environmental planning

  • Welcome Alyson Eddie! LSD’s Newest Biologist in Salt Lake City

    Alyson EddieAlyson Eddie has joined Logan Simpson Design as a senior biologist. Ms. Eddie has more than 12 years of experience in environmental sciences and a strong background in vegetation and wildlife ecology. Her professional experience spans a variety of environmental projects, including vegetation mapping, rare plant surveys, habitat characterization, Environmental Assessments, wetland delineations, and Section 404 permitting, vegetation monitoring studies, biological inventories, threatened and endangered species surveys, and habitat management planning efforts. Ms. Eddie has also contributed to research and reporting for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Throughout her career she has worked extensively with local, state, and federal agencies as well as, private sector clients. Her work spans the Southeast, Great Plains, Southwest, and Intermountain West regions of the U.S.

    Ms. Eddie received her B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Biology in 2001 from Appalachian State University.

  • Vegetation Sampling

    Richard Remington

    Logan Simpson Design’s biological resources staff is trained in a variety of vegetation sampling techniques. Vegetation inventory and mapping is a process that documents the composition, distribution and abundance of plant communities across the landscapes. Accurately describing and mapping vegetated land cover consistent with the national vegetation classification system is integral in providing comparable data in how vegetation is inventoried, studied, and applied to sound ecological science, land assessment, environmental planning and management.

     Vegetation sampling and mapping ranges from a broad scale delineation of ecological systems derived at a regional level to documenting fine-scaled vegetation associations and alliances at the local specific scale. Conducting detailed vegetation inventories and mapping are used in accuracy assessments of vegetation classes delineated on a vegetation map to provide the user with an estimate or index on the reliability that the vegetation type mapped actually matches the vegetation present on the ground.

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  • AzASLA Recognizes Tres Rios Environmental Restoration

    Aquatic and riparian vegetationThe Arizona Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects recently recognized the Tres Rios Environmental Restoration project with an Award of Excellence in the General Design category. Construction, mining, and engineering firm Kiewit Western Co. and LSD worked together on the habitat restoration project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Phoenix. Phase III work included a native plant inventory; removal and control of invasive species (primarily Salt Cedar); grading and excavation of the historic river channel; and restoration of riparian and wetland marsh habitats within the active stream area.

    Craig Coronato, FASLA, Director of Design, accepted the award for LSD.

    Winning projects received Awards of Excellence or Honor and were judged by landscape architects based upon design and planning quality and execution, response to site context, environmental sensitivity and sustainability, and value to the public, the client, and other designers. Additionally, special awards were given in the categories of Educators of the Year, Friend of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Sage of the Year, and Landscape Architect of the Year.

    Completed in May 2012, the environmental planning project created 44 acres of new open-water reaches, 10 acres of marsh habitat, and 46 acres of riparian habitat. The Salt, Gila, and Agua Fria river corridors were revegetated with new aquatic plants and cottonwood and willow trees.

    Arizona Chapter of American Public Works Association, also recently selected the Tres Rios Environmental Restoration, Phase 3A & 3B project as this year’s recipient of the Public Works Project of the Year in the Environment – $5 – $25 Million category.

    LSD is also the primary designer for five separate trailheads that will provide gateways to multi-use trails leading to the Overbank Wetlands and Flow Control Wetlands at the 91st Avenue Treatment Plant and the Tres Rios Environmental Restoration project.

  • Logan Simpson’s “Our Lands – Our Future” Study Wins APA and NACP Award

    community planningThe American Planning Association County Planning Division and its sister organization, the National Association of County Planners has bestowed the Award of Excellence to Logan Simpson’s “ Our Lands – Our Future Recreation & Conservation Choices for Northern Colorado” conservation study in the Grass Roots Initiative category.

    For the first time in Colorado, all of the local governments in a county engaged in a comprehensive study on  land conservation and nature-based recreation to evaluate successes, potential improvements, and existing gaps. The regional conservation study used extensive public outreach, an interactive GIS website, and dedicated engagement by nine partner agencies  to produce  a plan that shapes the vision of open space conservation in Larimer County.

