NAO-2014-0044 Camp Pendelton Danger Zone

Published Dec. 22, 2014
Expiration date: 1/21/2015

The district commander has received the request as described below:

Commanding Officer, Fort Picket, VA
Attn: MAJ Paul Gravely
Building 472|
Fort Picket
Blackstone, Virginia 23824

The proposal is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 1.5 miles south of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Department of the Army is requesting the Corps of Engineers establish a permanent danger zone published at 33 CFR §334, “Atlantic Ocean south of entrance to Chesapeake Bay off Camp Pendleton, Virginia; firing range” as follows:

(a) The danger zone.  An area directly from Camp Pendleton extending offshore as denied by lines drawn as follows: Beginning at latitude 36°49'00" N., longitude 75°58'04" W; thence to latitude 36°49'19" N., longitude 75°57'41" W;  thence to latitude 36°49'21" N., longitude 75°57'32" W;  thence to latitude 36°49'13" N., longitude 75°56'44" W;  thence to latitude 36°49'22" N., longitude 75°55'48" W;  thence to latitude 36°49'12" N., longitude 75°55'46" W;  thence to latitude 36°49'02" N., longitude 75°55'45" W;  thence to latitude 36°48'52" N., longitude 75°55'45" W;  thence to latitude 36°48'54" N., longitude 75°56'42" W;  thence to latitude 36°48'41" N., longitude 75°57'28" W;  thence to latitude 36°48'41" N., longitude 75°57'37" W;  thence to latitude 36°48'57" N., longitude 75°58'04" W.

(b) The regulations. 

 (1) Persons and vessels shall proceed through the area with caution and shall remain therein no longer than necessary for purpose of transit.   

(2) When firing is in progress during daylight hours, red flags will be displayed at conspicuous locations on the beach.  No firing will be done during the hours of darkness or low visibility.

(3) Firing on the ranges shall be suspended as long as any persons or vessels are within the danger zone. 

 (4) Lookout posts shall be manned by the activity or agency operating the firing range State Military Reservation, Camp Pendleton.

(5)  There shall be no firing on the range during periods of low visibility which would prevent the recognition of a vessel (to a distance of 7,500 yards) which is property displaying navigation lights, or which would preclude a vessel from observing the red range flags or lights.

(c) Enforcement.  The regulations in this section shall be enforced by the Adjutant General of Virginia, and such agencies as he may designate.

This request is being considered pursuant to 40 Statute 266 (33 U.S.C. § 1) and 33 CFR §334.

The decision whether to create the danger zone 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 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) 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 Fish and Wildlife Service is required; and (3) there are known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, however they are not likely be affected by the proposal.  Additional information might change any of these findings. 

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 Atlantic Ocean contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the juvenile and adult life stages of twenty species including red hake (Urophycis chuss), witch flounder (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus), windowpane flounder (Scopthalmus aquosus), Atlantic sea herring (Clupea harengus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), 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).  The habitat which this project would affect consists of intertidal beach and open water.  The proposed project is described in Proposed Danger Zone 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 minimal direct impacts associated with the Danger Zone, the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat, and 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), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Jan. 21, 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 Nicole Woodward at 757-201-7122.


                                                            Lynette R. Rhodes
                                                            Chief, Southern Virginia
                                                           Regulatory Section