NAO-2022-01498 (VA3 Data Center, Loudon County, Virginia)

Published Feb. 3, 2023
Expiration date: 3/4/2023

February 3, 2023
NAO-2022-01498/VMRC 22-1943 


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

Vantage Data Centers VA3, LLC
2820 Northwestern Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95051   

PROJECT LOCATION: The VA3 Data Center Campus project is located west of Belmont Ridge Road (Route 659) and south of Harry Byrd Highway (State Route 7), Loudoun County, Virginia

PROJECT SIZE:  The project includes 134 acres.  

NEAREST WATERWAY: The project intersects with unnamed tributaries to Goose Creek.  Goose Creek is within the Potomac River Basin, Hydrologic Unit Code 02070008.

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: latitude 39.07975 and longitude -77.5065

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to construct a large-scale data center campus, a utility pumping station, and a portion of Russell Branch Parkway.  The proposed project will result in impacts to 1.38 acres of palustrine forested wetlands (PFO), 0.53 acre of palustrine emergent wetland (PEM), 0.07 acre of palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands (PSS), and 3,551 linear feet of stream channel. Additionally, temporary impacts consist of 52 linear feet of stream channel.


Offsite alternatives considered: Land currently zoned for data centers; property allowing a minimum of 125 to 150 acres in size for specific square feet of data center space; specific building height limitations; minimized environmental impacts; minimal parking needed; and existing major utility services.  In addition, the site would need to be zoned for the specific needs of the applicant.

Onsite Alternatives are limited by the Goose Creek Scenic Buffer that bisects the property. The two interior crossings over the perennial stream channel bisecting the site are required for emergency access purposes. Aside from those crossings, the applicant focused on avoiding the main stream channel to the greatest extent practicable by re-arranging the proposed stormwater ponds. In addition, retaining walls were considered and implemented where practicable, specifically or the building footprint located in the northeastern portion of the site.

For further details on onsite and offsite alternatives please refer to the JPA located at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s link below.


The applicant proposes to compensate for the loss of 1.98 acres of jurisdictional wetlands through the purchase of 3.40 wetland credits from the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank.

The applicant proposes to compensate for the permanent loss of 3,551 linear feet of stream channel, through the assignment and purchase of 4,335 Compensation Credits (CCs) from The Nature Conservancy of Virginia.

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 Loudoun County Wetlands Board.

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (hyperlink).


( )        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 the Northern Long-eared Bat under the ESA of 1973. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Information and Planning and Consultation (IPaC) Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by the FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

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.

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).

There is no EFH in the Corps area of responsibility.

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:

No concurrence is required because the project is not located within Virginia’s Coastal Zone.

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 Corps of Engineers, 10300 Spotsylvania Avenue, Suite 230, Fredericksburg, VA 22408, and should be received by the close of business March 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 MS. Regna Bronson via email or phone 540-682-9552.

Vicinity Map
Permit plan
USFWS Official Species list
Species conclusion table