December 21, 2015
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:
Virginia Department of Transportation
ATTN: Robert A. Morgan
Interstate Maintenance Office
1992 S. Military Highway
Chesapeake, VA 23320
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in Noseh’s Creek, a tributary to the Elizabeth River, at the I64-I264 Interchange in the City of Norfolk, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to widen the existing Ramp D-7 of the I64-I264 Interchange, including work extending through the Newtown Rd. interchange on I264. The proposed project includes new bridges over Kempsville Rd. and Newtown Road; widening the I64 bridge over Curlew Dr.; widening the eastbound I264 collector/distributor (C/D) road to four lanes between I64 and off-ramp to southbound Newtown Rd.; widening eastbound I264 to three lanes between loop ramps; and widening eastbound I264 C/D by one lane between Newtown and Witchduck Rd.'s. Included in the work is the filling and relocation of approx. 2,210 linear feet of Noseh's Creek west of Kempsville Road, currently located in a widened, straightened channel/ditch as a result of the original construction of I64, into a similar straight channel/ditch, to allow for construction and for the placement of a stormwater management (SWM) pond. Approximately 200 linear feet of the same tidal channel will be placed into a box culvert to be located under an existing church parking lot. A total of 4 (four) SWM ponds are proposed for the project. Also proposed are drainage improvements, including an outfall pipe into Mill Creek and the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The application states that the purpose of the proposed project is to address deficiencies in safety, capacity and geometry of the current interchange.
The project will impact 0.32 acres of nontidal forested wetlands; 0.29 acres of nontidal emergent wetlands; 0.22 ac. tidal scrub-shrub wetlands; and 1.66 acres of tidal emergent wetlands, of which approximately 1.46 acres is dominated by Phragmites, an invasive plant. The project will also impact 2,480 linear feet of tidal channel, of which 580 lf will be placed in box culverts and 1,900 lf will be relocated; 825 linear feet of non-tidal stream channel; 712 linear feet of non-tidal roadside ditch; and 27 linear feet of tidal ditch.
The applicant has provided the following information regarding avoidance and minimization (A&M): Five build alternatives were developed and evaluated, and based on initial and future traffic operation, constructability, costs, and right of way impacts, the current proposal was selected. This alternative allows for future widening of the I-264 mainline and operation of local streets. A&M efforts included reviewing roadway horizontal geometry to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources and terrestrial wooded buffers. Much of the A&M analysis centered on development of options for an existing 2,210 linear feet of tidal channel and associated wetlands from Curlew Drive to Kempsville Road. Challenges included that the proposed ramps on bridge structures are parallel to and/or cross the existing tidal channel, and the tidal channel hydraulic capacity is currently inadequate to carry post project development flows. The A&M measures that were adopted offered long term stability, ability to conduct conventional future maintenance requirements, a relatively short duration of disturbance to the aquatic system, and cost effectiveness. Those measures are guardrail with 2:1 fill slopes, retaining walls, and minimum travel lane and roadway shoulder widths, all of which minimize the fill footprint. Options for the 2,100 lf tidal channel other than filling and relocating it, such as temporary piping and pump-arounds with hydraulic pumps, were deemed unsafe to construction personnel/equipment and adjacent property owners who could experience flooding due to pump failure.
To compensate for unavoidable impacts to waters and wetlands, the applicant proposes a combination of channel relocation, the use of credits from VDOT's Goose Creek Bank (for tidal channel length not re-located), the purchase of credits from an approved mitigation banks for tidal wetland impacts, and payment into an in lieu fee for non-tidal stream impacts.
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.
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: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead Federal agency for this project. (l) FHWA signed a Categorical Exclusion (CE) in 2010, and in May 2015 confirmed that the CE document is still valid for the project; no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) VDOT conducted the NAO ESA Project Review Process, and found no listed, proposed or candidate species and no designated or 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) On behalf of FHWA, VDOT conducted archaeological and architectural surveys of the FHWA Area of Potential Effect (APE) for the project in 2008 with additional survey in 2009 and identified three archaeological sites that, in consultation with the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), were determined potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), as well as one architectural historic property (Norfolk and Virginia Beach Railroad) that was determined eligible for the NRHP. In consultation with the SHPO, FHWA determined the project would have No Adverse Effect on the Norfolk and Virginia Beach Railroad. In April 2010, a Programmatic Agreement (PA) was executed among the FHWA, the SHPO, and the VDOT that set forth the process VDOT would follow, in consultation with the SHPO and others, to identify any new historic properties potentially affected by future design changes, assess the effects of the project on those properties and the three identified archaeological sites, and identify and implement appropriate treatment actions to address any adverse effects. After Phase II Archaeological Evaluation and coordination with the SHPO in 2010, FHWA determined two archaeological sites are eligible for the NRHP and one is not. The architectural survey was updated by VDOT in November 2014, but no additional historic properties were identified through coordination with the SHPO. After the advancement of the design for the project, the FHWA and VDOT determined in May 2015 that the two archaeological sites would be adversely affected by the project. In consultation with the SHPO and others, VDOT developed an Archaeological Treatment Plan that was approved by the SHPO in November 2015 for archaeological data recovery of the two sites. Fieldwork implementing that plan is currently underway. 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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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). Noseh’s Creek may contain Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the various life stages of approximately 12 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), Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril). The habitat which this project would affect consists of shallow water, mud flats, and intertidal wetlands. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above, including the relocation of a channelized tidal portion of Noseh’s Creek that is currently a mudflat at low tide due to accumulated sediment. Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that the proposed work 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 minimal increases in turbidity, changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work and poor quality anadromous fish spawning habitat. 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 January 21, 2016.
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 Alice Allen-Grimes at 757-201-7219 and email@example.com.