Published Jan. 20, 2015
Expiration date: 2/19/2015

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

Seagate Terminals, LLC
Kevin Glover
1750 E. President Street
Savannah, Georgia 31404

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, a tributary to the James River in Chesapeake, Virginia. The site is located on the eastern side of the river between the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line railroad bridge and the newly reconstructed Jordan Bridge.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: Seagate Terminals LLC proposes to develop a marine terminal on the Southern Branch that will handle bulk materials for import and export. The approximate 15-acre landside facility will include an enclosed warehouse, open-air bulk storage areas, a domed dry bulk storage tank, liquid storage tank, office, parking, conveyor systems, two rail spurs, and stormwater management facilities. The terminal development will permanently impact approximately 49,368 square feet of palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands; 4,123 square feet of palustrine scrub-shrub (PSS) wetlands; 15,276 square feet of palustrine open water (POW); 1,974 square feet of estuarine emergent (EEM) wetlands; and 1,549 square feet of estuarine unconsolidated shore (E2US).

An 80-foot wide by 550-foot long wharf will be constructed to support the transfer of materials from the terminal. A 55-foot wide, open-pile, angled concrete dock, with a centerline length of 615 feet, will extend from shore to the wharf, and a steel sheet pile bulkhead will be constructed at the shoreline tie-in. The applicant is also proposing to dredge areas around the wharf to variable depths for vessel and barge docking. Areas closest to the federal channel will be dredged to minus 42.0 feet at mean low water. In total, this dredging will impact approximately 406,289 square feet (9.33 acres) of subaqueous bottom and will result in the removal of approximately 137,500 cubic yards of dredged material. The piles of the concrete wharf and access dock will impact an additional 76,765 square feet (1.76 acres) of subaqueous bottom.

A living shoreline, consisting of four (4) rip rap sills and clean backfill, will enhance the existing low-quality vegetated shoreline. The living shoreline will impact approximately 8,501 square feet of wetlands vegetated with common reed grass (Phragmites australis), but these will be replaced at a 1:1 areal basis with wetlands vegetated with saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).

Additional impacts associated with this project will be minimized in the following ways: a turbidity curtain will be installed around an existing oyster reef to minimize sedimentation impacts, a riparian buffer will be planted on the landward side of the living shoreline, and stormwater best management practices (BMPs) will be constructed to treat upland run-off before it reaches the river. The applicant is proposing to compensate for unavoidable tidal and non-tidal wetland impacts through the purchase of wetland credits from approved wetland banks within the watershed.

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 Chesapeake 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 Fish and Wildlife Service is required; and (3) there may be properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places in or near the permit area that may be affected by the proposal. These properties include the railroad bridge spanning the Elizabeth River; potential impacts will be coordinated with the Virginia Department of 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). 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: 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: or

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 contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the egg, larvae, juvenile, and adult life stages of the following species: windowpane flounder (Scophthalmus aquosus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus), summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), black sea bass (Centropristis striata), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), red drum (Sciaenops occelatus), dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus), sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), and also includes Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) for sandbar shark.

The habitat which this project would affect consists of estuarine deep water and shallow waters, including oyster reef. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. The project will affect EFH by temporarily impacting the benthic community during original and maintenance dredge events and may increase detrital export and habitat through the creation of the living shoreline. 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, and the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation. 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, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ATTN: George Janek  CENAO-WR-RE), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1096, and should be received by the close of business on Feb. 19, 2015.

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 George Janek at (757) 201-7135 or by email at