What is Environmental Permitting?

Lord & Winter provides environmental permitting services to help our clients comply with environmental protection regulations at the local, state, and federal levels. Our team of professional scientists works collaboratively with landowners, engineers, and general contractors as part of the development team; establishing and maintaining effective communication channels with regulatory agencies responsible for enforcing environmental permits and regulations. We guide our clients through the entire permitting process by accomplishing the following key milestones:

  • Preliminary desktop reviews
  • Natural resource surveys
  • Impact avoidance during conceptual planning
  • Endangered species survey
  • Permit application
  • Agency consultation
  • Mitigation planning
Lord & Winter, experts in Environmental Planning

Delivering Results

Environmental Permitting Services with High-level Project Management

Project Management

Our environmental permitting projects are managed by Lord & Winter Project Managers who hold a Master of Science Degree and a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. This ensures that your project is overseen by a Professional Environmental Scientist with both niche technical and project management skills. We guide your project with expertise in scope, schedule, budget, and stakeholder communication. Our team uses critical path knowledge, workflow process, and agile contracting to manage the process efficiently for successful outcomes.

We provide counsel to expedite projects and meet permit thresholds and resource impact levels. This approach reduces permit requirements and costs while increasing resource protection. At Lord & Winter, we are committed to providing effective solutions that meet your project goals while minimizing environmental impact - delivering the highest level of service to meet your project needs.

Scoping and Scheduling

We work with the design team to integrate environmental permitting requirements into the overall project construction schedule. Starting with the construction start date, we schedule backward and align the necessary survey and application steps to ensure timely environmental permits. During the conceptual design phase, we identify the scope of work required to obtain the necessary environmental permits.

Regulatory Programs

Most projects must comply with federal regulatory programs, such as Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Sections 10 and 408 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and various monitoring and avoidance requirements under local implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4). State regulatory programs may vary, but typically include state water resource protection rules, 401 Water Quality permit processes or certifications, state stream and wetland protection and mitigation regulations, and protections for Rare, Threatened, and Endangered (RTE) species. Lord & Winter is your trusted expert for regulatory program compliance.
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Identifying Protected Natural Resources

After conducting a desktop environmental review, Lord & Winter will survey natural resources at the proposed project location. We follow state guidance as well as US Army Corps of Engineers guidance in each ecoregion of the US to delineate wetlands and conduct stream hydrologic determinations. The surveys provide an understanding of the protected areas of waters of the US and waters of the state within the project study area. This information serves as the basis for identifying potential areas that may require avoidance or permitting within the study area.

Confirming Jurisdictional Resources

The wetlands and streams in the project area surveyed by Lord & Winter are confirmed with local, state, and federal agencies. Reports on the wetland delineation and stream determination, along with boundary area files, are submitted for agency review. To expedite the permit process and reduce costs, it is recommended to obtain a Preliminary (PJD) or Approved Jurisdictional Determination (AJD) from the US Army Corps of Engineers early on. Agency confirmation is an essential step in the permit process.
Project Management Field Work
Compliance and field Research
Environmental Protection survey for development

Protection of Endangered Species

During the permit process, federal and state-managed endangered species are reviewed, and early surveys may be conducted. Lord and Winter scientists assess the geographic occurrence and local habitat requirements of endangered species to determine whether they are likely present in the project area. For species that are likely to be present, we conduct surveys to determine their habitat or presence/absence. Based on the results, we determine if the species is present at the project site and whether special management is necessary before or during construction.

Quantifying Conflict in the Proposed Development

Early coordination between the environmental consultant and engineering design team is essential for successful environmental permitting. By working together, we can identify any conflicts between the proposed design and protected natural resources. Avoiding such conflicts can result in cost savings and a faster project schedule. Making minor design adjustments in the early stages of the conceptual design process is an efficient way to achieve greater environmental protection at a lower cost.

Minimizing Impact

During the design process, the impact on wetlands and streams can be minimized by careful site layout planning. Minimizing impact not only saves time during the permit process but can also result in significant cost savings on mitigation efforts, ultimately making the project more profitable. Common types of protected resource minimization include:
  • Moving a stream crossing to an upland area
  • Spanning a stream
  • Directional boring underneath wetlands and streams
  • Returning soil to pre-construction grade in wetland areas
  • Performing construction outside of the endangered species breeding season
  • Installing culvert solutions that do not impact channel
  • Aligning lot and roadway layout with buffer protections

Permitting Unavoidable Impact

Lord and Winter prepares permit applications after finalizing the civil design layout. The applications are submitted to state water resource agencies and federal agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others. The applications seek permission to permit any unavoidable impact on protected water resources. A biological assessment or other resource report documents the project's impact on managed endangered species. Lord and Winter professionals handle the permit application process, respond to agency requests, and meet agency representatives on-site to confirm jurisdictional areas. Upon approval, the permit allows construction within the conditions specified in the permit.

Compensatory Mitigation

Compensatory mitigation is required for the permit applicant to offset the impact of construction on protected wetland or stream resources. This can be achieved by creating, restoring, or enhancing wetland and stream resources either within or outside the project area. Mitigation can be purchased through "credits" sold by mitigation banks or other program organizations that have already completed mitigation within the same watershed. Lord and Winter assists the project team in calculating the impact acreage on wetlands and streams resulting from the permitted construction, identifying mitigation options either on-site or off-site, and determining the cost of mitigation. Lord and Winter scientists quantify the stream and wetland resource value of both the impact and mitigation sites using complex state and federal requirements for assessment and modeling.
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Monitoring and Close Out

Monitoring of wetland, stream, and endangered species habitat is typically necessary after project construction. Lord and Winter scientists conduct post-construction surveys, habitat restoration assessments, and species presence/absence surveys to document the project's post-construction conditions, which may be a special permit condition. These services are used to document the results with the permitting agencies and request a project close-out.
Contact us today for more information about the environmental support we offer to get your project going!

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