Category Archives: Featured

Klineline Bridge Replacement

ELS Provided:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Coordination with Contractors & Regulatory Agencies
  • Complete Fish Removal
  • Salvage Reports to WDFW &  Clark County

Fish RemovalAfter
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ELS played a key role in removing fish prior to dewatering an 800-foot section of Salmon Creek in Clark County, Washington for bridge removal, bridge construction, and construction of several pool and riffle complexes to improve fish passage.  An 800-foot section of the creek was diverted around the work area through an underground pipe that was constructed prior to fish removal.  ELS removed 879 fish including coho salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, and several other species using electro-shocking and sein netting techniques.  Captured fish were transported and released below the downstream diversion dam.

 

Farm Pond Restoration

ELS Provided:

  • Wetland Delineation
  • Mitigation Plan
  • Mitigation Design & Implementation
  • Stream Restoration Design & Coordination
  • Permitting
  • Plantings for Riparian Area
  • Monitoring & Maintenance
BeforeAfter
Farm Pond Restoration beforeFarm Pond Restoration after

The goal of this project was to enhance and rehabilitate the habitat value of a man-made farm pond by restoring the natural stream channel and riparian area.   The habitat function and suitability provided by the farm pond, a dammed stream channel, were low, containing one stratum of non-native reed canarygrass, and preventing fish passage by a non-passable culvert.   Riparian habitat was restored by draining the farm pond, enhancing the stream channel, and adding a fish-passable culvert.  Rehabilitation will continue over time as the mitigation area develops into mature, forested riparian habitat.

 

Second Opinion Review for Port of Gray’s Harbor

Port of Grays Harbor (POGH) contracted ELS to conduct a “second opinion” review of another consultant’s wetland determination.  The previous consultant had determined that an apparent abandoned dewatering ditch located within an approved fill area was a jurisdictional wetland.  This determination resulted in significant anxiety and concern for the Port and its client, who needed to start construction quickly on a critical expansion of their project site.  The Corps of Engineers’ initial review confirmed the determination of jurisdictional wetlands and forecasted a lengthy permitting process.

Grays HarborELS evaluated the site and reviewed its history and found that the determination was inaccurate.  The ditch in question was located on top of permitted fill, and POGH had maintained the ditch and the fill for several decades.  Using site data, historical aerial photo review, and contract files from POGH, ELS documented that the ditch was a  maintained structure, and is indeed a dewatering ditch for a permitted spoils deposition area.

After reviewing this information, the Corps of Engineers reversed its opinion and formally verified that the ditch was not jurisdictional, thereby allowing the project to proceed, with significant cost and time savings for the POGH and its client.

 

Ecological Land Services at Coweeman Middle School Career Day

Want to have a job that enables you to go outside and use science? Become a wetland biologist! Coweeman Middle School 6th graders learned what it means to be a wetland biologist during Career Day on February 21, 2014. Decked out in her field gear, Cora Siipola, an ELS biologist, presented at Career Day and educated students on what wetlands are and some of the perks to working outside.

Cora Siipola sharing about wetland biology at Coweeman Middle School Career Day
Cora Siipola sharing about wetland biology at Coweeman Middle School Career Day

What do swamps, creeks, lakes, bogs, and marshes have in common? They are or are related to wetlands. Students learned the three criteria for a wetland: hydric soils, hydric vegetation, and hydrology and saw some examples of wetlands in western Washington.

Cora Siipola getting creative on how to teach wetland biology.
Cora Siipola getting creative on how to teach wetland biology.

So what about this word WET-land? Kids were asked, how do wetland biologists take notes if it’s raining outside and surprised to see that Cora had a special kind of paper that enables her to write in the rain. She also showed them her rain gear and rain boots that she commonly brings with her in the field. And what else does a wetland biologist find in the field besides soil, plants, and water? Shown below,Cora brought in some of her field work treasures she has found including a deer skull and half of duck decoy.

Wetland biologist display items for career day.
Wetland biologist display items for career day.

Long Beach Mitigation Bank Now Selling Mitigation Credits

Wetland mitigation credits are now available  on the Long Beach Peninsula near Long Beach, WA. The 76-acre Long Beach Mitigation Bank operated  by LBMB, Inc. was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology in November of 2013.  Projects with unavoidable impacts to wetlands and wetland buffers within the service area of the mitigation bank now have the opportunity to purchase credits for wetland and wetland buffer mitigation.

