The district commander has received a joint application for federal and state permits as described below:
City of Virginia Beach
Attn: Ms. Jessica Thompson
Department of Public Works
Municipal Building 2
2405 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in Hell Point Creek a tributary to Back Bay along Sandbridge Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to replace the existing Sandbridge Road bridge over Hell Point Creek, by constructing a temporary road and bridge, dismantling the old bridge, and then constructing a new bridge at elevation 5.5 feet in the same location as the existing bridge. The project will permanently impact 0.187 acres of nontidal vegetated wetlands (0.083 acres of emergent ditch, 0.094 acres of emergent wetlands, and 0.010 acres forested wetlands) and 0.0.012 acres of open water. The project would also result in temporary impacts to 0.996 acres of nontidal vegetated wetlands (0.125 acres of emergent ditch and 0.871 acres of forested wetlands), 0.520 acres of nontidal open water ditches, and an open water pond. The temporary wetland impact areas will be restored as specified in a written restoration plan, which will include tree planting.
The City of Virginia Beach conducted extensive coordination with Federal and State agencies concerning the four alternatives reviewed. All other alternatives would have more permanent wetland impacts than the applicant’s preferred alternative. The preferred alternative was selected due to ease of construction, shorter construction duration, reduced right-of-way requirements, less cost and the least permanent wetland impacts.
As compensatory mitigation, the applicant proposes to compensate for permanent forested wetland impacts at a 2:1 ratio and permanent emergent wetlands at a 1:1 ratio. In addition to restoring the temporarily impacted wetlands, the applicant proposes to mitigate for the temporary impacts at a 1:1 ratio, since the temporary wetland fill will be in place for at least a year. The applicant proposes to purchase a total of 0.984 credits from the Dover Farm Mitigation Bank, which is an established mitigation 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. 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: (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, we have determined there may be an effect to listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by Fish and Wildlife Service; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal. 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). Hell Point Creek contains Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the all life stages of 20 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 an open water channel. The proposed project is described in Proposed Work and Purpose, above. Work will be occurring in the waterway, which could affect the habitat and the movement of the species listed. 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/changes in water temperature or salinity caused by the proposed work/the absence of vegetated wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and anadromous fish spawning habitat/ existing poor water quality/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 May 16, 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, please contact Melissa Nash by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-201-7489.