February 14, 2020

Another Chance to Help Save Our Seabirds – Submit Comments to the Corps of Engineers before February 20th!

Many of you responded to a previous alert to encourage Governor Ralph Northam to ensure that new nesting habitat is provided for more than 20,000 Royal Terns and other seabirds whose nesting sites were destroyed by construction for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT). Now, you have another opportunity to speak up for the birds—this time to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The next step is to request a public hearing from the US Army Corps of Engineers as part of the HRBT Expansion Project permit process! We want to make sure the HRBT Expansion Project provides an equitable mitigation plan for impacts to the seabird colony – with appropriate nesting areas provided THIS YEAR and every year afterward. The Corps is currently considering whether to issue permits to allow impacts under the Rivers and Harbors Act and Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

While impacts from a construction project like this are inevitable, the loss of these nesting areas is much too heavy a price to pay and both the State of Virginia and the federal government must take the actions necessary to mitigate the damage. This issue is of great importance, not only to Virginia but to resources and people up and down the entire east coast of the U.S. and beyond.

PLEASE WRITE the US Army Corps of Engineers AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Ask the Norfolk District Commander to schedule a public hearing about VDOT’s plans to eradicate the HRBT South Island Bird Colony. Let them know that the impacts to Virginia’s Royal Terns, Gull-billed Terns and Sandwich Terns will be devastating if VDOT continues the project without first creating or restoring nesting habitat for all of the seabirds that nest on HRBT South Island. Time is running out as the birds will be returning in only 6 weeks!

Comments are due by the close of business on February 20, 2020. Comments must be in writing and can be sent either by email or mail.

Email:
george.a.janek@usace.army.mil

Mail:
Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers
(ATTN: CENAO-WR-R, George Janek)
803 Front Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011
Reference: Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion Project, CENAO-WR-R NAO-1994-1166

Here is further information about the public notice for HRBT permitting.