March 14, 2016
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The District Commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
APM Terminals Virginia, Inc.
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located at the APM Terminals located on a 576 acre property along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River at 1000 Virginia International Gateway Blvd. in Portsmouth, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to expand the existing commercial container facility, adjacent berthing facilities, and road and rail infrastructure to access the terminal. These expanded facilities propose to fill 2.43 acres of sub-aqueous bottom, 2.15 acres of non-tidal wetlands. This expansion was originally part of a previous application (02-V1913) for the full construction which was permitted but constructed only in part. The remaining unbuilt components are being re-proposed as a part of this application. The purpose of this project is to expand the capacity and efficiency of the existing facility.
The proposed activities that affect waters of the U.S. include the following:
Intermodal Rail Yard Expansion
Additional tracks will be constructed similar to existing, impacting two palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands totaling 8,400 square feet. Wetlands are dominated by Phragmites australis are likely of low ecological value. Avoiding these wetlands is not practical.
A portion of undeveloped land surrounded on all sides by developed land is proposed for conversion to container storage. This development will impact seven PEM wetlands totaling 38,370 square feet and size palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands totaling 47,014 square feet. These wetlands are dominated by Salix nigra and Phragmites australis are likely of low ecological value. Avoiding these wetlands is not practical.
The existing wharf will be extended by approximately 650 linear feet. The wharf will consist of a concrete deck supported by pile bents and concrete beams framed into steel cylinder piles. In addition to this construction, the activity that will include the installation of a riprap buttress to secure the existing bulkhead immediately adjacent and under to the proposed wharf extension (not part of the original permit) to allow increased loads near the bulkhead and on the wharf extension. Two dolphins and associated rip rap will also be installed. The wharf extension and dolphin installation will impact approximately 2.43 acres of subaqueous bottom adjacent to an existing bulkhead.
The applicant proposes to mitigate the loss of unavoidable non-tidal wetland impacts through the purchase of wetland mitigation credits from an approved bank. The applicant does not propose additional mitigation for sub-aqueous impacts as these impacts were previously permitted and mitigated for during the original permit process (02-V1913).
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. 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 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: (1) 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; (3) although properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, a Memorandum of Agreement was established during the original permitting process and as such consultation with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be required. 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). The Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the juvenile or adult life stages of 11 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). The habitat which this project would affect consists of subaqueous bottom and deepwater habitats. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. This work will not affect shallow water habitat, mudflats, or tidal wetlands. The project waters include an anadromous fish use area for yellow perch (Perca flavescens) but no submerged aquatic vegetation. Our assessment of the project leads us to a preliminary determination that it may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect EFH. Consultation with National Marine Fisheries will be required. 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 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on April 13, 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 Daniel Krenz at 757-201-7029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attachment: Drawings (posted to website)
Species Conclusion Table