US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2008-01491

Published Feb. 28, 2013
Expiration date: 3/29/2013

The District Commander has received a permit application for work described below:

APPLICANT
Perdue Agribusiness Inc.
501 Barnes Road
Chesapeake, VA  23324

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, a tributary to the Elizabeth River, in Chesapeake, Virginia, approximately 0.30 miles south of the Jordan Bridge. [LAT/LON = 36.80316137, -76.28908070]

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  Perform mechanical dredging operations in the areas shown in the attached drawings. Increase the currently permitted depths (ranging from 39’ to 42’ in NAO-2008-01491, VMRC #08-V0525) to a new maximum depth of 43’. This operation will include of the removal of 25,083 cubic yards of material covering 5.18 acres of subaqueous bottom.  The spoil material is to be deposited in the Craney Island Rehandling Basin.

Perdue has recently brokered a deal to import and export product on larger vessels at their facility in Chesapeake, Virginia. In order to accommodate these vessels, the previously approved dredge limits and dredge depths will need to be modified. Below is a summary of the proposed modifications to the dredge limits and depths for each of the piers.

Loading Pier:  The dredge limits (area) for the loading pier have remained the same in the permit that is being submitted. Perdue is requesting that the allowable dredge depth be changed from 39’ to a maximum of 43’.

Unloading Pier:  The limits and dredge depth of the unloading pier will need to be modified in order to accommodate the vessels that Perdue intends to dock at their facility. The vessels which are scheduled to dock at the unloading pier are approximately 625' long by 110' wide and draft up to 40' when fully loaded. These bulk carrier cargo vessels have up to 5 internal compartments where product is stored. Below is a list of modifications from the existing permit:

- Dredge depth to be increased to a maximum depth of 43' below mean low water.
- Western dredge limits to be increased to 115' in order to accommodate the width of these vessels.
- Northern dredge limits to be increased to 250' from the face of the pier in order to accommodate the unloading of the vessels.

Dredge Operations:  Operation shall be performed with the use of a floating crane barge sufficient in size to utilize a 2 cubic yard (+/-) clam shell bucket. A tide gauge will be installed to ensure that dredge depths are properly adjusted and soundings shall be taken at normal intervals to ensure the dredge depths are maintained. The dredge bucket shall be lowered to the river bottom and then raised from the bottom and then placed into the hopper barge for disposal. Once the hopper barge is full, the barge will be transported to Craney Island Rehandling Basin in Portsmouth, Virginia where the unloading operation shall commence.


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.

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 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 and (2) 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.  (3) The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) has listed the Chesapeake Bay distinct population segment (DPS) of the Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205).   As the listed Atlantic sturgeon also has the potential to be found in the vicinity of the project site, informal Section 7 consultation to evaluate potential impacts from the project will be initiated with NOAA.   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) and managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service will be affected. No further coordination with Fish and Wildlife Service is required due to a no effect determination by the Corps. 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 Marine Fisheries Service 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 is designated as essential fish habitat (EFH) for 12 federally managed species [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 ocellatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus), Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril)].  The habitat which this project would affect consists of estuarine deepwater tidal areas ranging in depths of 38’ - 40’ below mean low water as currently managed around the piers of the facility.  The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above.  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.  As the project is located within Anadromous Fish Use Areas as designated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the permit will be conditioned with a February 15-June 30 time of year restriction (TOYR). 

Our rationale for this preliminary determination is based on the expected short-term nature of the direct impacts/minimal increases in turbidity/changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work/the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat/ existing poor water quality/unsuitable substrate.   

Based on comments from the National Marine 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:  CENAO-WR-R Tucker Smith), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on March 29, 2013.

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 Tucker Smith at 757-201-7320 or tucker.smith@usace.army.mil.

FOR THE DISTRICT COMMANDER:

Kimberly A. Prisco-Baggett
Chief, Eastern Virginia
Regulatory Section

Attachment: Drawings