NAO-2011-00400 (Colonial National Historic Park, Yorktown, Virginia)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published Dec. 6, 2022
Expiration date: 1/5/2023

December 6, 2022        
NAO-2011-00400 / JPA No. 22-V2107

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

Jerri Marr, Superintendent
National Park Service
Colonial National Historic Park
1000 Colonial Parkway
Yorktown, Virginia 23690

PROJECT LOCATION:  The project is located along Colonial Parkway in York County on the southside of Indian Field Creek extending downstream 3200 linear feet. 

PROJECT SIZE: 3200 linear feet of shoreline


LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 37.2652°N; -76.5518°W

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to stabilize approximately 3200 linear feet of eroding shoreline by integrating a living shoreline design with stone sills and marsh creation, stone spurs, and reinforcing existing revetments for the purpose of protecting Colonial Parkway and known cultural resources, protecting and enhancing marsh and beach shoreline habitat, and improving water quality by reducing sediment loads into the York River.

Total impacts to vegetated tidal wetlands are 3,682 square feet, non-vegetated tidal wetlands impacts are 60,534 square feet, subaqueous impacts are calculated at 26,915 square feet, and vegetated non-tidal wetlands are 295 square feet.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  In 2010, the NPS prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) that considered a range of alternatives including bulkheads, headland breakwaters, revetments, sills and spurs. The EA concluded that much of the shoreline could be protected by re-building existing revetments, while addressing previously untreated areas by accentuating existing geomorphic features and existing marsh fringes through the use of sills and spur structures.  The proposed design has adopted this strategy, specifically the reconstruction/reconfiguration of existing structures within their limits.  This approach results in avoidance and minimization of impacts to existing, adjacent wetland habitats. The strategic placement of new rock sills and spurs will serve to protect existing pocket beaches and wetlands, therefore reducing impacts that could occur from continued erosion. In addition, sand fill is mostly being added in eroded areas to match existing wetland habitat elevations, and then sprigged with select marsh grasses. Existing pocket beaches will be enhanced with coarser grained sand that will sit on a slightly steeper slope that ties into adjacent eroding land.  These enhanced beaches provide habitat and will dissipate wave energy while eliminating the existing vertical scarps currently found in the backshore areas.  Backshore areas will be planted with saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens, =Sporobolus pumilus).

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The proposed project provides a living shoreline approach. The completed project will result in 6,577 square feet of planted marsh habitat, 15,587 square feet of non-vegetated marsh, 18,187 square feet of non-vegetated sandy backshore, 27,721 square feet of vegetated backshore, and 16,791 square feet of rocky intertidal habitat.  The proposed “impacts” are necessary to establish a naturally resilient estuarine edge that can accommodate storm impacts and sea level rise through the conversion of the existing, eroding habitats to a continuum of habitats along a gradual shoreline transition from shallow water to upland, which  effectively dissipates erosive wave energy.  In addition, NPS will be eradicating stands of common reed (Phragmites australis), an invasive species that occurs in three discrete areas totaling 1 ac within the project area.  Because the project represents an ecological improvement to the wetland habitats along the shoreline reach and improves the long term resilience of these habitats against sea level rise and storm attack, further compensatory mitigation is not proposed. 

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 York County Wetlands Board. 

A copy of the joint permit application 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: In accordance with 50 CFR 402.07, NPS was designated as the lead Federal agency for consultation with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concerning potential effects to Federally listed threatened and endangered species. The Corps has authorized NPS to conduct Section 7 Endangered Species Act coordination on its behalf and are awaiting the results.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES: According to 36 CFR 800.2(a)(2), NPS was designated as the lead federal agency to fulfill the collective Federal responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Corps has authorized NPS to conduct Section 106 coordination on its behalf, including any required tribal coordination. On October 25, 2022, NPS provided concurrence they received from VDHR that the project will have no adverse effect on historic properties.

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 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). The Corps has designated NPS as the lead Federal agency for consultation on its behalf as required under Section 305(b)(2) of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and are awaiting the results.

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 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule (Certification Rule, 40 CFR 121), effective September 11, 2020, requires certification, or waiver, for any license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge. The scope of a CWA Section 401 certification is limited to ensuring that a discharge from a Federally licensed or permitted activity will comply with water quality requirements. To comply with the Virginia Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program and the Certification Rule, the applicant is responsible for adhering to the procedures outlined in the Certification Rule when requesting certification from the certifying authority, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. In accordance with Certification Rule part 121.12, the Corps will notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator when it has received a Department of the Army (DA) permit application and the related certification. The Administrator is responsible for determining whether the discharge may affect water quality in a neighboring jurisdiction. The DA permit may not be issued pending the conclusion of the Administrator’s determination of effects on neighboring jurisdictions.

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 January 5, 2023. 

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 at 757-201-7579 or