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SWCA’s Pittsburgh office provided biological inventories and assessments at seven stream crossings in the Ohio River Basin in Ohio’s Monroe and Noble counties. Survey data were used to assess habitat quality and determine whether threatened and endangered species or indicator species were present along the proposed REX Seneca Lateral subterranean natural gas pipeline route.
SWCA biologists monitored water quality and inventoried fish, salamander, and macroinvertebrate communities living in streams the pipeline proposed to cross and provided the results to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. One of the seven survey sites was found to contain high-quality habitat and contained a wide variety of fauna that could be impacted by construction activities. To minimize impacts, the SWCA team designed a pipeline crossing method involving fish and salamander relocation, flow diversion, and dry cutting the pipeline trench to minimize downstream impacts to the stream’s aquatic life and water quality. All other sites were found to be free of threatened/endangered species or high-quality habitats, allowing project permitting to proceed. SWCA worked with the client and the Ohio EPA to design a creative and sound crossing method, expedite permitting, and avoid damaging the sensitive environmental resources along the pipeline route.
NextEra hired SWCA between 2009 and 2011 to provide environmental services for two 99 MW wind-powered electrical generation systems in Oklahoma’s Caddo and Grady counties. SWCA assisted with micro-siting to identify potential environmental and cultural constraints associated with the proposed turbines, access roads, and collection facilities. SWCA also prepared a Waters of the U.S. and floodplain investigation, cultural resource surveys, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, avian surveys, federal easement identifications and digitization, and a substation report.
NextEra hired SWCA between 2009 and 2011 to provide environmental services for a 100 MW wind-powered electrical generation system in Oklahoma’s Beckham and Roger Mills counties. SWCA assisted with micro-siting to identify potential environmental and cultural constraints associated with the proposed turbines, access roads, and collection facilities. SWCA also prepared a Waters of the U.S. and floodplain investigation, cultural resource surveys, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Wildlife Hazard Assessments, and federal easement identification and digitization.
SWCA is providing cultural resources and endangered species consulting for the 700-mile Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project. Plains & Eastern will transport roughly 3,500 MW of wind energy produced in western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle to consumers in eastern U.S. markets via overhead, high-voltage direct current transmission lines spanning Oklahoma and Arkansas and terminating at Memphis, Tenn.
SWCA is assisting with regulatory requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act. Cultural resources services include desktop studies; agency coordination with the Department of Energy, State Historic Preservation Offices, and the National Park Service; Programmatic Agreement development; tribal coordination; and public outreach. For endangered species, SWCA is conducting bat habitat surveys and studies in compliance with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protocols, as well as lesser prairie chicken habitat assessments with related biological assessments.
Enterprise Products Company contracted SWCA to provide natural and cultural resource services for the Texas Express Pipeline between December 2011 and October 2013. The 600-mile-long, 20-inch-diameter natural gas liquids pipeline traverses Texas from the panhandle to the Gulf Coast. The project fell within the regulatory jurisdiction of three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts, requiring separate permits and extensive coordination. SWCA conducted natural and cultural resource surveys in support of Section 404 Clean Water Act and Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act authorizations; performed wetland delineations, threatened/endangered species habitat assessments, and cultural resources surveys; prepared Pre-Construction Notifications; and acquired additional permits from several state agencies. SWCA also provided environmental inspectors to ensure Nationwide Permit 12 and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit compliance.
SWCA provided U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permitting support for Denbury Resources’ Green Pipeline project. The 310-mile CO2 pipeline runs from the Baton Rouge area west to Houston. SWCA completed reports of findings for cultural resources investigations, involving a background literature and records search and an intensive archaeological survey, as well as protected species habitat evaluations involving a background review and remote habitat analysis.
SWCA encountered nearly two dozen cultural resource sites along the project corridor. One of those sites was previously identified on Big Island in Orange County, Texas, and was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Due to constraints, Denbury opted to avoid the site. In order to satisfy agency requirements, work in the vicinity was monitored, at times over a 24-hour construction window, to ensure the site sustained no impacts throughout construction.
NextEra hired SWCA for environmental services support in relation to permitting requirements for their Mountain View Solar Facility project on private land in the Apex Industrial Park north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The solar facility generation tie line crossed a Bureau of Land Management-managed utility corridor, triggering the need for a BLM right-of-way. In compliance with the BLM requirements, SWCA conducted biological and cultural resources surveys, habitat assessments, and an environmental assessment. In addition, SWCA led the environmental compliance monitoring effort during construction activities for both the solar facility and the generation tie line. The facility became operational on schedule in January 2014. An Avian Protection Plan was completed and SWCA has begun monthly avian mortality surveys in 2014 in compliance with that plan.
Pima County contracted SWCA for storage yard, retaining wall, and drainage pipe lining projects with Arizona Department of Transportation-administered federal funding on Mt. Lemmon Highway. SWCA conducted a threatened species survey for the Mexican spotted owl and a U.S. Forest Service sensitive species survey for the northern goshawk, in addition to assessing the 44 species proposed for coverage under the county’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan. The team also prepared clearance documents for the projects, including categorical exclusions, Geotechnical Investigation Biological Clearance forms, an Urban Project Biological Evaluation form, and cultural resource surveys and reports. Despite complications that arose during project design, SWCA was able to keep within the schedule and budget. The environmental clearance documents required adherence to Pima Country, U.S. Forest Service, and ADOT guidelines and requirements.