Environmental Planning

Planning Analysis and Implementation

Selway River tributary, Idaho

Environmental Planning services offered by D&D Larix, LLC, address a broad range of planning needs using a variety of assessment tools. We offer advanced hazard mitigation assessments, environmental management analyses, NEPA compliance, and overall resource planning needs. The world of planning has evolved from considering expected outcomes brought about from management activities, to the creation of assessments of topographic, physical site characteristics, wildlife and fish populations, and the integration of human habitation with these elements. Natural Resource planning has information to be discovered using a wide range of possible devices.

Many of those devices are tools, but all are activated by the minds of investigators who make it meaningful.

This is what we do.

Shoreline Management Planning

Shorelines Management Planning begins with an assessment of current conditions of lands where properties are co-located with precipitation, geology, topography, wildlife, and anthropogenic influences across the landscape. A goal of Shoreline Management Planning is that all surface waters be maintained to preserve and enhance the structure and function of aquatic and wildlife communities. Planning efforts are desired to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological water integrity, to preserve and enhance the environment. Actions by people may cause the introduction of pollution or contamination substances to surface waters, whether via a point source or nonpoint source. The degradation of aquatic habitat shall extend from the quality of water to the impacts to shorelines including the near-shore soil impacts and the riparian vegetation density and composition.

This form of assessment and planning can be conducted along streams and rivers in what are commonly known as riparian zones – those areas most closely located next to moving water. Evaluations are often conducted along lake shorelines to extend to the in-flowing streams and outbound rivers. Comprehensive evaluations of shorelines extend to the ocean shorelines of jurisdictions. Today, those discussions include not only topographic and soil-chemical interactions, but also global climate change influences to rising or lowering of sea-levels. If your jurisdiction is located along the ocean shorelines and sea-level is anticipated to rise, then concrete actions are necessitated.

These challenges were presented as we worked with the Quinault Indian Nation to assess their ocean shorelines. The analysis documented current conditions and changes recorded along the reservation’s shoreline interface with the Pacific Ocean. A record of geologic, photographic, tectonic, vegetative, and spatial conditions formed the basis for a starting point as their potential responses were considered. A few assessment documents are presented here to see example of the considerations made for shoreline management plans.

The documents linked here show the primary guide and discussions about the planning and assessment approaches used. The Assessment Descriptions and the Assessment imagery shows how certain insights were confirmed across this region. Some of the aerial photography was obtained from 1930 which allowed geospatial rectification to confirm how physical site characteristics have responded to anthropogenic influences through a hundred-year period.

The aerial imagery from 1935 at Cape Elizabeth confirms how a World War II U.S. military base was established on the Quinault Indian Reservation to spot possible attack from sea. Because the substrate materials of this zone were formed by the accretionary wedge as the Juan de Fuca plate subducted against, then below, the North American plate, the materials forming these cliffs could not sustain compaction without compromising substrate stability. The military base above Cape Elizabeth collapsed into the ocean shoreline by 1965, a fate which each human development along this shoreline must face.

Hazard Mitigation Planning

Federal Hazard Mitigation Planning is a responsibility shared between two federal agencies related by the aspect of reducing the risks to people, places, and infrastructure from natural and man caused disasters. One of those agencies is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The other is the National Fire Plan, created by Congressional order, and administered by the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior, with states, tribes, counties, and organizations, to improve response and resilience in the event of wildland fire. Environmental Resource Analysis works with counties, tribes, states, and agencies to implement hazard risk reduction planning. We work with our clients and stakeholders to develop meaningful, well designed, and effective mitigation measures at a Benefit/Cost trade-off attractive to stakeholders and sponsors.

One strategy we have used, which works excellently, is to integrate the FEMA and the National Fire Plan approaches into a unified hazard mitigation planning document. Although the two programs have slight differences in approach, we have been successful at combining both regulatory frameworks into one planning document. The unified planning document is used by the jurisdiction to justify grant applications, planning approaches, and regulatory consistency to their programs. At the same time, the hybrid planning document reduces costs to the jurisdiction by not duplicating planning efforts of the jurisdiction, or cooperators, to complete the requested planning verification.

While completing a particular planning project for an Indian Tribe concerning salmon habitat enhancement along a river system on their reservation, we collaborated with the county Emergency Management office to address some landslide and flood abatement projects identified in the County Hazard Mitigation Plan approved by FEMA. The enhanced project expanded to include flood mitigation and road infrastructure enhancement measures receiving FEMA funding that was combined with salmon habitat enhancement measures funded through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The combined project implementation profile accomplished more than either plan initially intended, and it cost less than either could have organized if they did it separately. This was a Win-Win scenario at the best levels.