- Wetland & Stream Restoration
Burns & McDonnell was retained by Spencer, Fane, Britt & Brown LLP on behalf of a confidential client to provide expert technical support in response to an Administrative Compliance Order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The client had destroyed approximately 100 acres of forested wetland and relocated approximately 3,800 feet of intermittent stream channel on two sites (Stotesbury and Vernon sites) and received a substantial penalty. Burns & McDonnell completed jurisdictional wetland delineations on both sites, assisted in negotiations with the USEPA, prepared a restoration/mitigation plan, designed, oversaw and currently monitors the mitigation site.
- Expert testimony
- Wetland delineations
- Wetland and stream design
- Construction monitoring
- Mitigation monitoring
Burns & McDonnell completed a jurisdictional wetland delineation on the Vernon and Stotesbury sites to assess impacts of the clear cutting and burning of approximately 100 acres of forested wetlands and relocation of approximately 3,800 linear feet of intermittent stream channel. In addition, the Burns & McDonnell team reviewed government's wetland assessment documents and correspondence, regarding both sites for background information. This included documents from the local Natural Resources Conservation Service, USEPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District. Upon completion of the fieldwork and assessment of the field data, Spencer Fane and Burns & McDonnell met with the USEPA to negotiate a settlement. We were successful in negotiating the settlement, which consisted of purchasing a site and preserving forested wetlands by placing a conservation easement on the property in perpetuity and restoring and enhancing the Stotesbury site.
Upon finalizing the details of the EPA consent decree, Burns & McDonnell prepared and submitted the Stotesbury mitigation plan for the USEPA's approval. The Stotesbury mitigation plan consisted of restoring the original 3,800 linear foot stream channel, which included regrading a portion of the previously existing stream channel, reseeding and planting the riparian area, and restoring the hydrology of the stream by plugging and filling the manmade stream channel. In addition, the plan included the restoration and enhancement of approximately 39 acres of forested and emergent wetlands. The USEPA reviewed and approved the mitigation plan.
Burns & McDonnell oversaw the construction of the mitigation site, which was completed in phases. Phase I included regrading the stream channel and seeding and planting the riparian area. Phase II assessed the forested wetland to determine if each site exceeded the negotiated minimum of 109 trees per acre and restored hydrology. It was determined that all sites exceeded the minimum, therefore no tree planting was required and fill was removed from a portion of the wetlands to restore hydrology. Phase III required reseeding a 50-foot grassed buffer zone around each of the forested wetlands and placement of steel posts to demarcate the location of the conservation easement and keep areas from being farmed. Phase IV consists of restoring hydrology to the stream channel by filling and plugging the manmade channel.
In 2014, the mitigation site was in year three of a five-year monitoring program. Mitigation monitoring consists of two site visits per year to document the soils, hydrology and the progress of vegetative growth within each wetland and providing recommendation for remedial measures. Annual reports are submitted to the USEPA at the end of each calendar year.