July 28, 2023
Proposed Reissuance of the Norfolk District Regional (General) Permit 15
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Norfolk District (Corps) Regulatory Branch is proposing the reissuance of Regional Permit 15 (RP-15). RP-15 authorizes the maintenance of existing
drainage ditches originally constructed in and previously authorized in navigable waters and waters of the United States for either mosquito control purposes or to maintain drainage from upland areas for the purposes of storm water management. The Corps issues RPs for a category of activities in Virginia that would result in minimal environmental impacts and are not contrary to the public interest. Additionally, RPs can improve regulatory consistency, enhance program efficiency, avoid duplication with other agencies, and simplify the permitting process for the regulated public. RP-15 is currently in effect but will expire on September 5, 2023. The current permit is available at: https://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/RBregional.aspx.
The Corps proposes to reissue RP-15 for five (5) years without modification. The proposed permit in its entirety is included with this Notice.
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 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 RP 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 RP. 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 completed 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: email@example.com.
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 RP. 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 reissuance of RP-15 should be in writing and can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail, addressed to the USACE Norfolk District, (ATTN: Emily Brooks), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510, and should be received by the close of business on August 29, 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 or the general permit process, contact Ms. Emily Brooks by telephone at (757) 201-7048 or email at email@example.com.