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The latest news from the Norfolk District USACE
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    08/19/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — A surge of water released from Gathright Dam, simulating a storm event on the Jackson River, did exactly what the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hoped it would: improve the river's water quality.

    The results of the August 2010 surge, or test pulse, recently released by the DEQ, indicate the pulse raised dissolved oxygen levels in the river, scoured excess oxygen-consuming algae and "slightly improved" the aquatic habitat Jackson River below Covington.

    "We are monitoring the Jackson River before and during test pulses to establish current baseline water quality conditions," said Jason Hill, an environmental scientist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. "We will be using this baseline data to track any environmental changes that result from these simulated storm events."

    The Department of Environmental Quality requested the test pulse from Norfolk District, which owns and operates the Gathright Dam. The dam, located on the Jackson River, creates Lake Moomaw.

    The eight-hour test pulse peaked at 3,000 cubic feet per second for two hours.

    "The dam operators did a great job mimicking a natural storm event," said Larry Ives, Norfolk District civil engineer.

    The results of the test pulse are being used in an ongoing feasibility study at the dam. The study will determine whether a change to current low-flow augmentation operations at the dam can improve the overall water quality and ecological resources in the lower Jackson River without affecting the existing fisheries in Lake Moomaw and the trout fishery below the dam.

    Another pulse is scheduled for late September. The feasibility report will be completed in 2012.


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    08/29/2011 - SUFFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites the public to its quarterly meeting of the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot Restoration Advisory Board on Sept. 1, from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m., at the Comfort Suites, 5409 Plummer Boulevard, off Highway 17 in Suffolk, Va.

    This RAB public meeting serves as the main forum for public discussion of Corps remediation progress at the 975-acre former ordnance depot. FNOD was placed on the EPA's National Priorities List in 1999.

    Meeting topics will include status reports on the following:

    • Site update
    • James River beach sediment sampling
    • Geophysics data update
    • Completed area of concern site inspection reports

    The FNOD RAB was established in 1997, as the main forum for community citizens to directly provide input on the cleanup effort at the formerly used defense site. Project team members available at each RAB meeting include: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA.

    The restoration advisory board is also comprised of community members, local business representatives, local and state officials, and the Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation, Inc.

    Additional project information: http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Library/Factsheets/FNOD/


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    08/29/2011 - CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Great Bridge Lock on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal is temporarily closed due to a broken swing arm caused by water and debris pushed against it during Hurricane Irene.

    Crews are repairing the lock with a spare arm and expect to have the structure operational by Wednesday.

    It's the first time the structure has been damaged during a storm event said Joel Scussel, Norfolk District project manager for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

    "The gate has been there during Hurricanes Floyd and Isabelle and has never sustained this type of damage. The only thing we have had was some water get into the electrical systems during a nor'easter but nothing mechanical like this," said Scussel

    With the Dismal Swamp Canal originally closed due to the wildfires, boaters traveling the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway will have to wait it out until the necessary repairs can be made.

    "This is a priority, we need to get this up and operational to get boat traffic flowing again," said Scussel

    The district performed one locking prior to shutting the lock down for repairs, allowing Corps debris removal vessels and NOAA research vessels that sought shelter upstream to move into the Elizabeth River to assist in port cleanup efforts.

    For information about the status of the Albemarle and Chesapeake as well as the Dismal Swamp Canal, call (757) 201-7500 and select option 3. Information is also available online at www.nao.usace.army.mil or on the District's Facebook and Twitter sites www.facebook.com/NAOonFB or www.twitter.com/norfolkdistrict.


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    08/31/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the City of Portsmouth will conduct a joint aerial treatment with mosquito larvicide this week at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area and wetlands in Portsmouth, Va.

    Crabbe Aviation L.L.C. will treat 250 acres at CIDMMA and 50 acres of wetlands in Portsmouth Wednesday, August 31, weather permitting.

    All areas scheduled for treatment are located in north Churchland over Federal and city property.

    The treatment consists of a granular mosquito larvicide product that specifically targets developing mosquito larvae. The larvicide poses no threat to humans or animals. The contractor will use an Air Tractor, a fixed-wing aircraft similar to aircraft used for crop dusting.

    If conditions don't allow spraying August 31, the inclement weather date is Thursday, September 1.

    Call the Portsmouth's Mosquito Hotline at 393-8666 for more details about the spray operations.


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    09/02/2011 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — As the wind and surf lashed against the oceanfront, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Virginia Beach built hurricane protection project held back the rough seas from damaging homes, businesses and infrastructure, saving millions of dollars in clean up costs.

    The Virginia Beach Hurricane Protection Project Completed in 2002has protected Virginia Beach's oceanfront from coastal storms including hurricanes and countless nor'easters, including Hurricane Isabelle in 2003, when it saved the city an estimated $82 million in damage repairs.

    Jerry Swean, a geologist with the Norfolk District, kept a watchful eye on the project during the storm, and said you can see the differences between pre-protection project and post protection project.

    "In 1998 we had a nor'easter come through that had a similarly high tide as Irene. The story back then was much different then today: homes were damaged and water was washing across the roadways," Swean said.

    The Corps and the City of Virginia Beach are getting ready to replenish the beaches along the City's 11 miles of coastline to ensure the protection level is where it needs to be.

    Jennifer Armstrong, a project manager who oversees the oceanfront project for the Corps, in order for the system to be successful, it needs to have both a large beach and seawall/dune system in place.

    "The higher and wider beach works in tandem with the concrete seawall and dune system by acting as a sacrificial erosion buffer and dissipating the wave energy," said Armstrong. "Erosion of the beach sand during storm events like Irene is not only expected, but is a critical feature of the system."

    According to Phil Roehrs, a coastal engineer with the City of Virginia Beach, keeping the protection project at a high level of readiness saves taxpayer money.

    "If you look at the aspect of lowering the payouts the federal government would make as the underwriter of the National Flood Insurance Program the project has more than paid for itself in savings to taxpayers," Roehrs said. "The other thing you don't see is a huge cadre of Federal Emergency Management Agency employees, or other emergency workers streaming into the area because the oceanfront wasn't heavily damaged. The need for that level of response isn't needed, thanks in part to having the protection system."

    The oceanfront project received some erosion during Hurricane Irene, but Armstrong says the upcoming work has already accounted for it and no additional costs to taxpayers will occur as a result.

    "The project is designed to require periodic re-nourishment to replace the natural and storm-event erosion and to take into account the possibility of such storms during each cycle," Armstrong said. "Plans to re-nourish the six-mile stretch of Virginia Beach oceanfront were underway prior to Irene and are scheduled for construction later this year."

    With continued construction occurring to the beaches along Virginia Beach's coastline, the city says it highlights how a good relationship between federal and local officials benefits its local citizens.

    "We can't be more ecstatic about our relationship with the Corps of Engineers when it comes to providing coastal protection for our citizens," Roehrs said. "The proof is in the pudding: just look at how well our projects have stood up to the storms over the past decade."


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    09/02/2011 - CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Great Bridge Lock reopened today to vessels traversing the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway via the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal now that repairs are complete to the locks.

    High water and debris damaged the swing arm of the structure during Hurricane Irene, causing the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use a limited locking scheduled.

    Repairs, which began on Monday, took several days to complete and involved removing pieces of the lock gate arms that have been in place since the mid-1930's.

    The locks at Great Bridge resume their normal operational schedule of on demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

    The Dismal Swamp Canal remains closed to vessel traffic due to trees knocked down during Hurricane Irene blocking the waterway.

    For information about the status of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal as well as the Dismal Swamp Canal, call (757) 201-7500 and select option 3. Information is also available online at www.nao.usace.army.mil or on the District's Facebook and Twitter sites www.facebook.com/NAOonFB or www.twitter.com/norfolkdistrict.

    Boaters underway can reach bridge and lock operators on marine radio channel 13.


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    09/21/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — State and federal agencies will use Gathright Dam near Covington, Va., to simulate a storm event on the Jackson River Sept. 28.

    The test pulse, conducted by the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will begin at approximately 6 a.m. and peak at 3,500 cubic feet per second.

    The agencies advise people to be aware of the river fluctuations that will be caused by the test pulse. The pulse is expected to raise the water level downstream in the Jackson River by up to five feet in some sections and up to three feet in the upper James River, but will remain several feet below flood stage. In some areas, the rate of the river rise may exceed two feet per hour.

    The river is normally at a constant height and flow during this time of year.

    Gathright Dam will gradually increase water releases from 240 cfs to a maximum of 3,500 cfs by 9 a.m. The maximum surge will last two hours, and at 11 a.m. releases will begin to gradually decrease, and return to 240 cfs by 2 p.m.

    The controlled release will test whether the pulses effectively remove algae and improve water quality by simulating natural storm events that occur during the late summer and early fall. This natural variability is reduced by the operation of Gathright Dam.

    A 3,000-cfs test pulse in August 2010 showed that the pulse raised dissolved oxygen levels in the river, scoured excess oxygen-consuming algae and "slightly improved" aquatic habitat of the Jackson River below Covington.

    The pulses are part of a continuing Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study at the dam. The study will determine whether a change to current low-flow augmentation operations at the dam can improve the overall water quality and ecological resources in the lower Jackson River without affecting the existing fisheries in Lake Moomaw and the trout fishery below the dam.


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    09/21/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — The ancient African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child," proved to be the guiding principle that enabled the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to complete its portion of the Army's largest-ever organizational transformation – Base Realignment and Closure 2005.

    BRAC was borne from the more than $2.3 billion congressional authorization that tasked Norfolk District to manage the design and construction of 43 military projects throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia – and all in just four years. Norfolk District's "village" response was an "all hands on deck" team strategy that embraced the professional talents and communication skills of project customers, key stakeholders and district assets to ensure each project's success.

    "Our success is a testament to the outstanding partnership we've enjoyed at every level of this massive and complex multi-year mission," said Col. Andrew Backus, Norfolk District commander. "Well-deserved congratulations go out to all of our customers, the district's executive leadership, BRAC program managers, project managers and engineers, quality assurance representatives, contracting, real estate and other vital administrative support teammates -- and all the design and construction contractors, large and small."

    The Defense Department introduced BRAC in 1988 to reorganize base structure to effectively support the armed forces, increase operational readiness and support new ways of doing business to meet future security needs and global threats.

    Norfolk District's BRAC mission was born in October 2007, when the North Atlantic Division headquarters received $7.5 billion in Army BRAC program funds. Of that amount, Norfolk District received the second largest in the division.

    The challenge for the Norfolk District was to complete all the projects using an accelerated construction timeline to meet the congressionally-mandated Sept. 15, 2011 deadline.

    To deliver their BRAC bundle of joy, Norfolk District began by hiring more than 100 short-term contractors – project managers, quality assurance inspectors, project engineers, and administrative support staff – to augment its permanent staff and help deliver the BRAC projects.

    Norfolk District then established a BRAC area office at Fort Lee, Va., to exclusively manage the majority of its BRAC mission: 35 projects valued at $1.14 billion. At Fort Belvoir, Va., Norfolk District teamed with the Fort Belvoir BRAC Integration office to manage the design and construction of the $1.03 billion Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. And at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (formerly Fort Eustis), a district project team managed seven BRAC projects totaling $135.4 million, including the new $104 million Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters. The new headquarters was made necessary by the BRAC decision to close Fort Monroe, Va., on Sept. 15.

    Just as a child multiplies responsibilities for a parent, Norfolk District experienced a threefold increase in its workload during the four-year mission.

    To meet the BRAC deadline, the district's contracting office administered BRAC contracts using two innovative contract award processes. First, the district made one qualified contractor responsible for the design and construction of each project within the BRAC program. Second, it used Integrated/Design/Bid/Build procurement, contracting with different companies for the design and for the construction of the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. This process provided increased project constructability, accurate cost/schedule impacts of design decisions and improved design coordination.