    Logan Simpson’s landscape architecture and planning team provided the public involvement framework and analysis, coordination, and report for this unique regional conservation study. Working with project partners, four broad goals were developed: Conserve working farms and ranches; Create regionally-significant recreation opportunities; Protect natural resource and wildlife areas; and Enhance urban settings with open space and trail systems.

    This is the first time that all of Larimer County’s municipalities joined together to develop effective tools to manage diminishing open space resources. Over 4,200 citizens provided feedback on key choices: Which types of land and recreation should be provided? Where? What emphasis should be given to each type of open space? How should open space tax dollars be allocated? How should public funds be obtained for continued land conservation and recreation? The level and quality of partnerships in Colorado is unprecedented in this area, and the Our Lands – Our Future report capitalizes on those relationships.

    The combined county-wide and jurisdictional-specific needs assessment, opportunity maps, financial models, and citizen priorities in Our Lands – Our Future will help conservation partners and public land managers ensure that investments are strategic, cost-effective, and representative of community values. In updating their respective master plans, local governments will save land managers time and effort by using this study as a starting point.

    Read the final report here.

  • Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates Chiricahuensis)

    Richard RemingtonLogan Simpson Design knows the importance of protecting our biological resources through responsible environmental planning. That’s why our biological resources staff includes experts in the fields of botany, ornithology, chiropterology, wildlife and fishing management, ecology, and habitat assessment and restoration. The habitat of the threatened Chiricahua leopard frog is just one consideration for proponents of new development within Arizona.

    STATUS: Threatened (67 FR 40790, June 13, 2002) with critical habitat (77 FR 16324, March 20, 2012).

    What are the reasons for decline/vulnerability?

    The most serious threats to this species includes nonnative predators, especially bullfrogs, fishes, and crayfish, and a fungal skin disease, chytridomycosis, also known as BD. BD is killing frogs and toads around the globe. Environmental threats include drought, floods, wildfires, degradation and destruction of habitat, water diversions and groundwater pumping, disruption of metapopulation dynamics (relationships among populations of frogs), increased chance of extirpation or extinction resulting from small numbers of populations and individuals, and environmental contamination.
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  • Process Progress

    Perhaps no word elicits groans more quickly than “process.”  In community planning and environmental planning, process is often equated with long, slow, cumbersome, and costly activities. This is only fair, as we have all been involved in a planning process that was somehow painful. In a recent city meeting, the word “process” was used 16 times, each time to describe something that was not done, was now late, or had become otherwise problematic.

    Why does process get a black eye? Process itself is not the problem, bad process is the problem. However, good process, the foundation of good thinking, often goes unnoticed and unheralded. Process is the fundamental feature of structured thinking, project management, and orderly social progress. Have you heard of the Socratic Method? It is a critical thought method dating back to Socrates and it undergirds several modern facilitation techniques. Two generations after Socrates, Aristotle advanced his own process of inquiry, deconstructing and dividing information into its parts by asking: “What is it? What is it good for? How do I know?” Aristotle’s thought process has fundamentally influenced western progress for over 2,300 years now.

    In late 2012, Logan Simpson began providing facilitation services for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, a very diverse collaborative group in a high-stakes community planning environment. The group had exhausted several facilitators and due to the complexity of issues, faced fresh challenges every month. The combination of personalities, interests, and history resulted in multiple and critical breakdowns. But now the group is clicking, producing, and performing well. What has changed? The answer would be good process.
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  • We Comply: Construction Industry Environmental Compliance Guidance and Training

    Kevin Boesch, CPESC

    To increase protection of water quality resources within and adjacent to transportation-related construction sites, state transportation departments often require contractors to designate highly qualified personnel for environmental compliance who hold certifications, such as the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT’s) environmental control supervisor (ECS)  or the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT’s) erosion control coordinator (ECC). For Arizona environmental consultants at Logan Simpson Design, as for others in the industry, training is essential for staying current on new technology and methods, as well as improving compliance with state and federal regulations and department or agency specifications. In a competitive consulting market, having experienced and well-trained environmental consultants on staff can be a differentiator for contractors that can help them win jobs.

