environmental consultants

  • Process Mapping: How to Get the Most Out of Your Workforce

    Why map processes? It’s hardly a “sexy” topic, and generally, it’s avoided as a non-revenue generating activity that is not a productive use of time for many environmental consultants and planning professionals. However, if you find…

    • Tasks are done differently each time
    • Important steps are missed
    • Time is wasted on researching the right steps
    • Errors are common—costing time and money
    • New personnel are trained by overloaded peers or not trained at all

    … it’s time to consider a solid process manual. This can get everyone on the same page, produce efficient, consistent work processes, and save time and money on your environmental planning and design projects.
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  • Using Technology to Improve Safety and Efficiency of Natural Resource Inventories

    Here at Logan Simpson, our environmental consultants offer expertise in national resources inventories (NRI) — a federal natural resource monitoring protocol developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS has been conducting this statistical sampling of land use and natural resource conditions and trends on US lands since 1982. While initially restricted to non-federal lands, NRI sampling sites recently expanded to BLM-managed grazing lands in the western US, making it the most comprehensive monitoring database in the world. In 2013, Logan Simpson completed two NRI contracts for NRCS on BLM grazing lands in Nevada. Our success is due to an experienced in-house staff, attention to accuracy, and the implementation of technologies that reduce the time it takes to sample and travel between sites.

    Completing each NRI sampling site (called a segment) requires application of knowledge in each of three different disciplines: soils, botany, and range management. Team leads must be masters of all three, but are typically supported by technical leads in botany and soils. For example, NRCS requires at each NRI point a census of all the plants within a 150 foot diameter circular area. A crew biologist must locate, accurately identify to species, and record the relative density of typically 25 (and up to 40) different plants within 15 minutes. Much like a triathlon, speed, efficiency, accuracy in execution and fast transitions between tasks and plots (called points) are qualities needed to successfully complete an NRI contract.
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  • Making it Through the Maze of Federal Regulations: 8 Tips to Avoid Stalling Your Federal-Aid Highway Funded Project

    Wayne Colebank, RLAIncreasingly, local public agencies (LPAs) are relying on federal dollars to help build Federal-Aid Highway Program transportation projects. Logan Simpson Design’s environmental consultants can help you understand the requirements of these projects and can help ensure your project gets built as planned:

    1. (S)TIP it in. To be eligible for federal funding, your project must be on the state transportation improvement plan (STIP). Typically, Federal-Aid Highway Program projects must first be listed in the local council of governments (COG) or metropolitan planning agency (MPO) transportation improvement plan (TIP) before they are added to the STIP. In some cases, a project may go directly onto the STIP, where your local COG or MPO can guide you through the process.

    2. Scope it out. Federal funds are authorized based on the scope of the project activities. Authorization is the federal government’s approval of the project. A thoroughly scoped project will uncover issues that may not be immediately apparent and allow you to derive a solid cost estimate that can be used to seek federal authorization. Once funds have been authorized, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the transportation entity that is administering the project will enter into a project agreement with the LPA to specify how the project will be designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with federal requirements. FHWA will obligate funds — in other words, make a formal promise to pay — based on this project agreement.
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  • Lincoln County Archaeological Initiative

    Jesse Adams, M.A., RPALogan Simpson Design environmental consultants are currently conducting a number of long-term, research-driven inventory projects for the Bureau of Land Management in Lincoln County, Nevada.

    As part of a sample archaeological inventory near Delamar Lake, LSD has developed a GIS predictive model to help identify high, medium, and low probability areas of cultural resources associated with the Terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene (TPEH) transition period.

    Our GIS model focuses on several critical factors likely to influence site distribution during the TPEH transition period such asproximity to high-probability landforms (lakeshores, beaches, or indented shorelines); extinct marshes or deltas; and elevated surfaces near wetlands.

    Delamar Lake cultural resourcesDelamar Lake is situated within a Pleistocene pluvial lake bed and, like other nearby pluvial lake beds, is a high probability area for Paleoarchaic archaeological sites. The now arid lake would likely have supported a marsh/riparian-type ecosystem during the TPEH.

    Throughout the process, our goal was to identify the TPEH, or Paleoarchaic, archaeological sites near Delamar Lake in order to establish baseline inventory data for locating TPEH-aged cultural resources in other pluvial lakebeds in Lincoln County.

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  • Street Enhancements: Project Investment & Community Planning

    Many communities in the western United States face a twofold obstacle to effective community planning. These communities must balance popular demand for visually appealing streetscapes with limited city budgets and resources to construct and maintain them. On top of that, environmental consultants are tasked with the difficult process of cost-estimate analysis for these street enhancement projects.  This requires extensive interagency and interdepartmental cooperation, as well as regimented data collection processes, to substantiate long-term funding needs.

    Logan Simpson’s work with the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization can provide us with one such example of how community planning teams can organize data to build community consensus.

    In this project, the City of Cheyenne was faced with implementing several streetscape redevelopment initiatives. Following an extensive collaboration with the Cheyenne MPO, the Cheyenne Public Works Department, the Cheyenne Parks and Recreation Department, Laramie County, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Logan Simpson developed a mechanism that assists in the selection and cost estimation of right-of-way enhancements

    The system is a combination of three documents: 1) the Cheyenne Area Street Enhancement Toolbox, 2) the Cheyenne Area Streetscape Enhancement Worksheet, and 3) the Streetscape Enhancement Best Practices Analysis.
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