8 August 2023
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
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 Craney Island Eastward Expansion (CIEE) project is located in the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, Virginia. Features of the Proposed Action are located in navigation channels between the CIEE project site and the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS), located offshore of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, and the portion of the NODS allocated for dredged material from the CIEE project.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this Proposed Action is to allow for suitable material from the upper ten feet of sediment of the Pre-Dredge and Access Areas of the CIEE project to be disposed of at the NODS due to a lack of capacity at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA) presently and in the near future. Currently, the upper ten feet of material in the Pre-Dredge and Access Areas are to be placed at CIDMMA, as described in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement and 2009 Supplemental Environmental Assessment for the CIEE project.
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 placing the remaining material within the upper ten feet of sediment in the Pre-Dredge and Access Areas of the CIEE project at the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS). This document identifies and evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with the Proposed Action.
The draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment is being coordinated with the following:
• Delaware Nation, Oklahoma
• Delaware Tribe of Indians
• Nansemond Indian Tribe
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
• Pamunkey Indian Tribe
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
• Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR)
• Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ)
• Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR)
• Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
• Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)
OCEAN TRASNPORT AND DISPOSAL OF DREDGED MATERIAL: Pursuant to Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) of 1972 and USACE policy 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 337.1, this Public Notice serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District (Corps) notification relating to proposed transport for the purpose of disposal of suitable dredged material from a phase of dredging the southern portion of the CIEE PRE-Dredge and Access Areas encompassing 3 million cubic yards (MCY) at the NODS. Future construction phases of CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access Channel areas will be evaluated under Section 103 of the MPRSA to determine suitability for ocean placement.
The NODS was designated by the USEPA pursuant to Section 102(c) of MPRSA for the ocean placement of suitable dredged material. The final rule was promulgated by the USEPA on July 2, 1993 (FR. Vol. 58 No. 126), effective July 2, 1993. Dredged material proposed for transport for the purpose of disposal at the NODS must be evaluated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with part 227 of the MPRSA, Section 103 and processed in accordance with 33 CFR 324. The use of NODS is contingent upon USEPA, Region 3 review and concurrence that the dredged material meets MPRSA criteria (40 CFR 227).
The NODS is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 statute miles east of Cape Henry. The center point coordinate of the NODS is latitude 36°59’00” North and longitude 75°39’00” West. The site is circular with a radius of 4 nautical miles and has an area of approximately 50 square nautical miles. Water depth within the NODS ranges from -42 to -85 ft MLLW. The site has unlimited capacity and is designated to provide capacity for long-term management of dredged material from the lower Chesapeake Bay and suitable materials from Norfolk Harbor (USEPA 1992). Any dredged material that passes ocean placement criteria may be placed at the NODS.
Prior to 2008, the NODS was solely used by the U.S. Navy. In August 1993, approximately 51,000 cubic yards (CY) of dredged material from the Naval Supply Center Cheatham Annex and 475,000 CY of dredged material from the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown were placed at the site. Since 2010, other projects that have been recently placed at the NODS include the VDOT – Midtown Tunnel (1,121,642 CY placed October 2013 to October 2014), Joint Base Langley Eustis (JBLE) – Skiffes Creek Channel (128,244 CY placed November 2014 to December 2014), JBLE – Fuel Pier Basin (57,122 CY placed February 2019 to July 2019), the JBLE – Back River Channel (125,723 CY placed February 2019 to July 2019), and Norfolk Harbor Channels 50-ft Maintenance (ongoing). Other projects that have been previously permitted for placement at the NODS include CIEE (24.5 MCY), Yorktown Naval Weapons Station (65,000 CY), Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel Project (1.7 MCY), Cheatham Annex CAD-A Pier (88,000 CY), Naval Weapons Stations Yorktown R3 Pier (110,000 CY), Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project (12.1 MCY), and Portsmouth Marine Terminal (216,737 CY). There have been no documented effects from the authorized discharges that have been made in the placement area.
DREDGED MATERIAL CHARACTERITICS AND COMPOSITION: Sediments proposed for dredging consist of maintenance and new work dredged material in the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access Areas to support this phase of construction. Grain size of the dredged material in the project area is predominantly comprised of silt and clay (ranging from approximately 61.9 to 98.3 percent silt/clay). The dredged material proposed for placement at NODS does not meet the testing exclusionary criteria set forth under 40 CFR 227.13(b). Subsequent dredged material testing of the CIEE project area detected the presence of metals, dioxin/furan congeners, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners were detected in the bulk sediments from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas.
Dredged material from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas was tested for liquid phase, liquid and suspended particulate phase, and solid phase (e.g., benthic toxicity and benthic bioaccumulation) using criteria and procedures developed by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with 40 CFR 220-228. Evaluation of the liquid phase dredged material has determined the material from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas complies with the Limiting Permissible Concentration (LPC) at the NODS and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(1) and 227.27(a)(1). Evaluation of the liquid and suspended particulate phase dredged material has determined the material from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas complies with the LPC at the NODS and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(2) and 227.27(b). Evaluation of the solid phase dredged material has determined the material from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(3) , 227.6(c)(3) and 227.27(b) for placement at the NODS. The dredged material from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas meets the LPC for benthic bioaccumulation and complies with the benthic criteria of 40 CFR Part 227.13 (c)(3) for placement at NODS. The dredged material as described from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access areas meets the MPRSA criteria (40 CFR 227).
ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTATION: The environmental impacts of the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access have been evaluated in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and regulatory documents including: (1) the Final Environmental Impact Statement dated June 2006; (2) the corresponding Record of Decision was executed in August 2007; (3) the Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) dated November 2009; and (4) the draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment that is detailed in this public notice will conclude the environmental documentation for the ocean transport and disposal of dredged material at the NODS from the CIEE Pre-Dredge and Access Areas.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment should be by email (Megan.A.Wood@usace.army.mil) or in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-OT (Wood)), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Sept. 7, 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 Megan Wood at Megan.A.Wood@usace.army.mil or call 757-201-7843.