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The Bureau of Land Management’s Yuma Field Office hired SWCA to assist with Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting for a restoration project near the Lower Colorado River in southwest Arizona. The project goal was to restore and enhance five areas surrounding the Laguna Dam and Betty’s Kitchen Wildlife and Interpretive Area destroyed by the May 2011 Laguna Fire.
SWCA conducted a wetlands delineation on 86 acres of severely fire-damaged riparian vegetation and wildlife habitat and submitted a CWA 404 permit, which the Army Corps of Engineers approved in November 2012. SWCA also prepared a restoration plan that included activities such as removing hazard trees and invasive/non-native species, seeding and planting native species, replacing lost structures and infrastructure, improving damaged trails, and monitoring the effects of the treatments.
The Bureau of Land Management has been implementing the approved restoration activities and expects to reopen Betty’s Kitchen Wildlife and Interpretive Area to the public in 2014.
SWCA is providing wetland and water delineations, Oregon Department of State Lands delineation concurrence, mitigation monitoring and site management, avian surveys on Government Island, invasive species surveys and management, and feasibility analyses for wetland mitigation banking. Through our on-call services, SWCA is able to support the Port’s efforts in managing their wetland and water mitigation projects and help them achieve their development goals while protecting aquatic and terrestrial habitats for plants and wildlife.
SWCA is providing wetland and waters delineations, vegetated corridor buffer assessments and enhancements, natural resource permitting, mitigation design, long-term monitoring, cultural resource inventories, and consulting on additional natural resource issues for mixed-use and residential development projects throughout the Portland Metro region. The on-call work also involves incorporating onsite wetland mitigation and the purchase of wetland mitigation bank credits to satisfy state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as navigating local jurisdictional regulations while meeting Clean Water Services buffer guidelines.
SWCA provided environmental support for WPX Energy’s seismic surveys of the Niobrara shale formation in western Colorado for oil and gas exploration. SWCA conducted cultural and paleontological resources inventories on Bureau of Land Management and privately held parcels. Because the 30,000-acre project fell in designated core habitat for three federally listed rare plant species — as well as potential habitat for six other protected plant species — SWCA also conducted extensive rare plant surveys.
The project required agency consultation and negotiations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the proponent team on survey technique as well as mitigation to protect known or discovered resources within a small window of opportunity between wildlife timing restrictions for the area. Quick turnaround on environmental surveys will mean that WPX and Green River Energy can collect the necessary seismic data a year earlier than originally planned.
SWCA is providing full-service NEPA support for a third-party Environmental Impact Statement for Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area located on the Lolo National Forest in western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho. Services include proposed action development, scoping, cultural and natural fieldwork, technical report preparation, draft and final EIS preparation, public outreach and comment response, record of decision, and administrative record maintenance.
SWCA has been providing wetland mitigation management for the Port of Portland at more than a dozen sites located throughout the Portland metropolitan area since 2009. Services have included invasive plant identification and control, creation of planting plans, scheduling and oversight of vegetation crews, botanical and wildlife inventories, annual regulatory monitoring, and regulatory permitting assistance. SWCA and Port staff continue to identify new populations of known invaders as well as invasive or nonnative species not previously documented on Port properties. The project also involves working closely with other local agencies and landowners to ensure that the Port’s mitigation properties are providing high-quality wildlife habitat and hydrologic functions as well as enhancing Portland’s natural landscape.
The National Park Service hired SWCA to conduct a water source and water rights inventory in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which spans 1.2 million acres in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In addition to helping the Park Service understand the history of regional water rights and regulatory institutions, SWCA developed a GIS tool to help the agency manage water resources within the recreation area’s boundary. In developing the GIS tool, SWCA gathered and catalogued geo-referenced data — such as location, water type, water use, ownership, and the presence of perfected water rights — on known water sources within the boundary. The result was a comprehensive, easy-to-use GIS database of water sources within the recreation area.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department hired SWCA to complete an Environmental Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act for the proposed Second Knoll Public Shooting Range located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona and administered by the U.S. Forest Service Lakeside Ranger District. SWCA also performed cultural and biological resource surveys and reports and a preliminary jurisdictional delineation. In addition, SWCA facilitated a public scoping meeting that drew strong local interest, processing more than 200 public comments from Arizona, New Mexico, and California. The result of the Environmental Assessment was a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).