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PN13-13: Living Shoreline on the Potomac River

Posted: 3/15/2013

Expiration date: 4/15/2013


The Baltimore District has received an application for a Department of the Army Permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), as described below:



Mr. Thomas Cullen Jr.

51 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20001


LOCATION:  In the Potomac River, at 6915 Branitan Place, Bryan Road, Charles County, Maryland.


WORK:  To establish a living shoreline within an approximately 69,195 square foot (1.59 acre) area by emplacing a series of offset layered stone sills along 1,365 linear feet of eroding shoreline and high sediment bank as follows:  to construct a wetland planting terrace along 1,275 linear feet of shoreline by depositing approximately 9,174 cubic yards of sloped, clean select sand fill, stabilized with approximately 18,500 square feet of Acorus americanu, Leersia oryzoides, Peltandra virginica, Pontederia cordata, Sagittaria latifolia, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, Typha latifolia, and Zizania palustris wetland species in the intertidal zone; with approximately 26,400 square feet of Asclepias incarnate, Hibiscus moscheutos, Kosteletzkya virginica, Panicum virgatum, Scirpus pungens, Spartina cynosuroides, and Typha latifolia wetland species in the non-tidal zone; and approximately 40,100 square feet of Andropogon virginicus, Symphyotrichum novaeangliae, Panicum virgatum, Rudbeckia hirta, and Viburnam dentatum species in the transitional marsh border; all to extend no more than 35 feet channelward of the approximate mean high water (MHW) shoreline; and to construct 1,365 linear feet of low profile stone containment sill by emplacing approximately 4,328 cubic yards of stone, no more than 18-feet wide at the base, with thirteen 6-foot wide tidal flushing vents at mean low water, all to extend no more than 90 feet channelward of the approximate MHW shoreline.  All work will be completed in accordance with the enclosed plan(s).  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Mr. Jason R. Peters of this office at 410-962-5676 or by email Jason.Peters@usace.army.mil.


PURPOSE: To provide shoreline stabilization, sediment and erosion control, and wetland establishment.


MITIGATION STATEMENT: As part of the planning process for the proposed project, steps were taken to ensure avoidance and minimization of impacts to waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable based on the existing site conditions.  The project as proposed would result in a net increase of approximately 44,895 square feet (1.03 acre) area of established emergent


wetlands, split between “26,400” square feet (0.06 acre area) of tidal freshwater wetlands, 18,500 square feet (0.42 acre area) of non-tidal freshwater wetlands and 40,100 square feet (0.92 acre area) of transitional marsh boarder.  Based on available information from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS), the 2007 to 2011 submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) survey results for Mount Vernon, Maryland (Quad 40) and the Upper Potomac River, indicate a 70 to 100 percent aerial coverage and approximately 1.16 hectare acres of SAV at the project site.  As currently proposed, the project may impact approximately 1.59 acres of SAV documented within the project limits.  Compensatory mitigation is not being proposed by the applicant for permanent impacts to open tidal waters that may be colonized by SAV based upon the VIMS aerial data.  The applicant has stated the project as currently designed seeks to avoid and minimize impacts to regulated resources onsite whereby the living shoreline project would maintain the natural functions of the aquatic ecosystem, add beneficial estuarine wetland habitat, and eliminate the erosion occurring along the steep embankment. 


The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 04-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). 


The project site lies in or adjacent to EFH as described under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) for Scopthalmus aquosos  (windowpane flounder) juvenile and adult; Pomatomus saltatrix (blue fish) juvenile and adult; Paralicthys dentatus (summer flounder) juvenile and adult; and eggs, larvae, juvenile, and adult stages of Sciaenops ocellatus (red drum), Scomberomorus cavalla (king mackerel), Scomberomorus maculatus (spanish mackerel), and Rachycentron canadum (cobia), all managed species under the MSFCMA.


The project has the potential to adversely affect EFH or the species of concern by alteration of spawning, nursery, forage and/or shelter habitat.  The project may have an adverse effect on an approximate 69,195 square foot (1.59 acre) area of EFH as described under the MSFCMA for the species and life stages identified above.  This habitat consists of a mostly sand and silt sub-tidal substrate that, according to 2007 to 2011 VIMS survey results for Mount Vernon, Maryland (Quad 40) and the Upper Potomac River, does support SAV.  The Baltimore District has made a preliminary determination that site- specific impacts would not be substantial and an abbreviated consultation will be conducted with NMFS.  No mitigative measures are recommended at this time to minimize adverse effects on EFH.  This preliminary determination may be modified if additional information indicates otherwise and could change the Corps’ preliminary determination.


The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit, which reasonable may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economic, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, and consideration of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.




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 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 provided will become part of the public record for this action.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Written comments concerning the work described above related to the factors listed above or other pertinent factors must be received by the District within the comment period specified above.

The applicant is required to obtain a water quality certification in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Any written comments concerning the work described above which relate to water quality certification must be received by the Wetlands and Waterways Program, Maryland Department of the Environment, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708 within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  The Section 401 certifying agency has a statutory limit of one year from the date of this public notice to make its decision.

Where applicable, the applicant has certified in this application that the proposed activity complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program.  By this public notice, we are requesting the State concurrence or objection to the applicant’s consistency statement.  It should be noted that the CZM Program has a statutory limit of 6 months to make its consistency determination.

The applicant must obtain any State or local government permits which may be required.

A preliminary review of this application indicates that the proposed work will not affect Federal listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended.  As the evaluation of this application continues, additional information may become available which could modify this preliminary determination.

Review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that no registered properties listed as eligible for inclusion, therein, are located at the site of the proposed work.  Currently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the work to be accomplished under the request permit.

Any person who has an interest which may be adversely affected by the issuance of this permit may request a public hearing.  The request, which must be in writing, must be received by the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, P.O. Box 1715, 21203-1715, within the comment period as specified above to receive consideration.  Also it must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected by this activity and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected.

It is requested that you communicate this information concerning the proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and not being known to this office, who did not receive a copy of this notice.