The district commander has received a permit application for work described below:
City of Norfolk
c/o Ronald H. Williams, Jr.
City Hall, 810 Union Street, 11th floor
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in Mason Creek, a tributary to Willoughby Bay and the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia. The approximate center of the project in Mason Creek is at latitude 36.9328° north and longitude 76.2720° west.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to mechanically dredge approximately 54.9 acres of Mason Creek from existing depths of 2.3 feet to dredge cut elevations of -4.5 feet NAVD88 in the main body of the creek and -3.5 feet in the narrower arms and coves. Approximately 165,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be removed, loaded from barges to trucks at two transfer sites, and then disposed of at an approved upland facility. After the dredging has been completed, bottom-mounted aerators will be installed in phases to improve oxygen levels in Mason Creek. The primary project purpose is to improve water quality and to restore suitable depths for recreation, including canoe, kayak, and small boat navigation.
There are two proposed temporary transfer sites. One will be located in an open field owned by Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), off of Bellinger Boulevard. The second transfer site will be constructed adjacent to the northbound lanes of Granby Street on a parcel owned by the City of Norfolk. Approximately 4,185 square feet of wetlands, consisting mainly of common reed grass, will be temporarily impacted by the second transfer site. Impacts will be avoided and minimized by maintaining a horizontal dredging buffer off of vegetated wetlands and by restoring temporarily impacted wetlands.
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 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 US 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) the following known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area: Merrimack Landing Apartment Complex, 8807 Monitor Way, DHR id# 122-5434 (eligible); Commodore Park Neighborhood Historic District, DHR id# 122-5050 proposed); Forest Lawn Cemetery at 8100 Granby Street, DHR id# 122-0531 (phase II requested), Norfolk Naval Base Historic District, DHR id# 122-0410 (proposed); and Naval Air Station Historic District, Norfolk Naval Base Chambers Field, DHR id#122-5046 (eligible). Potential effects to these properties will be evaluated during the permit review process. 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). Mason Creek may contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the egg, larval, juvenile, and/or adult life stages of 12 species including the egg, juvenile, and adult life stages of windowpane flounder (Scophthalmus aquosus); juvenile and adult stages of bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix); egg, larval, juvenile, and adult stages of Atlantic butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus); larval, juvenile, and adult stages of summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus); juvenile and adult stages of black sea bass (Centropristis striata); egg, larval, juvenile and adult stages of king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), and red drum (Sciaenops occelatus); larval and juvenile stages of dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus); larval, juvenile, and adult stages of sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), as well as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) for sandbar shark.
The habitat which this project may affect consists of shallow water and a relatively small area of vegetated wetlands (4,185 square feet). The vegetated wetlands consist of common reed grass, and will be temporarily impacted during the offloading of dredged material. Due to existing shallow water depths, marginal water quality, and the 1750-foot long piped connection from Mason Creek to Willoughby Bay, this project is not likely to significantly affect EFH and therefore expanded EFH consultation is not required. Our preliminary determination is based on the short-term nature of increased turbidity, the absence of vegetated wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, anadromous fish spawning habitat, and existing marginal water quality. 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, George Janek), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on Oct. 28, 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 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 757-201-7135.