    According to Fort Lee BRAC officials, the mission there is equated to a 25-year construction program executed in just four years. And the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital was constructed in only four years, using an evidence-based design process to make decisions based on the best available research. It takes 10 years to construct the average military hospital, Fort Belvoir hospital officials said.

    "It was so rewarding to get all the projects awarded within the accelerated BRAC timeline and to meet our Sept. 15, 2011 mission deadline," said Debora Gray, contracting chief for Norfolk District's military branch. "Wow, what a journey! It was at times very challenging, but full of fun and satisfaction just knowing that our deserving service members and their families would enjoy first-class military facilities for decades to come."

    The Norfolk District family wanted their products to be more than a "chip off the old block" – they wanted to leave a legacy.

    "There are numerous ways to measure the return on this (BRAC) investment, but the most important is the quality of training provided the sons and daughters who serve their country," said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Fort Lee's Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence commanding general."

    The Norfolk District "BRAC child" had an environment-friendly posture instilled in it: the finest state-of-the-art construction technology, such as reflective paving and roofing materials that reflect the sun and decrease heat build-up and energy use. And the latest in sustainable green initiatives, like collecting rainwater and storing it in underground cisterns to provide 91 percent of water for landscaping.

    All BRAC projects were constructed to meet the Defense Department's Leadership in Energy Design standards. Many projects achieved or are pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council's silver rating standards or better.

    The $7.38 million Air Force/Navy Dining Facility at Fort Lee achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Green Building Certification Institute. To date, the multi-service dining facility is the only DoD military construction project completed by a service disabled veteran small business to attain a LEED Gold certification.

    The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, which opened Aug. 31 and had its first arrival as Bethany Beauchan was born at 4:33 p.m., achieved LEED Silver certification. With the wealth of innovative green initiatives adopted during the design and construction of the hospital, like patient-controlled environments and natural lighting and views of nature to reduce stress, hospital officials are eagerly pursuing LEED Gold certification.

    The Norfolk District also earned several national accolades for excellence in design-build construction and project management, and the district's Small Business program secured $152 million in BRAC small business contracts over the last four years. This achievement allowed the district to annually exceed and lead sister districts in Corps-mandated small business goals.

    Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, former Fort Lee garrison commander from 2005-2008, likened the community approach to nurturing every BRAC project from inception to completion as a "journey" not a "destination."

    "In almost every forum I spoke," she said, "I would say that BRAC is not a destination; it's a journey and we're building relationships along the way. Our community leaders and partners have continually been an integral part of this journey in every way — all along the way. Truly, all of the men and women who planned for and executed the thousands of actions required to bring about BRAC success deserve our profound debt of gratitude in building the brick and mortar required to train warriors and grow leaders…for generations to come."

    It took all of Norfolk District – a 500-plus employee-village – to raise their BRAC "child" by the Sept. 15, 2011 deadline. BRAC was on time and on target – and will continue to grow as a positive benefit to America and its service members for generations to come.


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    10/07/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Beach Hurricane Protection System prevented an estimated $104 million in damages for residents and businesses located along the City Of Virginia Beach's oceanfront during Hurricane Irene.

    Even though Irene pushed water up to the seawall, it never went over, keeping the most damaging part of a hurricane, the storm surge, from reaching the buildings.

    The project stretches six miles along the oceanfront and includes a minimum 100-foot wide, 8.5 foot high beach berm that gentle slopes to the water. It also includes a four-mile long concrete seas wall and a two-mile long sand dune system to protect the infrastructure located behind them.

    Jennifer Armstrong, the Norfolk District's project manager for the protection system, says the recent amount of savings reinforces the need for a big beach.

    "Since the project has been in place, the system has continually saved the tax payers of Virginia Beach millions of dollars in rebuilding costs from damages that would have occurred if the project wasn't in place," Armstrong said.

    Using a formula that takes into account the height of the water during the storm and determines how far inland the water would surge if no project was in place, economists can determine damage amounts in terms of costs to the community.

    Later this year, the Corps and the city are planning to begin a five-month, $12 million beach renourishment project to bring the level of protection back to its prescribed levels.

    "Over the past decade the beach sand, designed to act as a sacrificial buffer, has slightly eroded away, so we want to go back and put sand back in place to keep the area protected," Armstrong said. "If you look at the initial $140 million to construct the system nearly a decade ago, the project has more than paid for itself."

    The replenishment is scheduled to begin in December and last throughout the winter to minimize the potential for dredging work to harm sea turtles.

    When complete, the beach will be back at its full protection levels for the next coastal storm event.


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    11/21/2011 - FORT HAMILTON, NY — Its old jingle contains the words "number one in people pleasing," and under the InterContinental Hotels Group, Holiday Inn Express has come to Fort Hamilton to ensure that jingle meshes with the Army's commitment of taking care of Soldiers and their families and improving their quality of life.

    Fort Hamilton opened its doors of the new Holiday Inn Express, formerly the Hamilton Inn, during a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 16. It's part of an ongoing partnership with Lend Lease and IHG to manage and privatize lodges and hotels Army-wide under the Army's Privatization of Army Lodging program. The lease for which is administered by the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' real estate office.

    Ownership and management of the hotel actually began Aug. 12 when employees are no longer working for the Army but now IHG under PAL. With the ceremony, Fort Hamilton has the distinction of being the first installation to open a branded Holiday Inn Express hotel within three months of being under the PAL program.

    "It's really a project of sustainability to return and reinvest money back into the installation so that you'll always have a hotel that will look like this 20 years from now or longer," said Arthur Holst, IHG Army hotels vice president of operations.

    "In addition to that," added Gretchen Turpen, Lend Lease development manager, "it's important to know that it is a long-term, 50-year commitment under the PAL program to ensure prompt upgrades, maintenance and ongoing sustainment of the hotel facility. This is a financial responsibility the Army no longer has to be concerned about."

    All 46 rooms have been upgraded and the hotel now boasts two distinguished visitor quarters. The one-bedroom suites have full kitchenettes and all rooms received new bedroom sets, linens and flat screen televisions, among other enhancements. In addition to the hotel's free, hot daily breakfast and weekly barbeque socials, the hotel added a 24-hour convenience mart, business center, a courtesy shuttle, on-line reservations system, safety improvements and more.

    "The entire guest experience is focused on good customer service," Holst noted. "We can build great looking hotels, but that's not the right way to get satisfaction. Service and product are two sides of the same coin where there can't be one without the other. So as far as branding is concerned, when customers arrive at Fort Hamilton, with the Holiday Inn Express, they expect a Holiday Inn Express experience with the same, consistent level of service they would receive anywhere else in New York City."

    "For Soldiers on official duty, statements of non-availability are no longer needed," said Denise Sutton, the hotel manager. "We have to earn their trust, because we are now competing with hotels in the city for their business."

    The hotel charges 75 percent of the per diem rate or less for official travelers, which Holst said is still a discounted rate and, on the average, cheaper than their competitors beyond the gate.

    "However," he added, "we still must deliver great service and earn their trust to keep them as customers, because Soldiers and their families are still our priority."


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    11/28/2011 - SUFFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host its final 2011 quarterly meeting of the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot, or FNOD, Restoration Advisory Board Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Courtyard Marriott located at 8060 Harbour View Boulevard in Suffolk, Va.

    Meeting topics will include status reports on the following:

    • James River beachfront sediment sampling
    • TCC Lake consensus statement
    • Geophysics date update
    • Background study update

    The quarterly Restoration Advisory Board, or RAB, meetings serve as a public forum for discussing US Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, remediation progress at the 975-acre former depot, located near the former Tidewater Community College Portsmouth campus. At the meetings FNOD RAB members provide input on proposed work plans and restoration efforts to an interagency project team consisting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Community members are also encouraged to attend and ask questions during the meeting.

    In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, placed FNOD on its National Priorities List. In 1997, the FNOD RAB was established. It is the main forum for the public to provide input to project team members of USACE on cleanup plans and efforts at the site. The RAB is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including members of the community, local businesses, local and state officials, Tidewater Community College, TCC Real Estate Foundation, Inc., and FNOD interagency project team members from USACE, VDEQ and the EPA.

    All FNOD quarterly meetings and applications for RAB membership are open to the public. Adriane James is the Norfolk District projects branch environmental section chief and RAB government co-chair, (757) 201-7701. Sher Zaman of the USACE Baltimore District provides overall project and funding oversight and can be reached at (410) 962-3134, or by email: Sher.Zaman@usace.army.mil. Daily FNOD activities are managed by Jeff Zoeckler of the USACE Norfolk District. He can be reached at (757) 201-7726.


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    12/16/2011 - NORFOLK, Va. — Fishermen operating out of Chincoteague, Va., are going to find it easier to navigate in and out of the harbor thanks to a two day visit by the Corps dredge Currituck on Dec. 18 and 19.

    The dredge is on its way to Oregon Inlet N.C. from Philadelphia, Pa., and will remove dangerous shoals from the channel.

    "We were receiving reports from the fishing community in Chincoteague that they could only get in and out during high tide," said Kristen Mazur, the Norfolk District project manager overseeing Chincoteague federal navigation channel project. "The fishermen were reporting that the conditions of the channel were becoming worse and they were even having some trouble getting through at high tide."

    Armed with that information, Mazur called on the crew of the Currituck, who were wrapping up with some work for Philadelphia District, to see if they could spare a couple of days to dredge some of the more critical areas of the inlet.

    "They are scheduled to dredge a larger portion of the channel in January, but we wanted to see if they could hit some areas that were of particular concern for the watermen," Mazur said.

    The Chincoteague inlet federal navigation project is an operations and maintenance project, which supports the largest commercial port on the Eastern Shore handling more than 3,000 vessels a year. The project provides the primary access from the Atlantic Ocean to a critical harbor of refuge at Chincoteague and other Federal Navigation projects in area. U.S. Coast Guard Station and U.S. Coast Guard Group Eastern Shore are also located on the project.


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    01/05/2012 - HAMPTON, Va. — More than 18,000 cubic yards of sand is being delivered to Buckroe Beach as part of a beach nourishment project on the federal hurricane and storm damage reduction project located here.

    The sand, trucked in from Smithfield, Va., will keep a 50-foot-wide beach design berm at 6.5 feet above sea level and protect homes and public infrastructure from receiving significant damage from flooding during coastal storms.

    "The project was set up to be a storm damage reduction project, and as such, is an integral part of floodplain management for the Buckroe Beach area," said Gayle Hicks, a senior civil engineer with the City of Hampton.

    Tom Lochen, the Norfolk District's project manager, said this round of nourishment also marks the final time the Corps will be financially participating in a beach nourishment project for Buckroe as part of the project.

    "There is a federal spending limit of $3 million which will be achieved during this cycle," Lochen said. "After this, the City of Hampton will have sole responsibility for handling the costs and maintenance of the project into the future."

    The federal limit includes the initial study, design, construction and maintenance renourishment of the beach, which was initially completed in 2005.

    The project was renourished last year with 15,000 cubic yards of sand during an emergency replenishment after a powerful Nor'easter blew through the area, ripping up the shoreline. The emergency nourishment received 100 percent federal funding through Public Law 84-99, Rehabilitation Assistance for Hurricane/Shore Protection Projects and did not count against the $3 million cap set by congress.

    The city has also worked to increase the amount of time between needed replenishments for Buckroe.

    "The city has funded and constructed three near shore stone breakwaters to stabilize the beach," Hicks said. "Monitoring will continue on a yearly basis, and the Corps will continue to receive that data."

    The breakwaters help slow wave action and allows sand to settle out with a goal of adding to the amount of sand on the beach helping to offset beach erosion.

