NAO-2022-00788 (NNSY Reconstruct Berths 40 and 41, Portsmouth, Virginia)

Published Sept. 12, 2023
Expiration date: 10/13/2023

September 12, 2023     


The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:

CAPT James P. Mosman, Commanding Officer
Norfolk Naval Shipyard
1500 Pennock St, 6th Floor
Portsmouth, VA 23709

PROJECT LOCATION:  Berths 40 and 41 are located at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Portsmouth, Virginia.

PROJECT SIZE: The proposed project area encompasses approximately 2 acres.

NEAREST WATERWAY: Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 36.812239, -76.29729

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  Berths 40 and 41 are operational facilities supporting utilities, capstans, and crane rails for Dry Dock 8.  The US Navy is proposing to remove the open-pile wharfs at Berths 40 and 41 and reconstruct these facilities as enclosed wharf systems in the same location.  Due to the presence of elevated concentrations of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH), oil and grease, and other anthropogenic chemical constituents (metals and PCBs), construction will include a variety of measures to (a) control resuspension of contaminated sediments during construction to prevent redeposition within the waterway, (b) remove contaminated sediments by dredging where operationally feasible and (c) isolate contaminated sediments from the aquatic environment with structural means where removal is not feasible.  Isolation of the contaminated sediments under the berth structures would provide permanent long-term protection for water quality and removes the exposure pathway to aquatic life/receptors in the immediate vicinity of the wharves.  Dredged materials will be managed, during dredging activities, during transport, and at the placement site, to protect water quality.  Dredged materials will be transported by barge to the Weanack facility, located on the James River in Charles City County, dried and treated, then transported to the Charles City County landfill for final deposition.

Impacts to waters of the US will include the following –

Temporary impacts – 2,140 square feet associated with 578 linear feet of containment wall/cofferdam, 12,219 square feet of dredging to remove 10,000 cubic yards of materials, and 525 square feet of mooring and pin piles for construction support.

Permanent impacts – 2563 square feet of clean sand fill, 1635 square feet associated with 378 linear feet of new bulkheading, 13 supporting pilings totaling 52 square feet, 98 square feet of fending pilings, and 12,771 square feet of clean fill beneath Berths 40 and 41 (11,093 cubic yards).

The Navy is designated Lead Federal Agency.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  The Navy will implement multiple best management practices to minimize effects to the aquatic environment such as use of a turbidity curtain, use of a sacrifice sand layer, and installation of a temporary cofferdam during demolition and construction as well as spill control measures during transport of dredged materials.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The Navy proposes to compensate for permanent fill impacts to 17,441 square feet (0.40 acre) of jurisdictional deep-water habitat through the purchase of 0.10 compensatory credits (0.25:1 ratio) from the Coastal Virginia Conservancy.

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (VMRC) by searching for Application Number 2023-1975.


(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.

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: The US Navy has made the preliminary determination that:

the proposed action may affect but is not likely to adversely affect listed/proposed/candidate 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 permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.  On May 24, 2022, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources determined that the project would have an effect of historic resources but that the effect will not be adverse.

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 Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River contains EFH for the various life stages of 9 species including Atlantic herring, red hake, clearnose skate, windowpane flounder, Sandbar shark, bluefish, Atlantic butterfish, summer flounder, and black sea bass.  The waterway is designated as a habitat area of particular concern (HAPC) for sandbar shark and summer flounder.

This project would affect deep water habitat located in the immediate vicinity of Dry Dock 8.  The substrate mainly consists of fine-grained sediment like silt and clay with anthropogenic constituents such as TPH and PCBs.

The US Navy has made a preliminary determination that there will be no substantial adverse effect to EFH. A Species Conclusion Table is attached for review and comment by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Additional information may change any of these findings.

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:

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:

The applicant has not submitted concurrence.

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.

The applicant has obtained a Section 401 Water Quality Certification waiver from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to, 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 October 13, 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, please contact Ms. Traycie West,, or 757-201-7179.

Location Maps
Permit Drawings
Species Conclusion Tables