Volume 25, Number 6 ● March 23, 2017
Nationwide Permit Update:
Norfolk District Regional Conditions Issued
On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District released the final Nationwide Permit (NWP) Regional Conditions. Several noteworthy changes have been made since the draft regional conditions were issued on January 24, 2017 and are addressed in further detail below. The associated 2017 NWPs took effect on March 19th. Also note that in Virginia, the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determination for the 2017 NWPs are still pending.
Changes to Norfolk District Regional Conditions
In addition to several minor text edits, there were two significant changes:
- Conditions Pertaining to Countersinking of Pipes and Culverts in Nontidal Waters
One condition was revised to now require that Permittees “ensure reestablishment of a surface water channel (within 15 days post-construction) that allows for the movement of aquatic organisms and maintains the same hydrologic regime that was present pre-construction (i.e. the depth of surface water through the permit area should match the upstream and downstream depths). This may require the addition of finer materials to choke the larger stone and/or placement of riprap to allow for a low flow channel.”
- NWP #27: Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Areas
The draft condition regarding what types of projects may qualify for NWP #27 was replaced by two new conditions:
- Pre-Construction Notifications for stream restoration projects must now include a completed Natural Channel Design (NCD) Review Checklist and Selected Morphological Characteristics (SCM) table, including the name and location of the reference reach, if applicable.
- A monitoring plan must be provided in accordance with the Section 401 WQC.
Section 401 Water Quality Certification
Until the Clean Water Act Section 401 WQC and CZMA consistency determination documents are finalized, any Applicant proposing activities under the authority of these NWPs must obtain individual WQC and CZMA certifications from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality before commencing work.