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Stay current with our monthly e-newsletter featuring project updates, industry insights, and more.

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Environmental

Helping You Achieve Environmental Compliance

Protecting and enhancing the environment while saving you time and money is the ultimate goal for our team of environmental experts. Through a holistic, multidisciplinary approach, we strive to balance natural resources and the built environment. Current knowledge of regulations, emerging issues, and best practices enables us to address challenges proactively.

Regardless of project complexity, we’ll help you navigate the permitting process and explore strategic solutions for achieving regulatory compliance.

Innovative Environmental Solutions

From streets and highways to parks, trails, and drinking water, our project experience is diverse and evolving. Continuous education and training keep us current in the industry as we work to pioneer innovative solutions that preserve our natural resources and encourage economic development. Recent innovative environmental solutions include the Black Hawk Mitigation Bank, a first stream mitigation bank in the state of Iowa, and Squaw Creek, which utilized rock arch rapids as an alternative to dam removal.

We take pride in our ability to implement new, sustainable environmental solutions that help our clients achieve their goals.

How We Can Help

Phase I Environmental Assessments

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are a vital part of the due diligence and decision-making process for lending and purchasing decisions and are also incorporated into NEPA documents.

Phase I ESAs are completed in compliance with ASTM Practice E 1527-13 and the All Appropriate Inquiries Act under the Small Business Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, an environmental site assessment can provide the basic supporting documentation to protect against corporate and/or personal liability.

Our team has completed hundreds of Phase I ESAs throughout the Midwest ranging from small commercial businesses to industrial facilities and wind farms over 50-square miles in size. We evaluate underlying land and physical improvements of a property by:

  • Performing an on-site visit to understand current conditions and document our findings
  • Evaluating the risks of neighboring properties upon the subject property
  • Reviewing federal, state, local, and tribal records as specified by ASTM E 1527-13 guidelines
  • Interviewing property owners or knowledgeable persons of the subject property’s history
  • Examining prior land usage based on historical aerials
  • Examining current USGS maps to identify drainage patterns and topography
  • Examining the chain-of-title for Environmental Liens and/or Activity and Land Use Limitations (AULs)

Environmental Studies

We offer a broad range of environmental consulting services tailored to meet your needs. We serve industrial, utility, municipal, and commercial clients with NEPA documentation, wetland and stream delineations, federal and state agency permitting, due diligence, SPCC, and SWPPP development. We offer a complete package of services, including study design, identification of key concerns, scientific investigation and analysis, concise and easy-to-understand reporting, and liaison with governmental agencies. These services help our clients balance the economic viability of projects with responsible stewardship of natural environments to provide natural and economically sustainable options.

Threatened & Endangered Species Studies

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for projects that may affect threatened and endangered species or their habitat. State and federally listed species and their habitat must be surveyed and protected during project planning and construction activities. In-depth knowledge and extensive experience enable us to accurately and efficiently identify listed species habitat in a project area, assess habitat values, prepare mitigation, and obtain permits.

Wetland & Stream Delineation

Our environmental science team provides consulting services from the initial phase of a project, starting with wetland delineation through wetland impact assessment grounded in over 20 years of experience. Additionally, mitigation planning, design, permitting, and monitoring are conducted when warranted. Our wetland delineation staff are certified in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) standard delineation methodology. Expert knowledge of wetland vegetation, hydric soils, and wetland hydrology allow us to complete delineations that are uniformly accepted by federal and state agencies without costly re-investigation.

While regulatory preference is to avoid and minimize impacts to streams and wetlands, it’s not always practical. We understand Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and can assist with federal and state permitting, jurisdictional determinations, mitigation planning, and compliance monitoring. Compensatory mitigation may be required to offset impacts to U.S. waters, including wetlands. Mitigation could be in the form of purchasing mitigation bank credit or permittee-responsible mitigation.

Wetland Mitigation Planning & Design

When compensatory mitigation is required, we develop mitigation plans that are cost-effective while meeting permit requirements. We have experience completing planning and design of successful wetland and stream mitigation sites. A thorough understanding of planning documents, such as biological assessments, alternatives analysis, mitigation plan and design, helps us obtain permits in a timely manner.

Environmental Permitting

Permitting success is critical to project success. We have the proven ability to work and negotiate with agencies, such as the USACE, USFWS, U.S. EPA, and multiple state natural resources departments. Our goal is to identify permitting needs early in the process to maintain project schedules.

401/404 Permitting

The Clean Water Act requires permits from the USACE for projects that will alter or change environmental resources. USACE 404 permitting occurs when a project impacts jurisdictional waters including wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes. Our team can identify early in the scoping and design phase when a 404 permit is required from the USACE. Obtaining permits in advance of construction helps ensure the project starts on time.

Our expertise in on-site mitigation, off-site mitigation, and mitigation banking can provide a solution for aquatic resources that are impacted by projects.

Floodplain Permitting

Close working relationships with the USACE along with state and local floodplain regulators helps us mitigate potential permitting issues and gain important insight on proposed projects. Identifying and addressing potential floodplain issues early on during project development helps us navigate the regulatory process.

Our extensive floodplain management services include:

  • FEMA compliant floodplain modeling and mapping
  • FEMA map revisions (LOMA, LOMR)
  • Bridge and culvert hydraulics
  • Determination of base flood elevations
  • Analysis for no-rise certification

NEPA Documentation

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires proposed actions that involve federal funds or permits issued by a federal agency to be evaluated for their potential effects on the social and natural environment. The NEPA process evaluates possible alternatives to a proposed action and incorporates measures to mitigate adverse impacts. Public involvement and an interdisciplinary approach are an essential part of the NEPA decision making process.

Our staff has completed numerous NEPA documents including:

  • Categorical Exclusions (CEs)
  • Environmental Assessments (EAs)
  • Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)
  • Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
  • Record of Decision (ROD)
  • Section 4(f) and 6(f) Reviews

Our regulatory understanding pertaining to NEPA includes:

  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
  • Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA)
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
  • Rivers and Harbor Act, Section 10
  • National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106
  • Department of Transportation Act, Section 4(f)
  • Land and Water Conservation Act, Section 6(f)

Thank you for all of your help and assistance in 2016, you have been wonderful to work with. Athene could not have accomplished it without you and your team’s assistance these past several years.

- Scott Lawrence
Building Operations and Facilities Manager, Athene USA, Wetland Mitigation Project