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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.
SWCA was hired by the City of Hillsboro, Oregon, in 2012 for cultural resource services. SWCA completed an archaeological and historical resources study for a proposed road improvement project to widen and extend NW 253rd Avenue from Evergreen to Meek Road. SWCA completed a remote sensing survey of portions of the project corridor, prepared and submitted archaeological excavation permit applications to the Oregon Office of History and Archaeology, and participated in extensive meetings between the City of Hillsboro and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Officer and State Archaeologist. An SWCA architectural historian assessed the historical significance of standing structures located within the project viewshed.
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.