March 17, 2023
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:
City of Virginia Beach
Department of Public Works-Engineering
Attn: James D. White, PE
484 Viking Drive, Suite 200
Virginia Beach, VA 23322
PROJECT LOCATION: Croatan Beach, from the south jetty at Rudee Inlet southward to the City’s boundary with Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, VA
PROJECT SIZE: 2,900 linear feet of shoreline
NEAREST WATERWAY: Atlantic Ocean
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 36.824, -75.968
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE: The City of Virginia Beach (City) proposes to construct a beach replenishment (nourishment) project along Croatan Beach by placing approximately 150,000 cubic yards (CY) of sand along approximately 2,900 linear feet of shoreline, to tie into existing submerged grade at approximately -5 feet to -8 feet MLW. The sand material would be obtained from the federal Atlantic Ocean Channel (AOC), as beneficial use of sediment dredged from the AOC as part of a joint Norfolk Harbor Deepening Project being completed by the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Dredging of the AOC will be authorized under a separate process. The purpose of the project is to restore and maintain coastal storm protection to residential structures and infrastructure, restore and enhance public beach recreational usage and safety by increasing beach berm width (advancing shoreline) along the Croatan Beach shoreline. A beach berm would be established at elevation +8 feet relative to Mean Low Water (MLW). No dune restoration nor other activities in the existing dunes are proposed as part of the present project.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION: The Corps previously authorized the beach nourishment project in 2018 allowing for truck hauling of sand to Croatan Beach. The Corps issued a permit modification in 2020 allowing for sand from the Rudee Inlet dredging to be used for the beach nourishment at Croatan Beach. The City determined that truck hauling would have more impacts to the community and the available material may be less similar in grain size to existing beach sediment, which could affect beach performance. The City determined that insufficient material is available within the Rudee Inlet dredging area to construct the entire project, thus supplemental sand would need be to be obtained from an alternate source. In addition, the material from Rudee Inlet is historically placed on the beaches north of Rudee Inlet as part of mechanical bypassing of the net south-to-north longshore transport of sand. The City’s preference is not to interrupt this bypassing process by placing Deposition Area material south on Croatan Beach. Utilizing the AOC navigation channel dredged material would beneficially use that material.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant is not proposing mitigation. Mitigation is generally not required for beach nourishment projects, as these projects merely replace sandy beaches and dunes that have existed at the site and have been lost to acute or chronic erosion. The project would not impact to vegetated or non-vegetated wetlands; therefore, no compensatory mitigation for wetlands impacts would be required.
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.
A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (20230403).
(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: 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 listed species 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.
HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:
Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) are in or near the Corps permit area and could be affected by the proposal. The Corps will be coordinating with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 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 Atlantic Ocean contains EFH for the all life stages of 27 species including, Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Herring, Monkfish, Windowpane Flounder, Clearnose Skate, Witch Flounder, Albacore Tuna, Atlantic Angel Shark, Bluefin Tuna, Common Thresher Shark, Dusky Shark, Sandbar Shark, Skipjack Tuna, Tiger Shark, Yellowfin Tuna, Blacktip Shark, Smoothhound Shark, Atlantic Sharpnose Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Longfin Inshore Squid, Atlantic Mackerel, Bluefish, Atlantic Butterfish, Spiny Dogfish, Scup, Summer Flounder, and Black Sea Bass. The habitat which this project would affect consists of sandy beach and nearshore habitat. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The project would have temporary impacts on EFH during sand placement. After sand placement, some sandy bottom would be replaced with the sandy beach; however, the shift if the shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean would be minor. Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it would 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 caused by the proposed work, the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, and the temporary nature of the action. In addition, we expect that the grain size of the source material used for the beach nourishment would be beach quality sand that is the same size or slightly larger than that of the native beach material and suitable for the proposed project. Based on comments from the NMFS 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: 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. The applicant will be submitting concurrence.
SECTION 408: The Norfolk District Operations Branch has determined that the proposed activity may require permission to alter a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project pursuant to Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1889 (33 U.S.C. 408 (Section 408)). We hereby notify interested parties that we have received and are evaluating this request for permission to alter the federal project. We are soliciting written comments, including any objections to the proposed alteration, stating reasons therefor, from anyone having an interest in the requested alteration. Section 408 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to grant permission for the alteration or occupation or use of a USACE project if the Secretary determines that the activity will not be injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness of the project. Comments specific to this Section 408 review should be submitted directly via email to the Section 408 Team Lead, Katy Damico, at email@example.com, copied to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the Regulatory contact noted in the Comment Period Section below.
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 email@example.com, 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 April 17, 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 Melissa Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attachments: Drawings, SCT, IPAC Species List