    The construction contract cost for the current round of nourishment is $920,000, which is split 50-50 between the City of Hampton and the federal government.

    Dump trucks are operating in the area from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and using a route determined by the City of Hampton.

    Construction at the site is expected to last until mid-January.


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    02/08/2012 - NORFOLK, Va. — U.S. Army engineering know-how and resolute determination by the U.S. Navy fueled the completion of Elizabeth River dredging operations ahead of schedule and several million dollars below budget.

    The multi-million dollar Navy Channel Deepening project deepened portions of the Elizabeth River from Lambert's Point in Norfolk, Va., to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va.

    The dredging reduced the risk of the Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers damaging their ballast water intakes, as well as grounding and possible hull damage, said Raad Humadi, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic project manager. Those carriers and other naval ships are located at the largest naval complex in the world: Naval Station Norfolk, which is located in the Sewell's Point area of Norfolk.

    The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and managed the dredging project. The two-phase project deepened the river from 40 to 50 feet, at a 600-foot-wide portion of the federal navigation channel from Lambert's Point to the Navy Deperming Station. Another 4.5-mile, 600-foot-wide portion of the channel from the deperming station to the naval shipyard was deepened from 40 to 47 feet.

    The Deperming station performs a procedure called degaussing, which erases the permanent magnetism from ships and submarines to camouflage them against magnetic detection vessels and enemy marine mines.

    "This project completion allows us to meet the current requirements for ships entering and exiting the Lambert's Point Deperming Station," Humadi said. "The other reach of the project allows carriers safe transit to and from Norfolk Naval Shipyard for repairs and overhauls."

    The genesis of this project began in 2006, when the commanders of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and Norfolk District met to discuss the feasibility of the Navy Channel Deepening project. Later that year, Norfolk District became a cooperating agency with the Navy on a required environmental impact statement and explored authority to resource and maintain the dredging project upon its completion.

    In 2008, Norfolk District agreed to provide project design and construction management support. After approving the district's project management plan in July, the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic provided funding and project design began. Construction began on April 15, 2011. The Corps' contractor, Norfolk Dredging Company from Chesapeake, Va., completed the project. The approximately three million cubic yards of dredged material was pumped into the district's Craney Island Dredge Material Management Area in Portsmouth.

    Robert N. Pretlow Jr., district project manager for the Navy Channel Deepening project, is no stranger to managing important dredging operations. In April 2003, Pretlow managed the deepening of the inbound element of the Federal Navigation Channel into Norfolk Harbor – it proved crucial for the Port of Virginia to maintain competitive advantage and meet the needs of the growing fleet of super container ships calling at the port.

    "The Navy Channel Deepening project provided an excellent opportunity for the district to once again demonstrate its expertise and experience in designing and implementing navigation projects of major importance to our customer, the local port community, the Commonwealth and the nation," Pretlow said. "Our success was the direct result of teamwork and cooperation – both essential characteristics of a highly professional and dedicated project delivery team; a motivated and cooperative Navy customer; and a very diligent and responsive contractor."

    The final cost of the project was $25 million and was completed Dec. 31, 2011.


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    02/13/2012 - WASHINGTON — The President's Budget for fiscal year 2013 includes $4.731 billion in discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    "The fiscal 2013 Civil Works budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reflects the administration's priorities through targeted investments in the nation's infrastructure that fund the development, management, restoration, and protection of the nation's water, wetlands, and related resources, said Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

    "The budget also reflects the tough choices necessary to put the country on a fiscally sustainable path," said Darcy.

    The Army civil works budget funds the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of projects, and focuses on the highest performing projects and programs within three main Civil Works mission areas: commercial navigation, flood risk management, and aquatic ecosystem restoration.

    It also funds programs that contribute to the protection of the nation's waters and wetlands; the generation of low-cost renewable hydropower; the restoration of certain sites contaminated as a result of the nation's early atomic weapons development program; and emergency preparedness and training to respond to natural disasters.

    "This is a performance-based budget that funds the construction of projects that reduce risk to public safety, provide significant environmental restoration benefits, or provide significant economic returns on the nation's investment. America is a maritime nation, and this budget invests in navigation improvements that enable efficient use of waterborne transportation, a key component in global trade," said Darcy. "The 2012 Civil Works program is a continuing, fiscally prudent investment in the nation's water resources infrastructure and in the restoration of its aquatic ecosystems."

    This budget includes $26,623,000 for the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of Norfolk District projects in the three main civil works mission areas: navigation, flood and coastal storm damage reduction and environmental restoration.

    Proposed funding for Norfolk District projects includes:

    Environmental Restoration

    • Lynnhaven River Basin, $300,000
    • Upper Rappahannock River Basin, $50,000
    • Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery, $2,500,000

    Navigation

    • Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway-Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal, $2,260,000
    • Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Dismal Swamp Canal, $1,110,000
    • Chincoteague Inlet, $329,000
    • Hampton Roads Drift Removal, $1,682,000
    • James River Channel, $3,948,000
    • Lynnhaven Inlet, $100,000
    • Norfolk Harbor, $10,077,000
    • Rudee Inlet, $100,000
    • Prevention of Deposits, $75,000
    • Project Condition Surveys, $1,293,000
    • Water and Environmental Certifications, $110,000

    Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction

    • Willoughby Spit and Vicinity, $225,000
    • Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw, $2,203,000
    • Inspection of Completed Works, $261,000

    New federal funding in the Civil Works budget consists of $3.744 billion from the general fund, $848 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, $95 million from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, and $44 million from Special Recreation User Fees.

    The FY13 funding will be distributed among the appropriation accounts:

    • $2.398 billion for Operation and Maintenance
    • $1.471 billion for Construction
    • $234 million for Mississippi River and Tributaries
    • $205 million for the Regulatory Program
    • $182 million for Expenses
    • $104 million for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program
    • $102 million for Investigations
    • $30 million for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies
    • $5 million for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

    The FY13 Civil Works program is also provided $552 million in funding from three additional sources bringing the FY13 total program funding to $5.283 billion. This includes approximately $450 million in cost-sharing contributions from non-federal partners. Additionally, $21 million in Federal Permanent Appropriations will be available to USACE in FY13, and $81 million will be available from the Coastal Wetlands Restoration Trust Fund for the work of several of the federal agencies including USACE, overseen by an interagency federal-state task force led by USACE.

    The FY13 budget supports the modernization of federal water resources infrastructure processes to address 21st century water resources needs through policies and procedures that govern federal water resources development and strategies for both managing the nation's aging infrastructure and restoring aquatic ecosystem functions affected by past investments.

    The administration is considering additional proposals to advance efforts already underway and to build the foundation of a comprehensive strategy for investing in the nation's water infrastructure. In considering and developing these new policies, procedures, and strategies, the administration will continue to engage and collaborate with the many stakeholders whose interests are tied to our nation's water infrastructure, including state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the Congress.

    The FY13 budget includes $1.747 billion for the study, design, construction, operation and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects. It funds capital investments on the inland waterways based on the estimated revenues to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, while proposing a new user fee to increase revenue to this trust fund to enable a significant increase in funding for such investments in the future.

    The FY13 O&M program is funded at $2.532 billion, including $134 million in the Mississippi River and Tributaries, or MR&T, account. The budget emphasizes performance of existing projects by focusing on the those coastal harbors and inland waterways with the most commercial traffic as well as safety improvements at federal dams and levees based on the risk and consequence of a failure. The budget also funds maintenance work at harbors that support significant commercial fishing, subsistence, or public transportation benefits.

    The FY13 construction program is funded at $1.570 billion, including $99 million in the MR&T account. The construction program uses objective, performance-based guidelines to allocate funding toward the highest performing economic, environmental, and public safety investments. The aquatic ecosystem restoration program, whose priorities are informed by interagency collaboration and planning, emphasizes funding to restore several large ecosystems: the California Bay Delta, Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf Coast.

    USACE will continue to work with other federal, state and local agencies, using the best available science and adaptive management, to protect and restore these ecosystems. Environmental sustainability of these ecosystems also helps to support positive economic growth in the surrounding communities.

    The budget funds 101 construction projects, consisting of 11 dam safety assurance, seepage control, and static instability correction projects; 24 projects ranked on the basis of life-saving benefits (including three completions); four additional project completions; three new starts; and 59 other continuing projects.

    By program area, the 101 funded construction projects consist of 57 Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Reduction projects (including one new start and five budgeted for completion), 23 Commercial Navigation projects (including 11 continuing mitigation items and six dredged material placement areas, one budgeted for completion), 19 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration projects (including four projects to meet requirements of Biological Opinions and two new starts), and mitigation associated with two Hydropower projects (one budgeted for completion).

    Among the ongoing construction projects in the FY13 budget, the highest funded projects are: Herbert Hoover Dike, FL, seepage control ($153 million); the South Florida ecosystem restoration program, which includes the Everglades ($153 million); Olmsted Locks and Dam, IL & KY ($144 million); Columbia River Fish Mitigation, WA, OR & ID ($98 million); Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Recovery, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND & SD ($90 million); American River Watershed (Folsom Dam Mod), CA ($87 million); Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland, KY, seepage control ($85 million); Center Hill Lake, TN ($75 million); and New York and New Jersey Harbor, NY & NJ ($68 million).

    The seven construction projects funded for completion in the FY13 budget are: Columbia River Treaty Fishing Access Sites, OR& WA; Lock and Dam 27, Mississippi River, IL; Portugues and Bucana Rivers, PR; Sims Bayou, Houston, TX; St. Louis Flood Protection, MO; SW Valley Flood Damage Reduction, Albuquerque, NM; and Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland, KY.

    The FY13 construction program includes three high-priority new construction starts: Hamilton City, CA ($7.5 million); Louisiana Coastal Area, Ecosystem Restoration, LA ($16.8 million); and Lower Colorado River Basin (Wharton/Onion), TX ($2 million).

    The FY13 budget includes funding for the initial construction of projects to reduce storm damage along the coast and the periodic renourishment of such projects. The FY13 program supports nine such projects of which two are initial construction and seven are periodic renourishment.

    Recreation is funded at $252 million in FY13, with $241 million in the O&M account and $11 million in the MR&T account. USACE is the nation's largest provider of federal recreation opportunities, and its recreation areas contribute to the success of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative.

    The FY13 Regulatory Program is funded at $205 million. With these funds, USACE will improve protection of the nation's waters and wetlands and provide greater efficiency of permit processing.

    The FY13 FUSRAP program is funded at $104 million to continue remedial activities at 22 sites contaminated as a result of the nation's early atomic weapons development program.

    The FY13 Investigations account is funded at $102 million to fund studies to determine the need, engineering feasibility, and economic, environmental and social return of potential solutions for water- and land-related resource problems. The budget will fund the completion of 21 studies and includes six new studies: Cano Martin Pena, PR; the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Study, DE, MD, PA, VA; Englebright and Daguerre-

    Point Dams (Yuba River) Fish Passage, CA; Houston Ship Channel, TX; the Louisiana Coastal Area Comprehensive Study; and the nationwide Water Resources Priorities Study, a high-priority evaluation of the nation's vulnerability to inland and coastal flooding and of the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of existing programs and strategies.

    Emergency Management is funded at $36 million in FY13, with $30 million in the FCCE account for preparedness and training to respond to floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, and $6 million in the O&M account. The FCCE funding includes $2.5 million to support continued USACE participation in the development of Silver Jackets interagency teams in every state to provide unified federal assistance in implementing flood risk management solutions.

    USACE will also participate with other land management agencies in the Veterans Job Corps program to put veterans to work on conservation and restoration of natural resources, recreation, and related infrastructure on federal, state, Tribal and local public lands. The $1 billion program is proposed over 5 years through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will coordinate the effort.

    The FY13 Civil Works budget press book will be available on the Web at 1:30 p.m. eastern, February 13, at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.


