Published Aug. 14, 2014
Expiration date: 9/12/2014

The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:

Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic
Attn: Elizabeth A. Nashold
Code N45, Regional Environmental Group
1510 Gilbert Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23511-2737

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in the Chesapeake Bay a tributary to the Atlantic Ocean, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, JEB Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The U.S. Department of the Navy is proposing to repair damage and provide additional shoreline protection to the Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek-Fort Story, JEB Fort Story shoreline in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The proposed action would replenish sand along approximately 2,500 linear feet (lf) of shoreline and replenish sand and reshape the existing dunes at the Omaha Beach training area; replenish sand along approximately 1,300 lf of shoreline across from the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) building; and, replenish sand along approximately 370 lf of shoreline north and east of Building 734 at the northern terminus of Leyte Road.  Sand for the beaches would be dredged, using either a hopper dredge or cutterhead dredge, from one or more federal navigation channels located near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, including the Atlantic Ocean Channel and the portions of the Cape Henry and Thimble Shoals channels east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) (U.S. 13). All dredging within the channels will be limited to the congressionally authorized depths and dimensions of each channel. Potential borrow source areas within the Thimble Shoals channel include the main channel and two 450 feet-wide auxiliary channels on either side of the main channel.

The purpose of the proposed action is to protect the installation from erosion-related damage such as destruction of valuable resources and assets, including installation infrastructure, historic resources, training areas, and rare terrestrial habitats and the proposed action would provide a greater level of protection for infrastructure, facilities, and training areas vital to JEB Fort Story and the Navy/Army mission from coastal flooding, currents, and wave action. The proposed action is also needed to repair shoreline damage caused by Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the November 2009 nor’easter, and other coastal storms such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, as well as to slow the continuing erosion occurring at the site.

The Navy considered 11 different design alternatives, including a No Action alternative.  They considered sand replenishment with the placement of multiple stone breakwaters.  They also considered full replenishment of the beaches as well as construction of groins, extension of the breakwater field to the west and alternate sand sources.     

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 and a permit from the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board.  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.

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:  (1) No environmental impact statement will be required; (2) The Navy, as the lead federal agency completed formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Biological Opinions were issued in July 2012 and on October 16, 2012 for impacts to federally listed threatened or endangered species.  NMFS has indicated that no further coordination is required at this time.  The Navy has completed formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Navy received concurrence with their biological assessment for federally listed species on November 8, 2011; and (3) The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has concurred with the Navy’s” No Adverse Affect” determination upon historic resources.  Additional information might change any of these findings. 

For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, 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 Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). The Navy received a Federal Consistency Determination on Sept. 12, 2013. 

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 Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the eggs, larval, juvenile, and/or adult life stages of the following species:  red hake (Urophycis chuss), witch flounder (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), Atlantic sea herring (Clupea harengus),monkfish (Lophius americanus) bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralicthys dentatus), scup (Stenotomus chrysops), black sea bass (Centropristus striata), spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), dusky shark (Charcharinus obscurus), sandbar shark (Charcharinus plumbeus), sand tiger shark (Odontaspis taurus), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvieri), Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizopriondon terraenovae), scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril), Clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria), Little Skate (Raja erinacea), winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata).  Impacts resulting from the dredging include complete removal of benthos and other direct effects to the benthos, increased turbidity, and possible entrainment/impingement of managed species on the intake screens of the hopper or cuttterhead dredge. Habitat within the intertidal areas along the shoreline where the beach nourishment will occur would be temporarily affected.  The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above.  The Navy has completed consultation with NMFS for EFH and in an October 13, 2013 letter, NMFS concurred with the Navy’s assessment that the beach nourishment along three portions of the JEB Ft. Story shoreline will not have a substantial adverse effect on EFH or the Habitat area of particular concern (HAPC) for sandbar shark.  NMFS has identified EFH Conservation Recommendations, which include: (1) Conduct pre- and post-dredge hydrographic surveys; (2) Dredge shoals to authorized depths within the limits of the main federal navigation channels to the extent practicable before dredging material from the two Thimble Shoals auxiliary channels; (3) Utilize operational techniques and best management practices during hopper and cutter head dredging to reduce the extent and duration of turbidity plumes and entrainment/impingement of species. Practices include placing the drag head as close to the bottom as practical and turning off the suction before the cutterhead is lifted from the sediment; (4) Utilize no more than 5 pump-out stations/buoys positioned approximately 2,500 ft apart along the project area to be nourished; and (5) Utilize baffle plate, spreader pipes, pocket pipes or similar apparatus at the discharge end of the pipeline and construct temporary longitudinal dikes to help control sand placement along the beach, prevent erosion and reduce turbidity.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be made in writing, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Sept. 12, 2014.

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, please contact Melissa Nash at 757-201-7489 or


                                                            Lynette R. Rhodes
                                                            Chief, Southern Virginia
                                                            Regulatory Section