surrounding depths. The work involves maintenance dredging to subaqueous areas. No vegetated wetland or non-vegetated wetland impacts are proposed.
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 Virginia Beach Wetlands Board.
A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (20221295).
(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: As the lead Federal agency, the Navy has completed coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on potential impacts on Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Navy prepared a streamlined verification form for the project under the 2021 Navy Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA) Program for Section 7 and evaluated the following species: Atlantic Sturgeon; Shortnose Sturgeon; Loggerhead sea turtle; Green sea turtle; Kemps ridley sea turtle; and Leatherback sea turtle. The Navy determined that maintenance dredging at JEBLC is NLAA ESA species and received concurrence from NMFS on February 17, 2022. Per NMFS, no time-of-year restrictions are applicable for this project. The Navy determined that the project would have No Effect on Piping Plover or the Northern Long Eared Bat.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Navy, as the lead Federal agency, determined that the project would have No effect on cultural or historic resources. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) provided concurrence on February 18, 2022.
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 Navy, as the lead Federal agency, completed coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for potential impacts to EFH (Atlantic Herring; Red Hake; Clearnose Skate; Windowpane Flounder; Atlantic sharpnose shark; Bluefish; Atlantic Butterfish; Summer Flounder; scup; and Black Sea Bass). The Navy prepared an EFH assessment (using the EFH worksheet). An assessment of a range of impacts from mechanical dredging was performed including turbidity, habitat alteration, and impacts to individuals. The Navy determined that project at JEBLC would have No Adverse Effect on EFH and received concurrence from NMFS on May 5, 2022. Per NMFS, no time-of-year restrictions are applicable for this project.
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/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) 659-1915 or e-mail: email@example.com.
The applicant submitted a concurrence determination on May 20, 2022.
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 Ms. Melissa Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 27, 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 Melissa Nash at email@example.com or 757-201-7489.