    Types of projects that may require an ECC or ECS include those that have Clean Water Act Section 404 permits, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and stream alteration permits or other environmental concerns.

    The cost and time commitment to water quality/erosion control training and certification will vary on where an environmental specialist works. UDOT’s certification class and test are administered online. The Colorado Department of Transportation certification training is a two day class. In Arizona, the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC) offers the erosion control coordinator training class and a refresher course that meets the environmental planning training needs of construction personnel for ADOT projects, but these concepts also transfer to non-transportation related projects (civil or commercial).
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  • The Class I Cultural Resources Overview: A Developer’s Best Friend

    Chris Watkins, MA, RPAIs there anything quite like deep sea fishing? Once that line is in the water, you’re never quite sure what you are going to pull up, assuming you even get a bite. Experienced fishermen have certain expectations when they go to sea; some fishing spots are better than others, one type of fish is much more common in one area of the ocean than another. I would be surprised if I pulled up say, a mermaid, but who knows? The ocean is a big place after all.

    The work of cultural resources is a little like deep sea fishing. We, as archaeologists, can’t be 100 percent sure about what is under the ground until we start digging. With the immense desert landscape in Arizona, cultural resources are sure to be present in various locations. In keeping with responsible environmental planning practices, archaeologists are regularly tasked with protecting culturally significant artifacts from damage that may result from modern development projects. However, we do have tools and techniques that we can put to work to greatly narrow our expectations about what might be present beneath the ground surface.

    One quick and effective tool is the Class I Cultural Resources Overview. In a Class I, an archaeologist will research a project area, whether it is the route of a proposed road project or a new development to determine if any archaeological sites have been located nearby. This includes the summary of any previous archaeological investigations. In some cases, more time intensive techniques, such as an archaeological survey, have already been implemented. Therefore, we can say with a high degree of certainty if cultural sites are in the area. In other cases, we can look at nearby sites, the general environment, and other resources, and assess the likelihood of cultural resources being present in the given project area.
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  • Logan Simpson Design Celebrates 23rd Anniversary

    Environmental planning and landscape architecture firm Logan Simpson Design Inc. is celebrating 23 years this week. In August, LSD celebrated the first-year anniversary of our Fort Collins office with an open house.

    “We have been servicing the Intermountain West from our Tempe, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah offices for the past nine years, and decided in 2012 to open offices in Fort Collins, adding value through proximity and local knowledge,” said Diane Simpson-Colebank, CEO and president. “We’ve had fantastic business growth since then, and would like to thank all our clients and partners for their continuous support.”

    As is tradition, Principals Diane Simpson-Colebank, Wayne Colebank, Greg Brown, Eileen Bailey, Tom Keith, Bruce Meighen, and Jana McKenzie will distribute gifts to employees this week to show their appreciation.

    LSD’s in-house interdisciplinary staff includes:

    • Environmental planners
    • Landscape architects
    • Archaeologists
    • Historians
    • Biologists
    • Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting specialists
    • Visual resources specialists
    • Public involvement specialists
    • GIS/graphics specialists
    • Construction inspectors
  • Logan Simpson Design Assisting Colorado Springs Utilities with Natural Resources Consulting

    Pikes Peak WatershedLSD is part of a team of consultants selected to provide natural resources consulting services to Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU).  Previously, key LSD staff worked with CSU to develop a plan for public use in the Pike’s Peak watershed, an area that had been closed to use for over a century. The plan provided for recreational use combined with resource protection strategies and monitoring to assure that water quality and other important resource values were maintained and enhanced.
    LSD will provide similar services through this new contract with a focus on recreation and trails planning as well as the conduct of environmental assessments and related studies.

    CSU, a municipal utility, provides electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services to the Pikes Peak region.