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    02/22/2012 - SUFFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host its first 2012 quarterly meeting of the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot, or FNOD, Restoration Advisory Board Thursday, March 1, from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Courtyard Marriott located at 8060 Harbour View Boulevard in Suffolk, Va.

    Current areas of interest being discussed by USACE include the following:

    • James River beachfront sediment sampling
    • Horseshoe Pond Feasibility Study
    • Preliminary assessment of FNOD
    • Arsenic investigation in groundwater
    • Site management plan

    The quarterly Restoration Advisory Board, or RAB, meetings serve as a public forum for discussing US Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, remediation progress at the 975-acre former depot, located near the former Tidewater Community College Portsmouth campus. At the meetings FNOD RAB members provide input on proposed work plans and restoration efforts to an interagency project team consisting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Community members are also encouraged to attend and ask questions during the meeting.

    In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, placed FNOD on its National Priorities List. In 1997, the FNOD RAB was established. It is the main forum for the public to provide input to project team members of USACE on cleanup plans and efforts at the site. The RAB is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including members of the community, local businesses, local and state officials, a Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation representative, property owners, and interagency project team members from USACE, VDEQ and the EPA.

    All FNOD quarterly meetings and applications for RAB membership are open to the public. Adriane James is the Norfolk District projects branch environmental section chief and RAB government co-chair, (757) 201-7701. Sher Zaman of the USACE Baltimore District provides overall project and funding oversight and can be reached at (410) 962-3134, or by email: Sher.Zaman@usace.army.mil. Daily FNOD activities are managed by Jeff Zoeckler of the USACE Norfolk District. He can be reached at (757) 201-7726.


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    03/12/2012 - CHESAPEAKE, VA — The Deep Creek Bridge will be closed March 16 from midnight to 5 a.m. for scheduled repairs and maintenance. The repairs include welding the transfer plate between the bridge and the roadway. Although the transfer plate is not a structural member of the bridge, it must be welded to prevent possible damage to the bridge and vehicle tires crossing the bridge.

    Motorists can expect lengthy delays during this time; therefore, the following alternate route is provided:

    Vehicles traveling south on George Washington Highway in Deep Creek should take I-64 West to Dominion Boulevard and then South on Moses Grandy Trail back to George Washington Highway.

    Vehicles traveling south on Cedar Road/Moses Grandy Trail or north on George Washington Highway, and need to cross the Deep Creek Bridge, should take Dominion Boulevard to I-64 East to George Washington Highway.

    Repairs will not affect vessels traveling the Dismal Swamp Canal.

    For more information, call the Norfolk District public affairs office at 757-201-7606 or 757-510-6398.


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    03/14/2012 - SOUTH MILLS, N.C. — After nearly three months of rehabilitation work on two 23-ton gates at the historic Dismal Swamp Canal's South Mills lock in South Mills, N.C., the canal lock is set to reopen to boater traffic March 19.

    The refurbished gates, part of eight sets of lock gates throughout the Dismal Swamp and Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal waterways, are managed and operated by the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Each set of gates along the two canals are reconditioned on a rotational schedule every five years.

    U.S. Facilities, Inc., based in Chesapeake, Va., is the district's longtime contractor for annual maintenance and upkeep of both canal waterways. David Spataro, U.S. Facilities project manager, said the South Mills gate repairs included replacing leaking rubber seals, adding a fresh coat of anti-corrosive paint, spot-welding, replacing wooden timbers and cleaning valve stems.

    "This rehabilitation work has historically extended the serviceability of each set of gates for up to 15 years," Spataro said.

    Some finishing touches will be performed this week prior to reopening, said Joel Scussel, canal operations manager for the Norfolk District. Electric wiring is being reconnected to the motor that opens and closes the valves, and catwalks and railings removed in preparation for the repairs are being re-attached.

    The Corps will also clear out the canal of tree limbs before boaters pass through.

    Donna Stewart, director of the Dismal Swamp Canal Visitor Center in N.C., said the timing for reopening the lock will be perfect for recreational boaters on their seasonal migration north.

    "It's worked out extremely well because we haven't missed many boaters at all during the lock closure," Stewart said. "Usually, boaters begin their trek from points south as the weather warms in March, and their numbers continue to build through May."

    The Dismal Swamp and Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals form the historic Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which provides pleasure boaters and commercial shippers with a protected inland channel between Norfolk, Va., and Miami, Fla.

    The Dismal Swamp Canal is the oldest continually operating manmade canal in the United States.


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    03/15/2012 - NORFOLK — Colonel Paul Olsen will assume command of the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in a ceremony at the Chrysler Museum here at 10 a.m. Friday.

    Olsen replaces Col. Andrew W. Backus, who assumed command of the district in June 2009. Colonel Backus’ new one-year assignment is at the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A), Combined Joint Engineers at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan. The mission of NTM-A is helping the Afghans stand up, equip, and train a viable and sustainable security structure that will allow the elected government to govern in accordance with the will of the people, and provide stability and security for the country.

    Colonel Christopher L. Larsen, commander of the Corps' North Atlantic Division, will preside over the ceremony.

    As the Norfolk District Commander, Olsen will manage the organization's dual military and civil works mission of engineering, construction and water resource management.

    Colonel Olsen was commissioned in the U.S. Army upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geography. He has held leadership positions in mechanized and combat heavy engineer units in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, including command of the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Bravo Company, 9th Engineer Battalion during Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia; Executive Officer of Headquarters Company, 43rd Engineer Battalion during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia; and Platoon Leader, Alpha Company, 317th Engineer Battalion during Operations Desert Shield and Storm in the Middle East.

    Colonel Olsen is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and holds a Master of Science Degree in civil and infrastructure engineering from George Mason University, a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Master of Arts Degree in business management from Webster University.

    His awards include: the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, and various other personal and unit commendations. Additionally, he was the 2003 recipient of the Secretary of the Army’s Frank Pace Award for innovation and the 2011 recipient of the Commandant’s Award for Distinction in Research at the U.S. Army War College.

    He is married to LTC Cynthia Olsen of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps; they have three children: David, Gabriel, and Rebecca.


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    03/20/2012 - NORFOLK — In a time-honored military ceremony dating back to ancient Roman times, Col. Paul B. Olsen became the 57th commander of Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers March 16, assuming command from Col. Andrew W. Backus.

    Backus, who assumed command of the district in June 2009, is being assigned to the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, Combined Joint Engineers at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan. The mission of NTM-A is helping the Afghans stand up, equip and train a security structure that will allow the elected government to govern in accordance with the will of the people, and provide stability and security for the country.

    The ceremony, officiated by Col. Christopher Larsen, North Atlantic Division commander, featured a color guard from the 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade and a quintet from the U.S. Continental Army Band at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The formal transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from Backus to Olsen was symbolized by the passing of the organizational colors and by publishing the assumption of command orders.

    In keeping with Norfolk District tradition, Jorge Nadal, acting deputy district engineer and director for Programs and Project Management, performed the transfer.

    The ceremony included emotion-filled remarks from Backus, who, fighting back tears, cited several key district accomplishments and praised the district team, key stakeholders and community and government leaders for making his command tenure such a success. Larsen thanked Norfolk District for "always stepping up to the plate, no matter how difficult the mission," and characterized the Norfolk District as one of the "very best in the Corps."

    Col. Victoria Bruzese, Arlington National Cemetery senior engineer, who represented Kathryn Condon, Arlington's executive program director, praised the Norfolk District team for its outstanding mission support during recent repairs of the Tomb of the Unknowns and other engineer work under way. Norfolk District became involved with supporting the Arlington National Cemetery Program last spring, providing planning, engineering design, contracting and construction support and consultation on behalf of the North Atlantic Division.

    "You have brought fresh energy, technical expertise, and most importantly passion and you are an important part of the restoration of the honor and dignity that is Arlington National Cemetery," Bruzese said. "…I can't thank you enough for all the veterans and families that have loved ones in ANC."

    Other presenters included Mary-Ann Saunders, who represented Mayor Alan P. Krasnoff of Chesapeake, Va. Saunders thanked the district team for its active support of the city's South Norfolk Jordan Bridge project and the annual Paddle for the Border kayaking event down the historic Dismal Swamp Canal.

    John Karafa, president of Leebcor Services, LLC, a service-disabled veteran small business, thanked Norfolk District for allowing his company to participate in its mission-critical $1.14 billion 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, design and construction management work at Fort Lee, Va. Karafa said the work really gave his company a "shot in the arm," and noted how proud his employees are for achieving the first LEED Gold-certified construction project at Fort Lee: the $7.3 million Air Force/Navy Dining Facility. The certification was awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council's Green Building Certification Institute.

    The ceremony's final speaker was the newly minted Norfolk District commander. Standing erect behind the podium, all 6 feet, 4 inches, Olsen peered out over the packed theater and began his remarks by acknowledging and thanking the many dignitaries, friends, relatives, fellow engineer officers and noncommissioned officers and special mentors, many who traveled near and far to celebrate his career milestone.

    A special shout-out went to Command Sgt. Maj. Clint Pearson.

    "For those of you who serve, we know that no accomplishment is ever done alone…so command sergeant major, as with the rank I wear today, as well as this command, it is yours as much as it is mine," Olsen said.

    Olsen then introduced his wife, Lt. Col. Cynthia Olsen, as the "infinitely more talented, more intelligent, and far better-looking colonel Olsen." Lt. Col. Olsen is assigned to The Pentagon, serving as the Army's deputy for Administrative Law.

    Finally, Olsen addressed the Norfolk District's "legacy of excellence," and briefly described his sojourn throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia before taking command, admiring firsthand some of the district's great civil works and military construction projects.

    "As it has done since time eternal, our fresh water flows into the Chesapeake Bay from watersheds to the North and West that owe their protection to many in the country, the Corps, our communities and the Commonwealth," Olsen said. "Through combined education and dedication, we balance our nation's passion to build with its responsibility to protect – for 'Building Strong' implies 'Building Smart'. I'm thrilled to be joining a community that recognizes both of these imperatives."

    The change of command was held at the Chrysler Museum of Art in downtown Norfolk, Va.


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    03/29/2012 — In April, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, will host three public meetings - two in Maryland and one in Virginia, to talk about a master plan to restore the population of native oysters in Maryland and Virginia tributaries.

    Since the turn of the 20th century, oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay have declined dramatically, largely due to disease, overharvesting, loss of habitat, and degraded water quality. "Oyster restoration is critical to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and is a high priority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," said Susan Conner, chief of the environmental analysis section at the Norfolk District, USACE. "These public meetings are being conducted to ensure that the public is aware of the Master Plan and every effort is made to identify and consider all beneficial and adverse effects of the proposal," she added.

    The Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan is USACE's plan for large-scale, science-based oyster restoration throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The public meetings will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide feedback.

    "We are excited with the direction oyster restoration is taking toward focused, tributary based efforts and look forward to discussing our proposed oyster restoration plans with the public", added Angie Sowers, study manager from the Baltimore District, USACE. Members of the Norfolk and Baltimore district's oyster teams as well as their partners in oyster restoration will be present at the meetings.

    Public meeting dates and locations are:

    Maryland
    - April 10 from 3-8PM
    The Philip Merrill Environmental Center (Chesapeake Bay Foundation)
    6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis MD 21403

    Maryland
    - April 19 from 3-8PM
    Chesapeake College (Route 50)
    1000 College Circle, Wye Mills MD 21679

    Virginia
    - April 17 from 5:30-9PM
    Thomas Nelson Community College
    99 Thomas Nelson Drive, Hampton VA 23666

    During the meetings, comments and feedback using social media are encouraged. Join the discussion on Twitter (#MdVaOyster) or watch via Livestream at http://www.livestream.com/usaceoysters. Questions posted on social media channels during the meeting will be shared and discussed at the public meetings and responses will be posted.

