NAO-2017-01842, The Hurds Cove SSD project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published Aug. 30, 2022
Expiration date: 9/14/2022


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

City of Virginia Beach, Dept. of Public Works-Engineering Attn: James White
484 Viking Drive, Suite 200 Virginia Beach, VA 23452

PROJECT LOCATION: The Hurds Cove SSD project is in a tributary to the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River adjacent to the eastern portions of Little Haven, Quail Run, Bishopsgate and Lynnhaven Acres neighborhoods and the northeast portion of the Kings Grant neighborhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

PROJECT SIZE: The proposed City channel is 450 feet long and 30 feet wide with a proposed depth of -5.5 feet at mean low water (MLW). The proposed Main SSD channel is separated into two channel segments. From Station 4+50 to 26+95 the channel is 2,245 feet long and 25 feet wide with a permitted depth of -5.0 feet MLW. At Station 26+95 the channel transitions to a 15-foot width with a permitted depth of -3.5 feet MLW for 762 feet. There are 4 proposed SSD ancillary or access channels associated with the project. SSD channel C is 585 feet long with a 15-foot width and a permitted depth of -3.5 feet MLW. SSD channel D and minor access channels total 3,206 feet in length with a 15-foot width and permitted depth of -3.5 feet MLW. SSD channel E and a single minor access channel is 2,198 feet long with a width of 15 feet and a permitted depth of
-3.5 feet. SSD Channel F is 744 feet long and includes an outfall forebay at the terminus. The total length of the proposed City and SSD channels is 10,190 feet.

NEAREST WATERWAY: Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 36.859664, -76.074291

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: The City of Virginia Beach proposes to mechanically dredge for navigational access and the estimated volume of dredged material is 28,440 cubic yards. For permitting purposes and to account for shoaling, the volume has been increased by approximately 15% and the applicant is assuming a dredge volume estimate of 32,700 cubic yards to account for areas that have shoaled in. Thirty-four piling supported channel markers have been included to demarcate the SSD channels.

The dredged material would be hauled by dump truck and disposed of at the Whitehurst Dredged Material Management Area.

The proposed dredging will impact 263,725 square feet of subaqueous bottom including 50,460 square feet of mudflats and 1,745 square feet of tidal vegetated wetlands.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The City of Virginia Beach first submitted a permit application for dredging Hurds Cove in 2017. Since that time the city has worked to reduce impacts to mudflats and tidal vegetated wetlands. Proposed dredge channels A and AA were eliminated due to property rights and access issues, while SSD channel B was removed after testing showed the mudflats in this proposed channel were of higher quality.

After site meetings in November 2020 with the permitting agencies, a small turning basin at the end of Access channel E was also removed. Proposed dredging was reduced from an initial 12,865 feet of channels to 10,190 feet with this proposal.

The current reduction in impacts compared to the original 2017 permit application includes a 9% reduction in subaqueous bottom impacts, a 51% reduction in non- vegetated mudflat impacts and an 87% reduction in impacts to vegetated wetlands.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The City of Virginia Beach will purchase tidal vegetated wetland credits from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund or an approved wetland mitigation bank that services the area of impact.

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 Virginia Beach Wetlands Board.

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website at and search for 20221939 and click on additional docs to access the permit application and drawings.


(X)    Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).

( )    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 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:

The US Fish and Wildlife IPAC report showed the possible presence of the Northern Long-eared Bat. No trees will be cleared as a result of this proposal therefore there will be no impacts to suitable habitat for the bat. The Corps has determined the work will have no effect on the Northern Long-eared Bat.

The impact areas may provide habitat for the Atlantic and Shortnose sturgeon. The impact waterway is not critical habitat for these species. The impact areas are in the upper portion of the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River and have sandy to muddy bottom which does not provide suitable spawning habitat. If present these species would merely be transiting the area. The Corps has made a determination that the proposed dredging is not likely to adversely affect the Atlantic sturgeon or Shortnose sturgeon. Additional coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service will be undertaken.

Additional information might change any of these findings.


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.

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 Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River contains EFH for the juvenile and adult life stages of 16 species including red hake, Atlantic herring, scup, Atlantic Sharpnose Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, 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 shallow subaqueous water including some mudflat and tidal vegetated wetland impacts. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The proposed work would impact this habitat by deepening portions of it for navigable access. 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 121.12, 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 September 14,2022.

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 Robert Berg via email at or by phone at (757) 201-7793.