NEPA Compliance / Biology
In 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) established the Council on Environmental Quality to protect our nation's natural resources and ecological systems. As a multi-disciplined engineering and environmental firm, Converse has been supporting our clients meet their NEPA environmental planning, biology, and permitting needs. We also support our California clients meet their California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. The most common core markets for this service area include:
- Mineral Exploration And Mining
- Oil & Gas Exploration
- Power Generation
- Power Transmission - Lines, Pipeline & Cable
- Communications Facilities
- Transportation Projects (Highway & Rail)
- Real-Estate Development
Wetlands Determinations & Wetlands Delineation
With a wetlands delineator on the approved list for the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) requirements, Converse has served numerous development projects in identifying and mitigating wetlands concerns, and in some cases facilitated a determination that the area of concern is not a wetland. We also assess if a drainage area or dry wash may be considered jurisdictional water as defined by the USACE. Three wetland criteria must be present for an undisturbed area to be called a wetland: wetland hydrology (the way water enters, is retained and released); wetland vegetation; and wetland soils, commonly known as hydric soils. Wetland delineators use their skills and experience in field botany, soil science, hydrology and sampling procedures, as well as the federally approved wetland delineation methods, to determine and document the wetland edge.
Threatened and Endangered Species & Tortoise Surveys
There are numerous listed Threatened or Endangered Species (T&E Species). Many development projects require T&E species to be identified as part of the Environmental Assessment. We conduct surveys on T&E sensitive species, as well as federal or state-listed species of concern by following U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Fish and Game, or other appropriate federal and state protocols. In certain areas of the southwest, specific concerns exist for desert tortoises and require specific monitoring for the desert tortoise. We have staff that are trained and approved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to do this work.
Environmental Assessments (EA's) are frequently required to either identify if certain issues rise to the level that need to be addressed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or to justify that they do not rise to that level. Depending on the concerns of the agency, EA's may focus on specific studies, or may cover the spectrum of issues evaluated in an EIS. Some of the common topics include: T&E species, wetlands, jurisdictional waters, cultural resources & archeology, water resources, hydrology, air quality, geology, mining claims, hazardous materials, and environmental justice. This work includes: permit negotiations with federal, state, and local agencies, pre-construction permit requirements, post-construction mitigation monitoring and reclamation, alternatives development, public scoping and public involvement, notices and publications, documentation for categorical exclusions, impact analyses and development of reasonable mitigation measures, cumulative impact assessment, and response to comments.
Environmental Impact Statements
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are required for major projects or legislative proposals that may significantly affect the environment. Many state and local governments also require EIS documentation for large projects. These statements describe the positive and negative effects of the proposed action and cite possible alternative actions. The governing agency reviews and responds to filed impact statements and makes available a national EIS filing system. Converse has worked on several EIS projects by supporting specialty firms in preparing EIS documents. We have completed several studies in the areas of geology, water resources and air quality.