    About the Master Plan

    The Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan presents the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan for large-scale, sanctuary-based oyster restoration throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The master plan examines and evaluates the problems and opportunities related to oyster restoration, and formulates plans for implementing large-scale, Bay-wide restoration. Restoration plans recommended by USACE's master plan have been developed in coordination with the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC), and Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

    The long-term goal is to restore an abundant, self-sustaining oyster population that performs important ecological functions such as providing reef community habitat, nutrient cycling, spatial connectivity, and water filtration, among others, and contributes to an oyster fishery.

    Public Comments

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be accepting public comments during the public meetings. In addition, written comments on the proposal will be accepted through May 19, to supplement the meeting records. Faxed comments will not be accepted. To submit written comments:

    Maryland
    Mail: Ms. Angela Sowers, 10 S. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
    Email: NativeOysterRestMasterPlan@usace.army.mil

    Virginia Mail: Ms. Susan Conner, 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510
    Email: NativeOysterRestMasterPlan@usace.army.mil

    During the meetings, comments and feedback using social media are encouraged. Join the discussion on Twitter (#MdVaOyster) or watch via Livestream at http://www.livestream.com/usaceoysters. Questions posted on social media channels during the meeting will be shared and discussed at the public meetings and responses will be posted.

    Note: In an effort to conserve and eliminate duplication of viewpoints or facts presented, groups with common interests are encouraged to consolidate their comments for presentation by a representative spokesperson.

    Media Queries

    If you are a member of the media and have questions about the Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan, please contact:

    Maryland Media
    Ashley Williams, Public Affairs Specialist
    410-962-2809
    Ashley.a.williams@usace.army.mil

    Virginia Media
    Pam Spaugy, Public Affairs Specialist
    757-510-6398
    Pam.k.spaugy@usace.army.mil


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    04/04/2012 - ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources has released a working draft report examining options for future modernization for U.S. port and inland waterways.

    The Conference Report on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (H.R. 2055), instructed the IWR to report to Congress on how it should address the need for additional port and inland waterway modernization to accommodate post-Panamax vessels.

    Because of the broad stakeholder interest in these options, IWR is committed to conducting its investigation and communicating the findings in a transparent and accessible manner.

    About the Working Draft Report

    Congress asked that the report consider: costs associated with deepening and widening deep-draft harbors; the ability of the waterways and ports to enhance the nation's export initiatives benefitting the agricultural and manufacturing sectors; the current and projected population trends that distinguish regional ports and ports that are immediately adjacent to population centers; the availability of inland intermodal access; and environmental impacts resulting from the modernization of inland waterways and deep-draft ports.

    This early draft of the report has components that are still in progress.

    It includes a draft executive summary to show stakeholders the direction the report authors are taking based on research to date. It incorporates information from activities and outreach efforts that were already underway, and begins to incorporate feedback from discussions held through listening sessions and other venues over the last few weeks.

    The draft report considers the perspectives of shippers, carriers, ports, environmental interests, state and Federal agencies, and other interested parties as well as taking a national view.

    Opportunity for Stakeholder Input

    IWR will collect comments on the draft through April 18 and will host a webinar listening session from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT April 13. To participate, please RSVP to Portandwaterways@usace.army.mil. To review summaries of comments collected during last months' listening sessions, visit the study website at www.iwr.usace.army.mil/portandwaterways/.

    Next Steps

    The preliminary report continues development and will be reviewed by USACE headquarters and the executive branch prior to being transmitted to Congress in June 2012.


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    04/04/2012 - PORTSMOUTH, Va. — It began with four folks, sitting around a kitchen table, discussing ways to clean-up their beloved river.

    That was 1993.

    On March 29, the Elizabeth River Project – the grassroots non-profit organization that morphed into a multi-million dollar public-private venture – broke ground on its largest public restoration site: Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth, Va.

    Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, ERP executive director, told the crowd the future urban park will become a unique "oasis for recreation and education" for the city of Portsmouth and the Hampton Roads region.

    Paradise Creek Nature Park is a 40-acre waterfront park on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River. When phase 1 work is completed in spring 2013, the park will boast two miles of nature trails and restored native plants that meander through one of the last stands of mature forest on the river. The former creek bottom, filled with dredged material in the mid-1990s, will be restored. The park will feature the region's largest restored wetland, plus unique outdoor sculptures, education stops, kayaking, public access roads and an earthworks mound designed as public art, where visitors can enjoy a view of the entire park.

    The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has long partnered with ERP to make their plans to restore the river a reality.

    In 1998, at the urging of the ERP, Norfolk District gained Congressional approval to form a project delivery team to formulate and conduct an environmental restoration study to restore the health of the Elizabeth River. Led by Robert Pretlow, district civil engineer and project manager, The PDT included five cost-sharing sponsors: the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the four cities on the banks of the Elizabeth River: Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

    The award-winning study produced an environmental restoration plan that included the use of environmental dredging to remove contaminated river sediment and construction of wetland areas for habitat restoration.

    The Elizabeth River provides for Hampton Roads in economic terms. She sets a scene for attractions, such as the Harbor Park battlefield and Norfolk's National Maritime Center, Nauticus, where its war hero resides, the U.S.S. Wisconsin. Her channel waters bustle with military fleets and foreign cargo vessels of the expanding Port of Hampton Roads. She hosts thousands of recreational boaters that cruise the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and hundreds of thousands party on her shores during the annual Harborfest.

    However, the Elizabeth River remains one of the more seriously degraded urban rivers in the United States. Originally a broad, shallow estuary of the Chesapeake Bay, the river has been dredged to twice her normal depth and filled to 75 percent her normal width to accommodate three centuries of development.

    Toxins accumulate in the river's muddy floor. The lurking toxins cause health problems in fish, including tumors, cataracts and other abnormalities, and pose risks for human health. Aquatic life in the river is hard-pressed to find a habitat; as much as 50 percent of tidal wetlands have been lost on the Elizabeth River since World War II.

    Some of the river's problems have abated with the environmental consciousness of the last several decades. Industrial discharges into the river are regulated and significantly cleaner. Municipal improvements include state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants. Large challenges, however, remain for the 300-square-mile watershed, and that's where the district's environmental restoration plan took center stage.

    The Norfolk District recently completed two wetland restoration projects: the Scuffletown Creek Sediment Remediation project in Chesapeake and the Old Dominion Drainage Canal project in Norfolk. The district is also working to complete the design leading to the construction of a wetland restoration project at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach.

    Currently, Norfolk District supports the ERP through the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project, said Michael Anderson, project manager.

    "As a 50 percent cost-share partner with the Virginia Port Authority to construct the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project, we are also constructing 11 acres of wetlands at the Paradise Creek Nature Park," Anderson said.

    The creation of wetlands at Paradise Creek Nature Park is set for completion in October. The park's second phase of work is scheduled for completion in 2015, and will include a children's playground and picnic shelters.


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    04/28/2011 – NORFOLK, Va. — When President Barack Obama launched America's Great Outdoors initiative he cited the nation's legacy of conservation and its passion for protecting its "most precious national treasures."

    So, what better place to celebrate the spirit of America's Great Outdoors then at the nation's oldest continually operating canal?

    That's exactly what Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy will do when she joins more than 300 people to participate in the City of Chesapeake's 8th Annual Paddle for the Border on the Dismal Swamp Canal Saturday.

    Paddlers will launch from the Dismal Swamp State Park in South Mills, N.C., paddle 7.5 miles and end with a picnic at the Dismal Swamp boat ramp on Ballahack Road.

    Though the canal will be full of canoes and kayakers, motorized boaters will still be able to access the waterway, but they may experience some delays while navigating the canal from 8:00 a.m. until approximately 1:00 p.m.

    Law enforcement and public safety officials from North Carolina and Virginia will be on site during the event—both on the water and observing from the shore— to assist with any emergency situations that may arise.

    Paddle for the Border is sponsored by the Dismal Swamp State Park, Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and City of Chesapeake Parks and Recreation Department.

    President Obama's AGO initiative seeks to reinvigorate the nation's approach to reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the lands and waters that are used for farming, hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. It spreads the messages of conservation, protection, reconnection and stewardship of the outdoors.


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    04/17/2012 - WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — Sand and stone will provide better protection for rocket launch pads, as well as Commonwealth of Virginia and Navy facilities located on Virginia's Eastern Shore from the advancing Atlantic Ocean.

    The construction of a 14-foot-high seawall, as well as a widened beach, at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility's launch range will help slow erosion along the island that has seen the sea advance approximately 8 to 11 feet per year in recent decades.

    The seawall, completed last month, extended the existing wall by 1420 feet, and protects launch pads from being washed away.

    The beach fill portion, which began earlier this month, involves three dredges working simultaneously to add additional beachfront pushing the lapping waves of the ocean at least 82 feet further away from vital infrastructure rather than just a few feet.

    "After the years of conceptual design, coastal modeling, environmental evaluations and permitting the Norfolk District is just as excited as our Wallops Island Flight Facility project counterparts " said George Mears, the Norfolk District project manager overseeing the construction.

    Approximately 3.2 million cubic feet of beach quality sand will be pumped and placed on shore along 19,700 feet of oceanfront along the island's southeastern side.

    The new beach will offer a 14-foot -high dune behind a 6-foot-high berm that will gradually descend in elevation to the ocean giving the launch range a 130-foot-wide beach to absorb the constant pounding of surf, especially during coastal storms.

    The Wallops Island facility is home to, not only NASA, but also the US Navy Surface Combat Systems Center and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport making this a growing economic generator for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the region.

    In his State of the Commonwealth speech, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell noted his vision for expanding the commercial space industry at the facility, something that would not be able to happen if Mother Nature continues to erode the island away and compromisinge the facilities located on site.

    The project will allow the facility to continue safe launch operations for years to come, something that is vital to the nation, the Commonwealth, and the growing economy in the area.

    "There is a bright and busy future for NASA, MARS and US Navy missions on Wallops Island. This project and the adaptive management and maintenance of this investment is essential to protect the ongoing health and future growth potential of those missions so unique to the Nations' science, spaceflight, and national defense objectives and regional economic development opportunities," said Caroline Massey, Assistant Director for Management Operations at NASA Wallops.

    Current construction of the new beach is expected to last until late July of this year.


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    04/18/2012 - LEXINGTON, Va. — The 23rd edition of Virginia's premier environmental summit, held April 10-12 on the historic campus of Virginia Military Institute, attracted more than 700 environmental stewards from throughout Virginia's public-private sectors as well as non-governmental agencies.

    Together, they exchanged information, technology and ideas aimed at contributing to a prosperous economic and environmentally sustainable future.

    Environmental scientists and other staff of Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attended the Environment Virginia Symposium, along with Col. Paul Olsen, the district's new commander and Michael Darrow, chief, Water Resources Division. The district's educational exhibit was on full display and staffed by environmental scientists in the Medal of Honor Hall at the George C. Marshall Center for Leadership and Ethics.

    Olsen said he was honored to attend this important environmental symposium, with its theme: "Sustainable Solutions for Uncertain Times," and relished the opportunity to meet with and learn from so many diverse industry leaders who, like he, embrace environmental sustainment.

    Shortly after assuming command of Norfolk District on March 16, Olsen was quick to convey to the district team his two environmental imperatives: "Building Strong" implies "Building Smart."

    "Through combined education and dedication," Olsen said during his change of command remarks, "we balance our nation's passion to build with its responsibility to protect."

    Keith Lockwood, chief, Norfolk District Operation's Technical Support Section, led a symposium break-out session on the district's Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area in Portsmouth, Va. Lockwood touched on the strategic importance of the dredged material site, but his main focus was on the growing popularity of the site as an important habitat, nesting and bird-watching area for several species of local and migratory birds.

