The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
c/o Commander Navy Mid-Atlantic Region
Code N-45, Regional Environmental Group
1510 Gilbert Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23511
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located at Naval Station Norfolk in Willoughby Bay in Norfolk, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to remove vegetation that exceeds the height tolerances allowed under Navy and FAA regulations from four separate project areas (A, B, C, & D) located within the Approach/Departure Clearance Surface and Inner Horizontal Surfaces.
This permit application is being presented for the conversion of approximately 58,024-sqft/1.332-ac of forested wetlands to herbaceous wetlands. Work within each project area will be completed using Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Best Management Practices (BMP’s). Vegetation removal will be completed using manual, mechanical, and herbicides. Within wetlands, trees exceeding the height restrictions will be flush-cut with the ground and the stumps left in place. All vegetation that is cleared within wetlands will be removed and disposed of in upland areas. The permanent conversion impacts to the approximately 1.332-acres of forested wetlands that could not be avoided or minimized will be compensated at a 1:1 ratio. In accordance with the USACE Virginia Off-Site Mitigation Location Guidelines (March 5, 2008), wetland compensation will be achieved through purchase of wetland mitigation credits from an approved mitigation bank in the subject watershed (HUC 02080208).
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, as well as a permit from the Norfolk 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 US Army 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 Army 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) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, no listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended) will be affected. Based on this no-effect determination, no further coordination with the US Fish and Wildlife Service is required; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion 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 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). We have not received a certification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review 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 here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert. For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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). Willoughby Bay contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the juvenile and adult life stages of various species including 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), and Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril). The habitat which this project would affect consists of intertidal wetlands. 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. 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, US Army Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Oct. 6, 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, contact Stephen Decker, 757-201-7832, or firstname.lastname@example.org .
FOR THE DISTRICT COMMANDER:
Eastern Virginia Regulatory Section