biological resources

  • Part II: Wetland Mitigation & Functional Assessment Methods

    Alyson EddieMethods that biological resource specialists’ use for assessing the functional quality of a wetland can vary from state to state.  California employs the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM), whereas Florida’s state regulators first developed the Wetland Rapid Assessment Protocol (WRAP) and then developed a more detailed method known as the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM).

    As we discussed in Part I of this series, Utah has the UDOT Wetland Functional Assessment method. On a federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a rapid assessment method for assessing wetland condition. Typically, the state-developed methods are most applicable to the wetland types and communities found within that state.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Logan Simpson Arizona Environmental Consultants to Help Mitigate Fire Danger from Buffelgrass

    The Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center (SABCC) has awarded the Arizona environmental consultants of Logan Simpson a three-year contract to document the distribution, abundance, and effectiveness of treatments to eradicate buffelgrass in Pima County. This invasive species is highly flammable and drastically increases the frequency of fires in the Sonoran Desert.

    Fire is the single greatest threat to public health and safety in and around in and around the Tucson International Airport (TIA) and the Pima County Mission Road Complex, which houses the Pima County Jail and other county infrastructure. Logan Simpson will be working with SABCC, TIA, and Pima County to help reduce the threat at TIA by mapping, controlling, and monitoring the spread of buffelgrass. The projects will be funded through a FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant.

    The Southwest Fire Science Consortium has produced a 11 minute video of the work that SABCC is doing.