    Michelle Hamor, chief of the Flood Plain Management Section, Norfolk District, led a presentation on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Silver Jackets program and the establishment of a Virginia team. The Silver Jacket program seeks to bring together federal, state, tribal and local agencies to learn from one another and jointly apply resources to reduce flood risk. The Virginia team has been active since June 2010, and signed a formal charter in December 2010.

    The Virginia team is comprised of representatives from USACE, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service River Forecast Centers and Weather Offices, U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

    Following the presentation, Hamor paneled a question and answer session regarding floodplain management and dam safety initiatives, including the Virginia Silver Jackets Pilot Project, Flood Risk Information System.

    Tom Tracy, executive director of Virginia Turfgrass Council, based in Virginia Beach, Va., called the symposium an absolute success.

    "Every year I attend this symposium, I'm simply amazed at what new technology is emerging," Tracy said. "Moreover, I always leave here with my environmental tool box brimming with new, innovative ideas and solutions."


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    04/25/2012 - NORFOLK, Va. — Perfect sailing weather awaited the Old Dominion University sailing team, but they chose instead to remain ashore on the banks of the Elizabeth River -- just long enough to celebrate the grand opening of their new sailing pier.

    Flanked by friends and guests, ODU officials and its project partners, Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Norfolk, cut the ribbon on the new sailing pier water access project and companion Elizabeth River Wetlands Restoration project.

    Bob Finney, ODU vice president for Administration and Finance, told the audience that this project completion was special because it tied into the university's weeklong "Blue goes Green" celebration, which focused on the school's many environmentally-friendly initiatives.

    "This project couldn't have been completed without the dedication and commitment of our Norfolk District and city of Norfolk partners," Finney said. "Together, we've completed a special project that's worthy of the other great efforts over the years to restore the health and vitality of the Elizabeth River."

    Lt. Col. David Fedroff, Norfolk District deputy commander said restoring the health of the river depended on cooperation among partners; local universities; federal, state, regional and local agencies; civic groups and organizations.

    The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project is located on the main branch of the Elizabeth River within the city of Norfolk. The project is part of a much larger Elizabeth River environmental initiative that began in 1993 with four folks sitting around a kitchen table discussing ways to clean-up their beloved river.

    That gathering produced the Elizabeth River Project, the grassroots non-profit organization that today has morphed into a multi-million dollar public-private venture that is steadily restoring the health of the Elizabeth River.

    The Norfolk District has long partnered with ERP to make their vision to restore the river a reality. In 1998, at the urging of the ERP, Norfolk District gained Congressional approval to form a project delivery team to formulate and conduct an environmental restoration study to restore the health of the Elizabeth River. The PDT included five cost-sharing sponsors: the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the four cities on the banks of the Elizabeth River: Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

    The award-winning study produced an environmental restoration plan that included the use of environmental dredging to remove contaminated river sediment and construction of wetland areas for habitat restoration.

    The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project constructed two stone breakwaters to create a protected area for nearly an acre of wetlands restoration, and a check dam at the mouth of the stormwater canal to control sedimentation. The funding for this phase of the project came from the federal government and the city of Norfolk.

    An additional project feature included the rehabilitation of the existing revetments along the golf course and ODU shoreline, and the construction of a timber pier, gangway and floating pier at the ODU Sailing Center. This was funded by ODU and the city of Norfolk.

    The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project was designed by Andrews, Miller and Associates of Cambridge, Md., with construction performed by Polu Kai Construction Company of Falls Church, Va., a Service-Disabled Veterans small business.


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    04/27/2012 - FORT A.P. HILL, Va. — Construction is underway to expand the capabilities of a laboratory tasked by the Army to train Soldiers in an ever -changing wartime environment. The Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group battle laboratory celebrated its construction start in a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday on post.

    The $55 million complex, which is being built by Newport News, Va.- based W.M. Jordan Company, will expand the AWG's capability to program new and different scenarios based on real-world experiences for which Soldiers can train – prior to boots being on the ground.

    "In today's challenges and tomorrow's uncertain conflicts, we must field an Army that must rapidly dominate any operational environment and achieve decisive results across a full range of missions," said Col. Patrick Mahaney Jr., Asymmetric Warfare Group commander, in his ceremony speech. "What we have here will enable us to assist the force to do just that."

    The battle lab will provide the Army with facilities to quickly replicate and quickly devise means and methods to defeat evolving threats on the battlefield.

    "This provides the Army with an area where we can model scenarios and work on rapid combat-solution development and Soldier adaptability," said Bill Mizell, Asymmetric Battle Lab operations director. Not only will the project enhance the training of Soldiers, but the local economy as well. The project is bringing in more than 200 jobs and, combined with three other firing rages being built simultaneously, the area is seeing around a $91 million investment.

    "This Army investment exceeds any current corporate investment in Caroline County," said Lt. Col. Jack Haefner, Fort A.P. Hill garrison commander.

    Project construction is expected to be complete in October of 2013.


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    05/07/2012 - DISMAL SWAMP CANAL, N.C. — By 6 a.m. on May 5, light rain showers combined with early morning dew covered the trees and leafy vegetation lining the banks of the historical Dismal Swamp Canal.

    The temperatures at 6:30 a.m. were in the low 70s and the sun was just beginning to peek through the clouds as the day welcomed 325 people who gathered at the welcome center in North Carolina to participate in the 9th annual Paddle for the Border.

    "This has been the third year I have paddled, and it has been a fantastic experience every time," said John Monroe, who drove more than three hours from a small North Carolina town to participate in the Chesapeake, Va.-sponsored event.

    Monroe, 76, said the event "keeps me in shape and gives me an opportunity to travel the historical canal at my pace."

    As kayaks, canoes and waterboards launched in North Carolina at 8:30 a.m., temperatures had crept to 80 degrees for the 7.5-mile paddle to Virginia. Word along the banks of the Great Dismal Swamp Canal was that the massive trees that arched over the water and small coves would provide shady retreats for people to stop, sip water and snap photos of their friends paddling by.

    "It was a perfect day to slip a paddle into the dark waters of the historic Dismal Swamp Canal," Gladys Jones said.

    Jones, the event coordinator for the city of Chesapeake, Va. – the city in which the paddle ended – said the maximum amount of paddlers – 300 – participated in 2011. As a result, that number was increased to 325 participants this year.

    "Each year, registration becomes more competitive," Jones said. "Many participants are regulars, calling us early in January to find out when registration will begin."

    Paddlers traveled from several states, as well as localities throughout North Carolina and Virginia, to participate this year.

    With more paddle participants that in 2011, Joy Greenwood, park superintendant for the Dismal Swamp State Park, said it was important to that everyone be "mindful of the increased water traffic so it is an enjoyable, safe and hazard- free experience."

    Accordingly, park rangers from three different jurisdictions provided on-water boat operations in support of the event while the Chesapeake fire department's community emergency response team provided on-bank observations and emergency medical services.

    The annual event, sponsored by the Dismal Swamp State Park, Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and City of Chesapeake Parks and Recreation Department, gives participants an opportunity to paddle from the Dismal Swamp State Park in North Carolina to the Great Dismal Swamp Boat Ramp in Chesapeake, Va.

    President Obama's America Great Outdoors initiative, or AGO, seeks to reinvigorate the nation's approach to reconnect Americans with the lands and waters that are used for farming, hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. It spreads the messages of conservation, protection, reconnection and stewardship of the outdoors.

    Did you know?

    The Dismal Swamp Canal was inspired by George Washington, who as a surveyor of rural lands, made his first visit to the Great Dismal Swamp in May 1763. Washington, along with other prominent Virginians and North Carolinians, suggested draining the swamp and digging a north-south canal through it to connect the waters of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. In 1805, after 12 years of back-breaking construction, the 22 mile long Dismal Swamp Canal was finally completed. Since 1929, the Corps' Norfolk District has held the responsibility for maintaining and operating the Dismal Swamp Canal, which has the distinction as the oldest continually operating man-made canal in the United States.


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    05/10/2012 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS , Va. — The work of the 633rd Security Forces Squadron at Langley's LaSalle gate was worthy of a nod from the "Dirty Jobs" man himself.

    "We've worked in some bad places, and that was a bad place," said Lt. Col. Scott Foley, 633rd SFS commander.

    The gate served not only as an entrance for the thousands who work on Langley but as an inspection area for contract and commercial vehicles coming on to base. There, base defenders had no choice but to squeeze themselves between a filthy road and a dirty vehicle in every weather condition to thoroughly inspect each truck before it gained access to the installation.

    But these Airmen's dirty job just became cleaner – and easier.

    A new 9,000-square-foot Large Vehicle Inspection Station, complete with catwalks, inspection pits and blast-rated booths opened with a little bit of fanfare and a lot of excitement. "It's been a long time coming," said Col. Reggie Austin, 633rd Air Base Wing vice commander at the ribbon-cutting ceremony May 4. "[This] eliminates security threats and … keeps defenders out of harm's way."

    Security forces Airmen previously worked a few feet from active lanes of traffic. This arrangement slowed inspection time and, in turn, created a perpetual line of trucks that slowed regular base traffic coming in through the LaSalle Gate.

    The new $7.2 million inspection station can accommodate three vehicles at a time, which was part of the design to improve inspection efficiency, eliminate gate congestion and get the Airmen out of traffic.

    The joint venture project, constructed by W.M. Jordan/Versar, Inc. and overseen by the Norfolk District, Army Corps of Engineers' includes a waiting area for drivers, a room for the canine unit and cameras for monitoring the inspection bay.

    "With this facility, security forces can access each driver's license information and perform a basic background check," said Buff Jackson, Norfolk District construction representative. Specifications for LEED Silver certification – an internationally recognized standard for sustainable "green" buildings – were met during the design and construction of the facility. The station is phase one of a two-part project. The second phase of construction, which will take place at LaSalle Gate and begin this summer, will widen the road, add protective barriers and construct a visitor's building.


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    05/16/2012 - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today it will begin accepting the America the Beautiful Federal Recreation Pass Program's new Interagency Annual Pass for Military (Military Pass) at its more than 2,500 USACE-managed recreation areas nationwide.

    Beginning on Armed Forces Day on May 19, service men and women - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and activated National Guard and Reserves, and their dependents who present the new Military Pass will receive a fee waiver to USACE-managed day-use areas (boat launches and swimming areas). The Military Pass, which is free, may be obtained in person at U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facilities. Additional information on the Federal Recreation Pass Program is available at http://store.usgs.gov/pass/annual.html.

    Military members and their dependents may also present a Department of the Defense Identification Card or Common Access Card (CAC) to receive the day-use fee waiver at USACE-managed day-use areas.

    In a separate effort, USACE will continue to waive camping fees for active duty military members and their dependents on mid- or post-deployment leave. To qualify for a camping fee waiver at a USACE-managed campground, a member or dependent must present the new Military Pass or CAC and a copy of their mid- or post-deployment (reintegration) leave orders. Camping fees are waived on a walk-up and space available basis, as well as for reservations made through the National Recreation Reservation Service call center at 1-877-444-6777. However, fees will not be waived for on-line reservations made through the on-line Recreation.gov website. Acceptance of USACE fee waivers is encouraged, but not required, at the more than 1,800 nationwide recreation areas managed by other entities on USACE lands.

    "Our military service members and their families sacrifice so much for our country. The waiver of day-use fees at USACE lakes and recreation areas will make it easier and more affordable for them to get to the great outdoors with their families and relax," said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, USACE Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations.

    USACE is the nation's largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on USACE recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.


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    05/23/2012 - SUFFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host its second quarterly meeting of the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot, or FNOD, Restoration Advisory Board Thursday, June 7, from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Courtyard Marriott located at 8060 Harbour View Boulevard in Suffolk, Va.

