Volume 25, Number 2 ● February 6, 2017
Draft Norfolk District Nationwide Permit Regional Conditions Released
On January 24, 2017, the draft Norfolk District Nationwide Permit (NWP) Regional Conditions were released for public comment. Comments on the Regional Conditions are due by February 21, 2017. The 2017 Nationwide Permits are intended to take effect on March 19, 2017 and will expire March 18, 2022.
Changes to Norfolk District Regional Conditions
The Norfolk District Regional Conditions are separated into conditions that apply to multiple and/or all NWPs, and conditions that only apply to specific NWPs. While minor changes were made to conditions in both categories, we have provided a list below of the most significant new conditions:
Regional Conditions Applicable to Multiple and/or All NWPs
- Conditions Pertaining to Countersinking of Pipes and Culverts in Nontidal Waters – After excavating the stream bed to install a countersunk culvert, clean fill material must now be used to restore the streambed to pre-construction elevations. Thus riprap can no longer be used to fill in the excavated stream bottom. Riprap may still be placed on top of the restored stream bottom to the length required to meet Virginia stormwater requirements, but to a minimum depth.
- Condition for Temporary Impacts – Temporary impacts must be restored to their pre-construction contours within 12 months of commencing the temporary impact. Once restored, soil must be mechanically loosened to a depth of 12-inches and wetland areas must be seeded with native vegetation.
- Condition for Transportation Projects Funded in Part or in Total by State or Federal Funds – When a PCN is required for transportation projects that receive state or federal funding, compensatory mitigation is required for all wetland impacts (including impacts less than 1/10 acre).
Regional Conditions Applicable to Specific NWPs
NWP 12 – Utility Line Activities:
- An additional sentence was added in the alternatives analysis section to clarify that while directional drilling should be considered as an option, it may not be recommended in karst areas.
- Minimum clearances are now specified for aerial transmission lines crossing navigable waters.
- If the utility line is installed via directional drilling or other boring methods, the PCN must include a plan to address inadvertent returns of drilling fluids to waters of the U.S. through sub-soil fissures or fractures.
- If an intake is proposed in designated anadromous fish waters, three new design parameters have been added as permit conditions to protect the anadromous fish.
NWP 27 – Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment and Enhancement:
- Projects designed with the primary function of in-stream stormwater retention, stormwater treatment, and/or sediment retention, will generally not qualify for authorization under NWP 27. Projects proposed for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) credit may qualify for NWP 27, provided they are designed using natural channel design.
Comments on the proposed regional conditions should be sent to the Norfolk District, Regional Branch at 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510; ATTN: Melissa Nash. Comments relating to Regional Conditions are due by February 21, 2017.