Long Beach Mitigation Bank Service Area
Long Beach Mitigation Bank Service Area

The service area of the Long Beach Mitigation Bank includes projects with palustrine and lacustrine wetland and wetland buffer impacts on the coastal plain of the Long Beach Peninsula that drain to Willapa Bay or the Pacific Ocean or have no outlet.  Mitigation banking is a favorable option for compensatory mitigation because it allows for wetland functions and processes that are critical within a watershed to be restored, enhanced, or preserved.  Regulatory agencies have stated their preference for the use of mitigation banks, when available, over in-lieu fee programs or permittee-responsible onsite/offsite wetland mitigation for development projects.  In addition, applicants who use mitigation banking for project wetland impacts will have the benefit of avoiding costly development of permittee-responsible mitigation and monitoring plans, and shorter review time/permit issuance by the permitting agencies.  Purchasing mitigation credits allows developers to move forward with their project once the purchase is complete rather than the continuing responsibility to provide mitigation site maintenance and monitoring over a 5 to 10 year period.

To inquire about sales or more details about the mitigation bank contact Francis Naglich or Karey Bock.

LBMB, Inc.

1157 3rd Ave, Suite 220

Longview, WA 98632

(360) 578-1371

Ecological Land Services, Inc provides environmental consulting  services involving resources such as wetlands, streams, wildlife habitat, shorelines, and sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.

Long Beach Mitigation Bank

Mitigation banks typically involve the consolidation of many small wetland mitigation projects into a larger, potentially more ecologically valuable site.  Such consolidation encourages greater diversity of habitat and wetland functions.  It also helps create more sustainable systems.  Mitigation banks provide a greater likelihood of success, since the banks are up and running before unavoidable damage occurs to wetland or other critical areas at a development site.  The purpose of the bank is to provide, for sales to the general public, high-quality, consolidated, watershed-based compensatory mitigation.  Bank credits are available  – subject to regulatory approval – for future projects with unavoidable impacts to wetlands and other aquatic resources.  Units of restored, created, enhanced or preserved land are expressed as “credits” which may be subsequently be withdrawn to offset “debits” incurred at a project development site.  The presence of a wetland bank does not change existing regulatory requirements to avoid, minimize, rectify and finally, compensate for wetland impacts. Successful mitigation banks require much more than just permitting; MBI terms, credit marketing and pricing, and good relationships with regulatory agencies are critical to the overall success of a mitigation bank.

 

 

To view our article about mitigation banking follow this link: http://tdn.com/news/local/wetland-mitigation-bank-a-new-approach-to-preserving-habitat/article_dd82b990-a30a-11e2-8291-001a4bcf887a.html

Northern Leopard Frog Habitat Enhancement

ELS was contracted by Aho Construction I, Inc. as part of a mitigation agreement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to enhance northern leopard frog habitat near Moses Lake, Washington. ELS  conducted a wetland delineation and prepared a wetland mitigation plan for proposed impacts due to the creation of predator barrier berms and wetland breeding habitat for this state endangered species and federal species of concern. ELS biologists coordinated with multiple agencies to obtain the permits and approvals for the enhancement project proposed by the WDFW including the US Army Corps of Engineers for a nationwide permit, the US Bureau of Reclamation for project approval on federal land and compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act, the WDFW for a Hydraulic Project Approval and State Environmental Protection Act compliance, the Washington Department of Ecology for 401 Water Quality Certification, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources for project approval on state land.

Project: State Route 14 Pedestrian Tunnel Crossing – Washougal, Washington

The City of Washougal’s State Route (SR) 14 Pedestrian Tunnel Crossing project is located in downtown Washougal, Washington and involves excavation of a 110- foot long pedestrian tunnel beneath the SR 14 embankment to connect pedestrians and bicyclists from downtown Washougal to Steamboat Landing Park. The tunnel will be 16-feet wide by 10-feet tall and will be excavated about 20 feet below the top of the SR 14 fill embankment. A plaza area will be constructed at the north entrance of the tunnel, and landscape and sidewalk improvements will occur along Pendleton Way between SR 14 and ‘A’ Street.
For this project, ELS conducted a wetland delineation, prepared a wetland delineation report, completed a No-effect Letter for Endangered Species Act compliance, and developed a wetland buffer  mitigation plan. In addition, ELS worked closely with the project engineer providing the environmental consultation and review to assist with permitting documents for this federally funded project, which included a JARPA, SEPA, and local agency Environmental Classification Summary.
Permitting involved coordination with Wallis Engineering, the City of Washougal Planning Department, the City of Washougal Parks Department, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, completed the Washington State Department of Transportation Local Agency Guidelines, and the Washington Department of Ecology. A critical areas permit, Shoreline Exemption and Hydraulic Permit Approval were obtained for the project.

East Fork Lewis Wetland Mitigation Bank

ESL assisted Habitat Bank with the preparation of various appendices to the MBI and is in process of completing the grading permit submittable for establishment of the East Fork Lewis Wetland Mitigation Bank (EFLMB)in Clark County, Washington. Additional tasks we have completed, or are in the process of completing, include at wetland delineation and functional assessment, botanical survey, and habitat pre-determination.