    Current areas of interest being discussed by USACE include the following:

    • Next phase of the Geophysical Investigation
    • FNOD Background Study (Arsenic Investigation, Area of Concern 22)

    The quarterly Restoration Advisory Board, or RAB, meetings serve as a public forum for discussing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, remediation progress at the 975-acre former depot, located near the former Tidewater Community College Portsmouth campus. At the meetings FNOD RAB members provide input on proposed work plans and restoration efforts to an interagency project team consisting of USACE, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Community members are also encouraged to attend and ask questions during the meeting.

    In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, placed FNOD on its National Priorities List. In 1997, the FNOD RAB was established. It is the main forum for the public to provide input to project team members of USACE on cleanup plans and efforts at the site. The RAB is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including members of the community, local businesses, local and state officials, a Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation representative, property owners, and interagency project team members from USACE, VDEQ and the EPA.

    All FNOD quarterly meetings and applications for RAB membership are open to the public. Adriane James is the Norfolk District projects branch environmental section chief and RAB government co-chair, (757) 201-7701. Sher Zaman of the USACE Baltimore District provides overall project and funding oversight and can be reached at (410) 962-3134, or by email: Sher.Zaman@usace.army.mil. Daily FNOD activities are managed by Jeff Zoeckler of the USACE Norfolk District. He can be reached at (757) 201-7726.


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    05/23/2012 - CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — Local, state and federal officials met with commercial fishermen here on the small island May 8 to discuss the best way to keep the channel and harbor open and safe for all vessel traffic that uses the waterway.

    Hosted by the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Chincoteague navigation partnership brings together multiple interested parties to hear concerns as well as discuss current funding and upcoming dredge activities.

    With current funding dwindling for shallow draft projects nationwide, officials said the channel is still receiving cash – although in small amounts and only enough to complete just-in-time dredging – to keep the channel open.

    "Out of 65 shallow draft projects alone in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chincoteague is only once one of three that continues to see funding, the others are Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets in Virginia Beach," said MikeAnderson, a Norfolk District supervisory civil engineer.

    Because of current budget shortfalls, the Corps is taking a hard look at its current operations and looking for any cost cutting measures that won't compromise safety or the main mission.

    "In our changing budget climate, we're using different folks to find solutions -- not just our operations branch personnel," said Mike Darrow, chief of the Norfolk District's water resources division.

    One such solution is to realign the channel, which would bring boats farther away from a consistent problem area Corps dredges have addressed in recent years.

    Kristen Mazur, a project manager with the Corps of Engineers, said such a move will have two outcomes.

    "An adjustment to the channel will mean we will take boaters away from an area that continues to have a shifting shoal as well as save money and time from having to continually go back and dredge the same area over and over," Mazur said.

    Commercial fisherman, along with town representatives, presented new economic data at the meeting, which showed an increase in the amount of commercial vessels using the channel to offload seafood to market.

    "With this knowledge and buy-in from stakeholders, we are working with the Coast Guard to realign portions of the channel to optimize the limited funds and dredges," Mazur said.

    Another adopted proposal is to maximize the time the Corps Dredge Currituck remains on-site.

    "We currently have the dredge come during very short periods of time; what we are going to do in the future is have them come for at least 21 days to a month to do a very comprehensive dredge of the channel," Mazur said. "Our hope is that we reduce mobilization and de-mobilization costs as well as get more of the material out of the channel rather than only hitting a few hotspots."

    Chincoteague Inlet's importance to the region is twofold; it serves as a small port for a bustling seafood industry, and a critical harbor of refuge for boaters seeking shelter during storms.

    According to Wayne Merrit, the Chincoteague harbor master, the local fishing community has seen an uptick in the amount of fishing boats coming in for offload, bolstering the towns need to keep the waterway safe and open.

    "With increased vessel traffic, comes increased tonnage, which says we are a thriving harbor and need to keep the inlet open to continue our growth," Merritt said.

    Officials voiced their funding concerns and asked the Corps what could be done so their inlet can continue to be a priority when it comes to budget time.

    Officials with the Corps offered a few points of advice to the crowd:

    "You need to continue to keep us updated with the most current information as far as amounts of boats, types of boats as well as work together in chorus with each other to tell elected officials just how important the waterway is to you, the town, the region and the commonwealth economically," Mazur said, addressing the group.

    The Chincoteague navigation partnership meets once a year, and according to Mazur, allows for a very productive forum to get things done.

    "The meeting allowed us to get input from the users, stakeholders and sponsors of the project about the channel conditions, vessel usage, and needs for improvement." Mazur said. "I think the meeting went well and received positive comments from many of the attendees."


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    06/06/2012 - PORTSMOUTH, Va.— Armed with disposable gloves, large trash bags and a desire to make a difference, 23 Norfolk District volunteers, family members and friends gave up their Saturday morning June 5 to join thousands of fellow Virginians in removing unhealthy debris from cherished waterways throughout the Commonwealth.

    The district's eco-friendly team, organized by zone captain Kristen Donofrio, cleaned approximately five miles of Craney Island's shoreline, collecting 3,135 pounds of trash and approximately 1,150 pounds of non-bagged or bulky items.

    The most unusual items found this year included a 50-foot tug boat rope, large pieces of scrap metal, a couch cushion, ball caps, a plastic doll, basketball, and almost a full case of unopened water bottles. The most common items found were plastic bottles and food wrappers, a change from previous years that included a ton of Styrofoam from crab pot buoys and coolers. Last year on Craney Island alone, 104 bags of trash totaling 2,392 pounds and approximately 1,450 pounds of bulky items were collected.

    "Clean the Bay Day is important because individuals often overlook how simple lifestyle changes such as proper trash and chemical disposal can impact the bay. Data gathered from events like this remind us that we all need to be equally enthusiastic about maintaining (the bay’s) health as we are about using its resources," Donofrio said.

    Since 1989, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has removed tons of trash from local beaches, shorelines and waterways during the region-wide clean-up effort. The state-wide initiative –organized by the foundation, in conjunction with municipalities, businesses and government agencies – work together to restore the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and its streams. This year, more than 6,200 volunteers state-wide removed approximately 200,000 pounds of debris from 500 miles of streams and shorelines along the bay, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Last year, 7,430 volunteers removed 217,641 pounds of debris at 245 sites along 419 miles of the Chesapeake Bay.

    With the increasing popularity of the annual campaign, last year Clean the Bay Day expanded beyond Hampton Roads to include eastern Virginia, Richmond and northern Virginia. Clean the Bay Day is one of the largest volunteer cleanup efforts in Virginia, involving thousands of Virginians working on foot and by boat along the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers and streams. "This is the fifth year I have participated in this event at Craney Island and am glad to see the amount of material collected each year has steadily decreased. This indicates to me efforts focused on restoring the bay and keeping it clean is having the intended effect," said Mike Darrow, chief of the district’s water resources division.

    "It is great to see so many Norfolk District employees and their families volunteer their time to help clean the environment," Darrow said.

    The Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area is a 2,500-acre confined dredged material disposal site authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1946, and was constructed from 1956-1958. The federal facility is operated by the Norfolk District, Army Corps of Engineers and is used by private interests, local municipalities, and federal and Commonwealth of Virginia government agencies for the disposal of dredged material from Norfolk Harbor and its adjacent waterways, including the Elizabeth and Nansemond rivers.

    Interesting Facts About the Chesapeake Bay

    The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 64,000 square miles and has 11,600 miles of tidal shoreline, including tidal wetlands and islands. The watershed encompasses parts of six states. Approximately 17 million people live in the watershed; about 10 million people live along its shores or near them. It's the largest estuary in the U.S.

    • Formed about 12,000 years ago as glaciers melted and flooded the Susquehanna River valley, the Chesapeake Bay is North America's largest estuary and the world's third largest.
    • Chesapeake Bay is approximately 200 miles long and runs north-south from the mouth of the Susquehanna River to the Atlantic Ocean. Chesapeake Bay's headwaters begin at Cooperstown, N.Y., home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
    • The Chesapeake Bay watershed (the area of land that drains into the Bay) is 64,000 square miles and has 11,600 miles of tidal shoreline, including tidal wetlands and islands. The watershed encompasses parts of six states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as Washington D.C.
    • The average depth of the Bay, including tributaries, is about 21 feet. The deepest part of the Bay, "the Hole," is 174 feet deep and located off Bloody Point southeast of Annapolis, Md.
    • The narrowest part of the Bay, near Aberdeen, MD, is about 3.5 miles. The widest point - from Smith Point, VA, to Virginia's Eastern Shore - is 30 miles.
    • "Chesapeake" derives from the Native American "Tschiswapeki," which loosely translates into "great shellfish bay."
    • There are more than 100,000 streams, creeks, or rivers in the watershed, including 150 major rivers. One can reach a Bay tributary in less than 15 minutes from nearly everywhere in the watershed.
    • The Bay's skipjack fleet represents the last commercial fishing fleet to use sail power in North America.
    • Two of the five major North Atlantic ports--Baltimore and Hampton Roads--are on the Bay.
    • More than 500 million pounds of seafood is harvested from the Bay every year.
    • The Bay supports 3,600 species of plant and animal life, including more than 300 fish species and 2,700 plant types.

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    06/13/2012 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It's like the calm before a storm.

    The Virginia Beach boardwalk at 6 a.m. during the summer months is brimming with familiar life. Couples walk hand-in-hand along the white sand and surf and shirtless rollerbladers and joggers taking advantage of the cool morning Atlantic Ocean breeze. They’re all savoring the calm and small window of opportunity to use the 10-foot wide, 59-block-long concrete boardwalk built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    In early June, and especially during this year’s OpSail Parade of Sail and three-day North American Sand Soccer Championships, that serenity, or "calm", ends earlier each day. It’s replaced by beachgoers in the thousands descending upon the Virginia Beach boardwalk to set up umbrellas and chairs and stake out front-row seats to watch the impressive array of military and sailing vessels pass-by.

    Then there’s the "storm."

    In the words…"With an oceanfront like Virginia Beach, you really ought to try sand soccer," the idea for the Virginia Beach Sand Soccer Tournament was born. The first tournament in Virginia Beach was held in 1994, drawing over 26 adult and children teams, with more than 35,000 spectators. This year, 800 teams participated and more than 105,000 spectators cheered atop mounds of sand along the boardwalk.

    This year an International Military Division was added due to the large military presence in Hampton Roads, coupled with the international military participation in the 2012 OpSail Parade of Sail.

    This year, the Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, entered a team in International Military Division.

    "Anyone who enjoys the sun on their shoulders, the sand under their feet, and the crash of waves while they play should look into playing sand soccer," said Christian Brumm, team captain for the Corps Kickers. Brumm is the resident engineer for the Norfolk District at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

    The Corps Kickers – a group of 12 men and women who work with or are family members or friends of the Norfolk District -- played four games in two days. Originally scheduled to play three games, the team’s two wins and one tie placed them first in the division and back on the schedule to play another game.

    On the first day of competition, the Corps Kickers defeated the British Royal navy 6-4 and sank the U.S. Coast Guard 9-4. On the second day of competition, the team played the Danish navy, kept the lead for most of the game and left the field with a 4-4 tie. These scores catapulted the Corps team to a match against the Colombian navy team. After losing 9-4, the Colombian team moved forward and lost to the Brazilian team – who won the International Military Division competition.

    "The sand, uneven and unpredictable, was a great neutralizer. It put us on even footing with the other teams and gave us a chance to compete. The tiring nature of the game played well to our team’s depth," said Samuel George, a Norfolk District mechanical engineer and member of the Corps Kickers.

    The ballpark number of people who come to Virginia Beach for vacation during these two international events is right at a million, according to Virginia Fest Event planners. That number doesn’t include vendors selling T-shirts, hotdogs, funnel cakes, jewelry, soccer balls, or the private citizen who rents a booth each year to try and make a few extra bucks selling all types of specialty wares.

