Wetland Delineation and Stream Restoration
Wetland Delineation for Solar Energy Array
Erie County planned to construct a solar array adjacent to the Big Sister Waste Water Treatment Plant and required the delineation of wetlands in the project development area. DE completed a field investigation to confirm the presence, and boundary location of a large seasonally saturated palustrine forested wetland. The results of the investigation were used to outline the project permitting requirements and inform the project managers of the significant environmental resources on the site, and the potential impacts.
Wetland Boundary Definition for Agricultural Property Development
The Van Buren Farms property located in Lockport, New York contains a mapped New York State Wetland. The wetland consisted of a 141.2 acre seasonally saturated palustrine forested wetland surrounded by agricultural land. A proposed earthen storage area was located relatively close to the regulated 100-foot adjacent area surrounding the New York State Wetland. The boundary of the wetland adjacent to the proposed earthen storage area was flagged and the location was recorded using GPS technology and plotted on a site plan. The site plan was utilized to ensure the storage area avoided the Wetland adjacent area, eliminating additional permit requirements.
Wetland Identification in Support of Residential Property Development
A real estate broker suspected his clients’ property contained regulated wetlands, and if present, wanted to determine their extent and the area available for residential construction. DE completed a literature review and site investigation, and based on that effort, a Site Plan was prepared outlining the extent of a New York State regulated palustrine forested wetland and its associated adjacent area, as well as probable federally regulated wetlands. DE’s Site Plan illustrated the areas available for residential development and outlined simple permitting requirements appropriate for filling NYS wetland adjacent areas.
Wetland Identification in Support of US Route 219 Highway Maintenance
The New York State Department of Transportation planned to place fill in the median of US Route 219. The area in question contained a dense patch of phragmites, an invasive plant species which typically thrives in wetland areas. DE completed a field evaluation to document vegetation and sample the shallow soils to determine if hydric soil indicators existed in the planned fill areas. DE confirmed the absence of State and Federal jurisdictional wetland areas, and the NYSDOT commenced filling the median.
Wetland Identification in Support of Waste to Energy Plant Design and Permitting
DE was retained to prepare designs and permit applications for development of an 85 MW waste to energy facility in Central New York. DE’s tasks included a wetland delineation on a 50-acre parcel with dense shrubby vegetation at an abandoned military base. The delineation was performed in accordance with the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual, and the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Northcentral and Northeast Region (Version 2). The field work included soil and vegetation sampling, and the mapping of jurisdictional wetlands and streams. Abandoned buildings, roadways, ditches, berms, culverts, and depressions contributed to the development of many relatively small palustrine forested wetlands, shrub swamps, emergent marsh communities and regulated drainageways.
The hydraulic connectivity for each wetland area was analyzed using aerial photography, site topography, drainage patterns and field observations. The delineation report described each wetland’s vegetative community, site hydrology, and soil characteristics. On review, the Corps of Engineers issued preliminary and approved jurisdictional determinations, paving the way for the wetland permit application.
Wetland Walkover, Planning and Recommendations
Herb N’ Garden Farms plans to construct a hydroponic greenhouse nursery for herbicide and pesticide free vegetables in Grand Island, New York. DE completed a field evaluation at the project site to sample the shallow soils to determine if hydric soil indicators existed. The field evaluation helped confirm the limit of wetland areas on the site and assisted the project manager in determining the resulting project phasing, associated site plan approval, and construction scheduling.
DE’s client planned to purchase a parcel in a prime location in Amherst, New York for a mixed-use development project. The parcel contained suspected wetland areas which complicated the property purchase. Through a field investigation DE determined that most of the parcel contained regulated wetland areas, as well as a regulated drainageway. A map was prepared, and DE informed the client of the significant amount of environmental resources present, the permitting process and pertinent application documents, and possible project phasing and mitigation required to develop the site prior to his making a purchase offer on the property.
Stream Restoration Design and Disturbance Permit Application
A private solid waste management company proposed to purchase an existing landfill where stormwater runoff discharged to a trout spawning stream. Potential impacts to the stream due to increased flow rates from the developed site included increased sediment loads, thermal discharge, erosion damage and disturbance of the streambed. DE was retained to design a stormwater drainage system to limit peak flow rates, treat and filter runoff, stabilize and restore stream banks, and enhance biologic diversity.
DE deployed probes to record stream temperature fluctuations and confirmed maximum summer temperatures of 77.5ºF and 78.3ºF. Stream water temperatures above 70°F adversely alter trout spawning and migration patterns. The stream restoration design included discharge temperature monitoring and a thermal refuge for trout. By excavating a trench pool in the stream invert and creating an artesian condition cold groundwater mixes with stream water to provide a thermal refuge for distressed fish. Permits were issued for construction.
Mitigation Wetland Design and Permit Application
DE’s client development would result in filling of 5.76 acres of federal wetland and over 2,800 feet of jurisdictional drainageway. To compensate for the wetland and stream losses, DE searched to identify a parcel of land specifically for wetland and drainageway mitigation. A wetland and stream delineation at the 35.8-acre mitigation site identified forested wetland drain, shallow emergent marsh and shrub swamp totaling 6.9 acres as well as a jurisdictional 1,230 linear foot long intermittent drainageway. A Standard Visual Assessment Protocol Version 2 (SVAP2) was used to qualitatively assess the physical and biological condition of the intermittent stream.
The mitigation site hydrologic sources included direct rainfall, overland flow of surface water, and groundwater seepage. To mitigate for the unavoidable wetland impacts associated with the project, 13.18 acres of forested, shrub-swamp and emergent marsh wetland will be created. The mitigation design specified over 1,200 linear feet of created, restored or enhanced intermittent drainageway.
Mitigation Wetland Design and Permit Application
The design for the expansion of a landfill required the stabilization of a failed and eroding stream bank. DE was retained to design the stream bank stabilization, while restoring the stream and enhancing biologic diversity in the riparian area. The failed stream bank was investigated and measured to accurately depict the existing conditions. The resulting design included filling and flattening the stream bank to a stable slope and restoring the bank with diverse select native riparian shrub and herb planting and seed mixes. Erosion resistant stone armoring was included along the stream bed to the ordinary high-water mark to protect the stream bank.