NN-17-01 - Proposed Maintenance Dredging of the Cape Henry Channel

Published April 19, 2017
Expiration date: 5/18/2017

CENAB-OP                                                                                                       19 April 2017



SUBJECT:  Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Virginia ‑ Proposed Maintenance Dredging of the Cape Henry Channel


                                                  PUBLIC NOTICE – CENAB-OP‑N-17-01



Pursuant to Sections 313 and 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 USC 1323 and 1344), NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT PENDING THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS, the Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, proposes to perform maintenance dredging of the Baltimore Harbor & Channels Federal navigation project during calendar years 2017 and 2018.


The plans and location of the proposed work are shown on the enclosed map.  The proposed work consists of maintenance dredging the Cape Henry Federal navigation channel to a depth of 51 feet.  The dredging includes one foot of advanced maintenance dredging and up to two feet of allowable overdepth dredging.  Due to the imprecise nature of dredging operations, the dredging contractor may remove excess material beyond the limits described above in some areas and may not remove all material in other areas.


Approximately 2,300,000 cubic yards of material consisting primarily of sand, mud, silt, shell, and mixtures thereof will be dredged by hopper dredge.  The material will be placed at the Dam Neck Ocean Dredge Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) located in the Atlantic Ocean, which is the primary placement site for Cape Henry.


The use of the Dam Neck ODMDS is contingent upon EPA Region 3 review and concurrence of a full Tier 3 analysis of the sediment chemistry data associated with the proposed dredging area.  The Baltimore District will perform sediment testing of the Cape Henry channel this year and will provide the results to EPA to document compliance with Section 103 of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) and request concurrence for continued use of the Dam Neck ODMDS.  The proposed methods of dredging and placement of material are addressed in and consistent with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and accompanying Supplemental Information to date.


A preliminary review of this work and previous evaluations of historical dredging and placement operations for the Baltimore Harbor project has been completed.  The review indicates that the proposed work will not adversely affect listed species or their critical habitat pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) prepared a biological opinion issued in 2012 on the impacts of maintenance dredging in the Virginia channels.  According to this opinion, maintenance dredging should not be performed from April 1 to November 30 to minimize the incidental take of sea turtles.  If dredging must be performed during this time period, sea turtle deflectors must be added to the hopper dredge and endangered species






SUBJECT:  Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Virginia ‑ Proposed Maintenance Dredging of the Cape Henry Channel



observers must be used 100% of the time.  In order to minimize impacts to endangered sea turtles, dredging will be scheduled to take place between December 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. 


The proposed maintenance dredging will comply with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the MPRSA and approved Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.  Any comments regarding the consistency determination should be sent to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main St. Richmond, Virginia 23219, within 30 days of the date of this notice.  In addition, the proposed placement activities will be conducted in accordance with the Dam Neck ODMDS Site Management and Monitoring Plan.  The proposed work is being coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service; Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality, Conservation and Recreation, and Game and Inland Fisheries; Virginia Marine Resources Commission; Virginia Institute of Marine Science; Maryland Departments of Planning, Business and Economic Development and Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration.


Designation of the proposed placement site for the dredged material associated with this Federal project shall be made through the application of guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army.  If these guidelines alone prohibit the designation of the proposed placement site, any potential impairment to the maintenance of navigation including any economic impact on navigation and anchorage which would result from the failure to use this placement site will also be considered.


Previous cultural resources reconnaissance surveys and intensive marine surveys have indicated that there are no historically significant artifacts in the proposed work area.  A review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that there are no registered properties or properties listed as eligible for inclusion therein located at the proposed work sites.  Currently unknown archaeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the proposed work.


The decision whether to accomplish the work proposed in this public notice will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed work on the public interest.  The decision will reflect the national concern for the protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefits which reasonably 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; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, energy needs, general environmental concerns, fish and wildlife values, wetlands, historic and cultural values, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, water quality, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, recreation, safety, food production, and in general, the needs and the welfare of the people.  The work will not be accomplished unless it is found to be in the public interest.








SUBJECT:  Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Virginia ‑ Proposed Maintenance Dredging of the Cape Henry Channel



Any person who has an interest which may be affected by the placement of this dredged material may request a public hearing.  The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, 10 S. Howard St. Baltimore, Maryland 21203‑1715

within 30 days of the date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be affected and the manner in which the interest may be affected by this activity.  Please contact Ms. Tiffany Burroughs at (410) 962‑5677 if there are any questions regarding the proposed work.


Any written comments or questions regarding water quality considerations involved with this project should be directed to the Virginia Department of the Environmental Quality, 629 East Main St. Richmond, Virginia 23219 within 30 days of the date of this notice.





                                                                      DIANNE B. EDWARDSON

           Chief, Operations Division



Map of Dredging and Placement Areas