National Harbor

Prince George's County, Maryland
Owner:  The Peterson Companies

The National Harbor project spans 528 acres along the Potomac River shoreline adjacent to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and boasts a wealth of mixed-use and entertainment space, including the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.  The project, originally consisting of ±443 acres of land and more residential uses, was permitted in 1988.  In 1997, WSSI obtained an extension of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) permit (until 2003) and obtained new permits from the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) and Board of Public Works (BPW).  After additional parcels of land were acquired by the current developer, WSSI delineated wetlands and obtained associated non-tidal permits on the +90 acres of new lands.  During 1997 and early 1998, WSSI provided zoning approval assistance for this project for Prince George’s County's consideration of the Conceptual Site Plan.  WSSI worked with EDAW to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the plan approved by the County and modified the project’s Clean Water Act Permits to reflect the Conceptual Site Plan.  WSSI's work on this project also included Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) surveys and endangered species coordination.

WSSI obtained a permit modification for installation of “The Awakening,” a sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., along the National Harbor shoreline. 

WSSI obtained a permit modification for installation of “The Awakening,” a sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., along the National Harbor shoreline. 

In 2002, WSSI worked with MDE, the COE, and BPW to extend and modify current permits to reflect new land planning concepts, such as the creation of beach habitat in lieu of bulkheads, desired by the developer and prospective users.  The permit process also included endangered species coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the design of 104 linear feet of tidal marsh for compensatory mitigation.  In 2005, WSSI obtained approval of modifications to the permits to reflect a redesign of the marinas, desired by the developer and Gaylord.  WSSI conducted SAV surveys in both 2002 and 2005 in preparation for these permit modifications.

In 2007, WSSI obtained another modification - this time to permit installation of “The Awakening,” a sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., along the National Harbor shoreline after the sculpture was removed from its temporary location at Hains Point.  Subsequently, in 2008 WSSI obtained extensions of the MDE and COE permits as well as a re-issuance of the BPW permit.  WSSI continues to work with the developer to ensure compliance with the conditions of the MDE, COE, and BPW permits by reviewing and submitting as-builts and subcontracting annual aerial photography.  In 2007 and 2008 WSSI provided monthly erosion and sediment control inspections for compliance with local, state, and federal erosion and sediment control laws.  In 2008, WSSI conducted an SAV survey and bathymetric study to analyze the cove and evaluate any need for maintenance within previously dredged areas under the existing permits.  In 2009 and 2010, WSSI obtained authorizations for mooring buoys, and permit extensions from MDE, the COE, and BPW for the overall permit plan.

In 2011 and 2012, additional modifications were obtained by WSSI to permit the installation of the Observation Wheel (now known as The Capital Wheel). The Capital Wheel, which opened in May 2014, is 180-feet tall with 42 gondolas providing views of the Washington Monument, U.S. Capital, Alexandria, and Prince George’s County. 

In 2012, WSSI performed another bathymetric survey to assess sedimentation rates and in 2013, WSSI performed additional SAV surveys and a tidal wetlands study.  Subsequent to several pre-application meetings, WSSI submitted requests for new MDE, COE, and BPW permits in 2013. WSSI continues to provide permitting support for the National Harbor project.