NAO-2022-00415 (State Programmatic General Permit, 23-SPGP-PASDO, Virginia)

Published Feb. 27, 2023
Expiration date: 3/30/2023

February 27, 2023
23-SPGP-PASDO (NAO-2022-00415)

23-SPGP- Pier, Aquaculture, Shoreline, Dredging, and Other (PASDO)

The original public notice for this proposed State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) was published on October 17, 2022. The revised 23-SPGP-PASDO is attached for public comment and includes the following changes:

  1. The addition of three categories of activities.
  1. Category A: Reporting only and non-reporting activities for the Corps. Written verification from the Corps is not required before proceeding with the proposed work.
  2. Category B: Reporting for federal review. Activities that fall within Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and/or Local Wetland Board (LWB) jurisdiction and will also be reviewed by those agencies for compliance with Virginia code and regulation.
  3. Category C: Reporting for Corps review. Activities that do not fall within VMRC and/or LWB jurisdiction and will be reviewed by the Corps only.
  4. Under both Categories B and C, the Corps will complete a federal review and will provide the applicant with written verification once the Corps has  determined that the project meets the criteria of the 23-SPGP-PASDO.
  5. In an effort to improve efficiencies and avoid duplication of review, the Corps will consider the VMRC and/or LWB efforts to ensure the project avoids, minimizes, and mitigates impacts for projects under Category B.
  6. The Corps maintains the right to perform a complete review for any project under Category B.
  1. The addition of Appendix I: Permit specific criteria. The criteria are based on permit specific conditions within the current Regional Permits 02, 17, 18, and 19.
  1. The addition of Appendix II: Category A criteria form for pier structures. The criteria are based on the existing Regional Permit 17 checklist.
  1. The abandoned vessel activity has been removed from this SPGP.
  1. The informative sign activity has been added to this SPGP.
  1. The listing of activities covered under Category A:
  1. Pier structures that meet the criteria in Appendix II: If the criteria are met and the signed form is included with the JPA, the project is authorized by the 23-SPGP-PASDO and no further authorization will be required from the Corps. (Reporting only)
  1. Noncommercial riparian shellfish aquaculture structures: The structures must not exceed 160 square feet, the activity is strictly noncommercial, the structures will not adversely impact navigation or submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), and the permittee has obtained a VMRC General Permit #3. If the above criteria are met, the project is authorized by the 23-SPGP-PASDO and no further authorization will be required from the Corps. (Non-reporting)
  1. This 23-SPGP-PASDO will replace Regional Permits 02, 17, 18, and 19.

Link to original public notice:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Norfolk District (Corps) proposes the issuance of a 2022 State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The SPGP authorizes certain pier, aquaculture, shoreline, dredging, and other (PASDO) activities in tidal or non-tidal waters of the United States (WOTUS), including wetlands, within the geographical limits of the Commonwealth of Virginia and under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Corps. The purpose of the SPGP is to reduce duplicative review for activity-specific projects where local, state, and federal regulations overlap regulatory purview. The SPGP will provide streamlined review of permit applications processed by the Corps, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and/or Local Wetland Boards (LWB), and the Virginia Department of Environmental (VDEQ).

This public notice is soliciting comments on the proposed issuance of the 22-SPGP- PASDO permit authorization. The 23-SPGP-PASDO will authorize activities that are currently authorized under a variety of the Corps’ Nationwide Permits and the Norfolk District’s Regional Permits, which can be accessed from our website: .

The authorized activities include the following:

A.    Piers and Other Structures:
1.    Open-pile piers and other structures
2.    Mooring structures/buoys, pilings, aids to navigation, fender piles, osprey poles

B.    Aquaculture or Mariculture:
1.    Aquaculture and mariculture 

C.    Shoreline Stabilization Activities:
1.    Living shorelines 
2.    Low breakwaters and associated sandy fill material
3.    Bulkheads, revetments, and associated backfill and/or excavation
4.    Groins, jetties, spurs and/or baffles, and associated sandy fill material

D.    Dredging Activities:
1.    Maintenance Dredging for Previously Authorized Projects (including federal channel projects)
2.    New Dredging
3.    Discharges of Dredged Material 

E.    Other Activities:
1.    Boat ramps and accessory structures
2.    Informative signs

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to 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.

FEDERAL EVALUATION:  The decision whether to issue this general permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the authorized activities 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 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 classification, 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" (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act) will also be applied. 

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties 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 the SPGP in 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 pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest in the SPGP. Anyone may request a public hearing to consider these general permits 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.

Preliminary review indicates that: (1) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) Endangered Species Act (ESA) review will be done on an individual project basis and in accordance with the Corps ESA project review process; (3) Section 106 review for properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places will be performed on an individual project basis and in accordance with the Corps Section 106 project review process; (4) Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) review will be done on an individual project basis and in accordance with the Corps EFH project review process; and (5) Section 408 review will be done on an individual basis and in accordance with the Corps Section 408 review process.

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 Corps must certify that federally  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). The Corps will be submitting a consistency certification review request to the OEIR for concurrence or objection.  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:

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 assuring that a discharge from a Federally licensed or permitted activity will comply with water quality requirements. For compliance with the Virginia Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program, the Corps must obtain, from the Virginia DEQ, a CWA Section 401 certification for the proposed SPGP.  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 accordance with Certification Rule part 121.12, the Corps will notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator when it receives the related certification from the DEQ. The Administrator is responsible for determining if 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 the proposed issuance of the revised 23-SPGP-PASDO should be in writing and can be sent by email to or by regular mail, addressed to the USACE Norfolk District, (ATTN:  Nancy Davis), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510, and should be received by the close of business on March 30, 2023.

PRIVACY & 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 the proposed 23-SPGP-PASDO or the general permit process, contact Ms. Nancy Davis by telephone at 757-677-6298 or email at

Proposed revised 23-SPGP-PASDO permit
Appendix I 23-SPGP-PASDO Permit Specific Criteria
Appendix II 23-SPGP-PASDO Category A Criteria for Pier Structures