US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2008-2691/VMRC#12-V0283

Published March 30, 2012
Expiration date: 4/30/2012

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

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

 

APPLICANT
W. David Noble

C/o Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

Code N45, Regional Environmental Group

1510 Gilbert Street

Norfolk, Virginia 23511-2737

 

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The dredging project is located in the York River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, at Pier CAD-A at the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Cheatham Annex in York County, Virginia. The dredged material will be transported to the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS), which is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 miles east of Cape Henry, Virginia.  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. 

 

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to mechanically dredge approximately 65,000 cubic yards (CY) of subaqueous bottom material from designated Areas B, C, D, and E around the L-head of Pier CAD-A at the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex (CAX) in York County, Virginia. The current mission of the CAX includes support for supplying Atlantic Fleet ships and providing recreational opportunities to military and civilian personnel.  Therefore, maintenance dredging is necessary to maintain adequate water depths the berthing areas at Pier CAD-A.  The applicant has requested to conduct three (3) to four (4) maintenance dredging cycles over the next ten (10) years.  Each dredging cycle is anticipated to remove 65,000 CY or less of dredged material, with a 3-4 month construction period.  The dredged material will be placed on barges and transported for placement at the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS) in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 17 miles east of Cape Henry.

 

The dredged material is mainly comprised of alluvial sediments, predominantly fine grain silts and clays (approximately 98% silt plus clay). The designated areas will be dredged to the following maximum water depths (as reference to mean lower low water (MLLW)):

·   Area B will be dredged to a maximum depth, including over dredge depths, of -22 feet MLLW;

·   Area C will be dredged to a maximum depth, including over dredge depths, of -22 feet MLLW;

·   Area D will be dredged to a maximum depth, including over dredge depths, of -37 feet MLLW;

·   Area E will be dredged to a maximum depth, including over dredge depths, of -34 feet MLLW.

 

The NODS is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 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. The NODS has been formally designated for the placement of suitable dredged materials in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 228.1 by the EPA Administrator pursuant to section 102(c) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA).  The only prior use of the NODS was by the U.S. Navy in August 1993.  Approximately 51,000 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.  There have been no documented effects of other authorized discharges that have been made in the placement area.  Other projects approved or under review for future use of the NODS include the Craney Island Eastward Expansion (CIEE) project and the Midtown Tunnel project.

 

Maintenance dredged material proposed for dredging consists of alluvium material.  Grain size of the dredged material is predominantly silt and clay material.  The dredged material proposed for placement at NODS does not meet the testing exclusionary criteria set forth under 40 CFR 227.13(b).  Dredged material testing detected the presence of cyanide, ammonia as nitrogen, several metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxins at the site.  Dredged material was tested for liquid phase, liquid and suspended particulate phase, and solid phase using criteria and procedures developed by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with 40 CFR 227.13(c) and 227.32.  Evaluation of the liquid phase has determined the material complies with the Limiting Permissible Concentration (LPC) and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(2) and 227.27(a)(1).  Evaluation of the liquid and suspended particulate phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(3) and 227.27(b).  Evaluation of the solid phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(3) and 227.27(b).  Accordingly, the proposed dredged material from the Naval Supply Center Cheatham Annex, CAD-A Pier Slips meets the Ocean Disposal Criteria (40 CFR 227).

 

This public notice also satisfies the requirements of Section 225.2 of MPRSA.  Dredged materials proposed for transport for the purpose of discharge in open waters must be evaluated and permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with part 227 of MPRSA and processed in accordance with 33 CFR 209.120.  As part of the Corps’ Regulatory review process, we are requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency - Region III make an independent evaluation and determination of compliance with the criteria for the proposed ocean placement of dredged material at the NODS.   

 

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit/401 certification from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  Project drawings are attached.

 

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, and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1413; 33 CFR part 324) which is otherwise known as the Ocean Dumping Act (ODA).

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 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" 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 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 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.

 

Preliminary review indicates that:  (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) no species of fish, wildlife, or plant (or their critical habitat) listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205) will be affected; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal.  Additional information might change any of these findings.  For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal zone (Tidewater) will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Resources Management Program (VCP). For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable programs of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: elirons@deq.virginia.gov.

 

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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).  The York River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the life stages of 12 species including whiting (Merluccius bilinearis, windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralicthys dentatus), black sea bass (Centropristus striata), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops occelatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), and the sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus).  The York River is also designated as a Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) for the sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus).  The habitat that this project would affect consists of subaqueous bottom only with an average ambient depth of -8.0 feet to -37.0 or more feet at MLLW.  The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above.  Any recognized change in the EFH will be limited to the proposed deepening by mechanically dredging to depths ranging from -22.0 feet to -37.0 feet at MLLW.  The depths in remainder of the waterway will not be affected.  No submerged aquatic or vegetated wetlands will be impacted.   Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it will 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, minimal impacts on anadromous fish spawning habitat, and the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation.  Based on comments from the NOAA Fisheries Service in response to this public notice, further EFH consultation may be necessary.

 

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  Katy Damico, CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096 or via email at katy.r.damico@usace.army.mil , and should be received by the close of business on APRIL 30, 2012.

 

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 permit process, contact, please contact Katy Damico either via telephone at (757) 201-7121 or via email at katy.r.damico@usace.army.mil.

 

 

FOR THE DISTRICT COMMANDER:

 

 

 

                                                                        Lynette R. Rhodes

                                                                        Chief, Southern Virginia

                                                                        Regulatory Section

 

Attachment: Drawings