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SWCA assisted Brice Incorporated — along with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Federal Aviation Administration — with a variety of cultural resources compliance tasks for the development of the Isaac Lake Material Site associated with the Kotzebue Airport runway safety area expansion. The project’s area of potential effects was known to contain evidence of Alaska Native settlement and land use extending back hundreds of years. As a result, agreement documents were required to minimize and mitigate the impacts to known archaeological sites and to provide protocols for the discovery of new sites.
SWCA led the development of a memorandum of agreement, secured permits and curation agreements, assisted with agency and tribal coordination and consultation, and completed all archaeological field tasks, including a geoarchaeological assessment, archaeological monitoring during construction, site condition assessments, and data recovery excavations. We were able to turn around an enormous amount of data, artifacts, carbon dating, baseline faunal analysis, and curation in less than a year and produce a high-quality final report.
SWCA produced an Environmental Assessment for the Organized Village of Kasaan’s Kasaan to Goose Creek Road project. Tasks included preparing the impacts, mitigation, and cumulative impacts sections. SWCA coordinated with the Organized Village of Kasaan, engineers, and agency contacts from the Federal Highway Administration, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, U.S. Forest Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. The village and SWCA conducted public involvement meetings in Kasaan and Thorne Bay, and SWCA assisted Federal Highway Administration (the lead agency) with publication of the EA and the Findings of No Significant Impact and Decision Notice.
SWCA assisted with an Environmental Impact Statement for runway safety area expansions. Because some of the action alternatives involved placing fill in important waters that would affect subsistence resources, endangered species, and designated essential fish habitat, extensive aquatic documentation was required. SWCA completed fieldwork, EIS sections, and agency coordination for fisheries, marine mammals, seabirds, terrestrial wildlife, vegetation, cultural resources, and subsistence resources. SWCA assisted the Federal Aviation Administration in the notice and hearing requirements under Section 810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Our biologists led Endangered Species Act Section 7 and Magnuson-Stevens Act consultations and prepared a biological assessment and essential fish habitat assessment. We also assisted with mitigation negotiations and planning with tribes to address impacts to subsistence resources with a focus on fisheries.
See more details on this project in the article, “A Smooth Landing: Applying ANILCA at Kodiak Airport” from the Vol. 14, No. 3 edition of our newsletter, The Wire.
SWCA was hired as a third-party contractor to prepare two Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Alternative Route Analyses for three proposed 115-kV transmission lines in El Paso, Texas. The proposed transmission lines would interconnect Montana Power Station — a new generating station — to the existing El Paso Electric transmission system. The interconnection project was addressed in two phases, requiring an EA for each phase. SWCA helped identify possible environmental issues with alternative routes and find solutions to potential public concerns.
In February 2014, SWCA provided expert witness testimony to the Public Utilities Commission of Texas supporting the EA analysis and assessment to aid El Paso Electric in settling disputes with private landowners.
SWCA provided environmental and biological assessments for the Stony Creek 3-D Seismic Survey in North Dakota’s Williams County. The SWCA team coordinated with federal and state agencies and evaluated environmental consequences of land- and water-based seismic surveys in and around Lake Sakakawea. Other components of the project include paleontological and biological field surveys and in the future training the seismic contractor to identify and avoid sensitive water resources.
In conjunction with this project, SWCA provided fisheries expertise in a study of the effects of the sound energy produced by seismic air guns (used to map underwater geology) on the lake’s paddlefish and endangered pallid sturgeon. Study results indicated that air guns proposed for the survey would not have an impact on sturgeon or paddlefish.
The Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation hired SWCA in 2009 to consult on a project to provide transmission of wind-generated power from west Texas to the rest of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid. SWCA prepared and submitted an Environmental Assessment addressing all relevant impacts; acquired a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services permit to authorize the incidental take of federally listed endangered species; and developed a habitat conservation plan to address impacts to endangered species, which included a mitigation plan to compensate for impacts from construction and maintenance of the transmission lines.
Salt Lake City hired SWCA to develop restoration goals and designs for two sites along the Jordan River. SWCA prepared and submitted federal, state, and county regulatory permits with four separate agencies and participated in public outreach meetings. SWCA led the design process and was able to phase and scale the project in a way that allowed segments of the restoration process to be completed separately and then implemented into a full restoration, keeping the project on budget and allowing greater flexibility.
SWCA has been working in the Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah since 2004, performing endangered species clearance, wildlife surveys, paleontological studies, and monitoring paleontological resources. SWCA has extensive experience in the basin working on small and large projects, on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, as well as on private, state, tribal, and trust lands. SWCA’s working knowledge of the land, as well as our good working relationships with the overseeing agencies, allows our team to accurately forecast project length and cost, keeping projects on schedule and on budget.