Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment, Deep Creek Navigation Channel and Harbor, Newport News, Virginia

Published April 11, 2023
Expiration date: 5/11/2023

April 11, 2023


The USACE-Norfolk District has prepared a draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment to assess the potential impacts for work described below:

LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The Deep Creek Navigation Channel is within the Deep Creek tidal estuary and tributary of the James River in Newport News, Virginia. The Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA) is located in Portsmouth, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The Proposed Action consists of maintenance dredging the entrance channel and main harbor of the Deep Creek Navigation Channel to a maximum depth of -12 ft MLLW. The entrance channel is 100 feet wide, extending from the James River for approximately 9,000 ft to the main harbor. The main harbor width varies from 400 ft to 740 ft and is 1,940 feet in length to a point near Parker’s Landing. The inner harbor, which is upstream from the main harbor, will be dredged to a maximum depth of -10 ft MLLW and is 300 ft wide and 600 ft long. These dredging depths account for up to 4 feet of paid and non-paid overdepth consistent with the USACE policy for paid allowable overdepth (i.e., 2 feet), and federal technical guidance for non-pay allowable overdepth for mechanical dredging (i.e., 2 feet). The dredging will be conducted by a mechanical dredge and/or Government-owned special purpose dredges (i.e., Currituck and Murden) with dredged material to be disposed of at the CIDMMA. Dredged material may be either hydraulically conveyed (e.g., pumped) via pipeline from the scow to the upland containment cells at CIDMMA, or disposed by a bottom-dump barge/scow into the Craney Island Rehandling Basin. Future maintenance cycles are estimated to occur every five to ten years with an estimated volume of 140,000 cy of maintenance material for each cycle. Future maintenance cycles are also projected to be disposed of at the CIDMMA.

SCOPE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: Under the requirements of Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this proposed project constitutes a major federal action, and an SEA is therefore required. This SEA has been prepared pursuant to NEPA and its implementing regulations.

The purpose of this SEA is to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts associated with maintenance dredging operations within the Deep Creek Navigation Channel and placement of dredged material at the CIDMMA. The scope of dredging for the Deep Creek Navigation Channel has not changed since the 1979 EA, this SEA will update the assessment of the impacts related to dredging and assess the impacts related to dredged material placement at the CIDMMA, which was not included in the original EA.

The draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment is being coordinated with the following agencies:

  • Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency (USFWS)
  • Nansemond Indian Nation
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • NOAA - National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
  • Pamunkey Indian Tribe
  • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR)
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ)
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
  • Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR)
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
  • Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)

ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTATION:  The environmental impacts of the Deep Creek Navigation Channel maintenance dredging have been evaluated in NEPA and regulatory documents including the Final Environmental Assessment dated June 1979 and the draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment that is detailed in this public notice. These documents will conclude the environmental documentation for the maintenance dredging of the Deep Creek Navigation Channel and dredged material placement at the CIDMMA.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment should be by email (Javierann.F.Wright@usace.army.mil) or in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-OT (Wright)), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on May 11, 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 this project, contact Javier Wright at Javierann.F.Wright@usace.army.mil or call 757-201-7890.