    "I've been playing soccer for years, but sand soccer is very different than field soccer," Brumm said. "The goal is smaller, a player's reaction and movement is altered by the shifting sand, and there are only four players on the field and one goalie. Each game is played in 11-minute periods and moves along at a fast clip. I sum up our success this year to the team -- very diverse backgrounds, but with one thing in common: the ability to quickly learn, adapt and perform well as a team."

    Amazing as it seems, this "Grand Prix" of international amateur beach soccer is hard to miss and attracts teams from nearly 20 states and as far away as Africa, Germany, Brazil, Norway’s rocky seacoasts and the wilds of Canada's northwest territories. The championships are staged over 22 city blocks of prime oceanfront real estate, over 1.5 miles of white sand.

    The Virginia Beach Sand Soccer tournament has been selected by the U.S. Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events of the summer. A big draw is the men’s pro/am cash division’s three-day competition, which boasts players from all around the world vying to win the U.S. National Championships.

    "Despite the steep learning curve, the tournament was a really rewarding experience. It gave us a chance to have fun and compete together. We began with little to no expectations and left feeling like we had truly accomplished something," George said.


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    06/18/2012 - The Virginia Port Authority and the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently signed an agreement reaffirming Craney Island's Eastward Expansion project.

    Jerry Bridges, VPA executive director, and Col. Paul Olsen, Norfolk District commander, signed the Project Partnership Agreement for the Eastward Expansion, which formalized the federal/state partnership and cost-sharing agreement between the two agencies. The agreement was originally authorized by Congress in 2007's Water Resources Development Act.

    "This is truly a momentous time for the Port of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole," Bridges said during the signing ceremony. "The expansion of the Panama Canal will play very large in the increased volumes that move through our port, and Craney Island will be key in Virginia capturing a bigger share of that cargo."

    A recent USACE report provided verification that the future benefits of the project outweigh the costs. An update to the 2006 Chief's Report, this analysis used the most recent commodity and terminal capacity projections, vessel operating costs, and land-side transportation cost data to determine that the project's projected National Economic Development, or NED, benefits have nearly doubled, to $16 billion a year, with a Benefit-to-Cost Ratio of 6.2:1 that affirms the federal interest in the project.

    The benefits to the nation upon the opening of Craney Island Marine Terminal have increased: since the 2006 report, the facility was redesigned with automated cargo-handling technology like that at APM Terminals in Portsmouth, Va. By using the most technologically advanced equipment available, the facility's projected cargo-handling capacity will double, to nearly five million containers per year.

    This capacity increase will extend the life of Craney Island as a dredged material placement area for Norfolk District and generate NED benefits through transportation cost savings created by handling cargo destined for the Port of Virginia that, without the new facility's extra capacity, would have to use an alternative port.


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    06/25/2012 - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted to Congress June 20 the "U.S. Port and Inland Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels" report, an examination of options for future modernization of U.S. ports and inland waterways. The report has been released to the public at http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/portandwaterways/.

    The USACE Institute for Water Resources in Alexandria, Va., developed the report as directed by Congress in Public Law 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (H.R. 2055), in December 2011.

    The act required USACE to submit within 180 days a "report on how the Congress should address the critical need for additional port and inland waterways modernization to accommodate post-Panamax vessels."

    "Post-Panamax vessels today make up 16 percent of the world's container fleet, but account for 45 percent of the fleet's capacity," said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, USACE deputy commanding general for civil works and emergency operations. "Those numbers are projected to grow significantly over the next 20 years."

    "The United States is a maritime nation," continued Walsh. "This report provides to Congress and the public an analysis of the challenges and opportunities presented by the post-Panamax vessels, and outlines options on how the nation might address the port and inland waterway infrastructure needs required to accommodate these new vessels."

    "U.S. Port and Inland Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels" identifies capacity maintenance and expansion issues associated with the deployment of post-Panamax vessels to trade routes serving U.S. ports. This identification was accomplished through an evaluation of the future demand for capacity in terms of freight forecasts and vessel size expectations, and an evaluation of the current capacity of the nation's inland waterways and coastal ports.

    The report, along with a summary, reflects the information available at the time of its writing. It addresses the factors Congress identified with chapters on: Discussion of Demand for Future Capacity, Current Capacity, Evaluating Capacity Maintenance and Expansion, Environmental Impacts of Capacity Expansion, Financing Options for Funding U.S. Port and Inland Waterway Infrastructure Needs, and Additional Considerations. This is a technical report and does not necessarily reflect program and budgeting priorities inherent in the formulation of a national Civil Works construction program or the policy perspective of higher review levels within the executive branch.

    The report makes the following observations and findings:

    • World trade and U.S. trade are expected to continue to grow, with imports growing more than fourfold, and exports expected to grow more than sevenfold over the next 30 years.
    • The U.S. population is expected to grow by almost 100 million over the next 30 years, with most of the growth in the southern and western regions of the nation.
    • Post-Panamax size vessels currently call at U.S. ports and will dominate the world fleet in the future. By 2030, post-Panamax vessels will account for 62% of the capacity of the world's container fleet
    • .
    • These vessels will call in increasing numbers at U.S. ports that can accommodate them.
    • Along the Southeast and Gulf coasts there may be opportunities for economically justified port expansion projects to accommodate post-Panamax vessels.
      • This is indicated by an evaluation of population growth trends, trade forecasts and an examination of the current port capacities.
      • Investment opportunities at specific ports will need to be individually studied.
    • The potential transportation cost saving of using post-Panamax size vessels to ship agricultural products to Asia, through the Panama Canal may lead to an increase in grain traffic on the Mississippi River for export at Gulf ports.
      • An analysis indicated the current Mississippi River capacity is adequate to meet potential demand if the waterways serving the agricultural export market are maintained.
      • A need for lock capacity expansion is not indicated.
    • Despite the uncertainty in market responses to the deployment of post-Panamax vessels and the expansion of the Panama Canal, individual investment opportunities for port expansion can be identified using established decision making under uncertainty techniques. Adaptive management techniques can also be used to address uncertainty issues. Preliminary estimates indicate the total investment opportunities may be in the $3-$5 billion range.
    • Environmental mitigation costs associated with port expansion can be significant and will play an important role in investment decisions.
    • The primary challenge with the current process to deliver navigation improvements is to ensure adequate and timely funding to take advantage of potential opportunities.
      • A notional list of financing options is presented to initiate discussion of possible paths to meet this challenge.
      • It is anticipated that a variety of options may be desirable, and in all cases individual project characteristics, including its economic merits, would need to be considered in selecting the optimal financing mechanisms.

    Maintaining the capacity of the nation's major ports and waterways and expanding port capacity when, where, and in a way that best serves the nation will require leadership at all levels of government, and partnership with ports and the private sector. The main challenges are to continue to maintain the key features of our current infrastructure, to identify when and where to expand coastal port capacity, and to determine how to finance its development.

    For more information about the report, visit http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/portandwaterways/


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    06/27/2012 - FORT NORFOLK, Va. — For years, Mother Nature's fury has steadily eroded the structural integrity of the Fort Norfolk pier and wharf area, seriously degrading its operational effectiveness and jeopardizing its safe operation.

    Broken, crumbling and missing pilings; deteriorating pier foundation; wharf top cap rotten away; mooring fasteners and piling bolts – gone!

    That was then.

    Today, new state-of-the-art structural upgrades are expanding the facility's operation and extending its useful life for up to 15 years.

    Those upgrades to the Fort Norfolk pier and wharf, completed in May, paid immediate dividends during the 2012 OpSail Parade and Sail and the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations, held in early June. Six U.S. Navy vessels docked and nested here, offering the public several days of open house vessel tours throughout the weeklong festivities.

    "The Army Corps of Engineers pier at Fort Norfolk is simply beautiful," said Lt. Cmdr. Marc Devine, commander of the USS Monsoon (PC 4). "It provides a very safe mooring for smaller vessels, is well lit, and numerous guests commented on the smartness of the facility's landscaping. The new concrete walkways also provided our guests safe and easy access to our ships."

    The Fort Norfolk Bulkhead and Pier Repair project, under the design and construction management of Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began work in October 2011, and was completed ahead of schedule and more than $150,000 under budget.

    The Corps' prime contractor, Team Henry Enterprises, LLC, based in Newport News, Va., is an 8A minority-owned small business. The project marked the first time Team Henry had performed work for Norfolk District, but their land work experience extended to other federal and state agencies.

    Completing the project ahead of schedule and below budget was no surprise to Steven Baum, Norfolk District's project manager.

    "Team Henry did a super job," Baum said. "They kept the cost down by working efficiently and were able to pass those cost-savings on to us. They required very little daily oversight and were extremely well organized and professional. Anytime there was a problem, all I had to do was raise an eyebrow and they just took care of it."

    "This was a highly successful project, due in large part to proper planning and the 'Team' approach Team Henry takes with all of its projects," said Devon M. Henry, Team Henry CEO and president. "That approach requires that everyone communicate, be responsive and willing to work together to reach the common goal. From our staff to the Corps' fine professionals to our dedicated subcontractors -- they didn't disappoint!"

    The Fort Norfolk Bulkhead and Pier Repair project consisted of two separate issues.

    "Our pier is the primary mooring for our patrol boats and survey vessels," Baum said. "The pier had sustained so much damage that 50 percent of its pilings were either broken or missing. The structure underneath the pier was completely deteriorated, which resulted in tearing up our boats as they docked at the pier."

    The wharf area is the Fort's secondary mooring. Baum explained that for the last couple of years they haven't been able to tie up any of the district's vessels or visiting ones there because the wharf's top structure had completely deteriorated and no longer could support a vessel tie-up.

    "The cap on top of the wharf had rotted away; it didn't have any fasteners to moor to; most of the pilings were broken or missing; and the few that were still in place weren't bolted in any longer," Baum said. "When we no longer could tie up and safely moor our vessels, the district reached deep and hard and found funding to make repairs."

    Shortly after the repair project began last year, Hurricane Irene damaged the wave splash wall in front of the Corps' Waterfield Building at Fort Norfolk. A large steel portion of the wall fell into the Elizabeth River near the fort's flagpole, compromising the face of the seawall. The pavement surface in the same area also sustained damage. Additionally, storm debris washed ashore and destroyed approximately 25 percent of the security fence and a portion of the concrete sidewalk that runs along the seawall from the fort's pier to the Waterfield Building.

    Norfolk District requested and was authorized supplemental funding, as part of the Fort Norfolk Bulkhead and Pier Repair project, and repairs were made that had resulted from Hurricane Irene.

    Once repairs were completed, a structural inspection of the cement pier was performed to ensure the pier was safe for operation.

    "The structural inspection revealed that the pier is in good shape," Baum said. "We'll have minor repairs to address over the next five years, especially to the wharf area behind the guard shack, but we're definitely open for business."


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    06/29/2012 - NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Portsmouth will conduct joint aerial mosquito spraying 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 2 at federal properties on Craney Island, adjacent city properties and the Churchland area in Portsmouth, Va.

    Crabbe Aviation L.L.C. will conduct aerial spraying in areas north of Rte-164, weather permitting.

    The contractor will use an Air Tractor, a fixed-wing aircraft to spray Trumpet EC, a formulation of Dibrom to target flying adult mosquitoes. The plane will be conducting low-flying spray operations in the area.

    Beekeepers are asked to keep their bees covered during the spraying operations in their particular area and anyone with known allergic reactions is advised to stay indoors.

    If conditions don't allow spraying July 2, the inclement weather date is July 3.

    Call the Portsmouth's Mosquito Hotline at 757-393-8666 for more details about the spray operations.