Client

Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)

Key Services

  • Wetland Delineations
  • Mitigation
  • Interagency Coordination
  • Permitting
  • Environmental Construction Manager

Project Details

Coastal Resources, Inc. (CRI) is currently participating in the permitting, mitigation, and agency coordination efforts for all of the natural resources impacts in both Maryland (MD) and Virginia (VA) for this Design-Build bridge replacement project over the tidal Potomac River as part of the project General Engineering Consultant (GEC) Team.  CRI conducted wetland delineations within the VA project area and wetland and forest stand delineations within the MD landward approach. CRI prepared the natural resources portions of the Reevaluation of the 2012 Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).  Developed and prepared the Draft Compensatory Mitigation Plan, which included a suite of mitigation options that could be secured, depending on what construction access method was chosen by the design-builder once the project has been awarded.  Potential project impacts include affects to shallow water habitats within the Potomac River as a result of dredging and causeway construction access options. At the request of Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), CRI prepared a white paper that summarizes existing literature on the ecological importance of shallow water estuarine habitats, the impacts of dredging on shallow water habitats, and the scientific basis for restoring the dredged channel to its original depth. CRI developed a benthic macroinvertebrate and water quality monitoring plan for both the dredge and causeway construction options that will help determine whether the restoration of the dredged channel to pre-dredging conditions was successful.  CRI also investigated other accepted forms of mitigation for shallow water habitat impacts that included oyster seeding and placement of rubble at approved artificial reef sites.

In order to evaluate the proposed dredge and causeway impacts to shallow water habitat and tidal wetlands/open water greater than three feet in depth, CRI is currently conducting pre-construction benthic monitoring as part of a before-after-control-impact (BACI) study of the benthic invertebrate community. Sampling is conducted two times prior to construction, once during spring and once during summer. The methodology consists of triplicate benthic community samples collected using a standard Ponar grab from a total of nine stations. Benthic samples are sorted, enumerated, and identified to species or lowest practical taxonomic level. Biomass is calculated for any samples taken in water greater than 5 PSU salinity. Sediment samples are also collected during the summer sampling for any samples in water greater than 12 PSU in order to determine grain size for calculation of the B-IBI. Ecological metrics are then calculated separately for the spring and summer data to aid in community level analyses for each sampling period.  Metrics calculated using the summer sampling data will be used to calculate the Chesapeake Bay B-IBI. At the end of the pre-construction sampling year, CRI will prepare a monitoring report including a summary of results, raw benthic macroinvertebrate community data, and documentation of laboratory quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) procedures.

In accordance with regulatory requirements, the Design Builder will monitor water quality during construction to evaluate effects of construction activities on surrounding water quality.  To provide a baseline for comparison, CRI will conduct pre-construction sampling along the LOD, including nine stations upstream of the LOD and nine stations within the LOD, immediately downstream of the proposed construction activities. Sampling will be conducted once per week during the month prior to construction, resulting in four sampling events at each station. During the pre-construction period, one of the sampling events will be conducted following a large rain event (>1 inch of rain in a 24-hour period), assuming such a precipitation event occurs. Monitoring will consist of collecting surface, mid-depth, and near-bottom readings for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, specific conductance, and salinity, using a YSI Pro-DSS handheld meter, or equivalent device. Stations will be established using GPS (with sub-meter accuracy) in order to relocate stations for future sampling events. At the end of pre-construction water quality monitoring, CRI will prepare a monitoring report including a summary of results, raw water quality data, and comparisons of measurements with Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) criteria for Use II systems.

Prior to advertisement, CRI prepared the environmental portions of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Design-Build contract and also prepared the commitment tracking database (CTD) that details MDTA’s environmental commitments, including all NEPA commitments and permit conditions.  Once the Design-Build contract has been awarded, CRI will act as the Environmental Manager for the project, managing the environmental compliance of the project. CRI will track the progress of environmental commitments throughout the project to ensure full achievement of commitments. CRI will produce a compliance report on a quarterly basis, which will track and confirm compliance with each environmental commitment pertaining to the construction of the project, and will also track impacts to tidal and nontidal wetlands, waters of the U.S., Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas (and the expanded 100-foot buffer), forests and trees, and other commitments as defined in the RFP. CRI will coordinate all activities and issues during design and construction with the regulatory agencies, the Design-Builder’s Environmental Compliance Manager and the Independent Environmental Monitor. The CRI Environmental Manager will review design plan submittals and the Environmental Compliance Plan implementation, and will coordinate permit modification; alert the Design-Builder of noted deficiencies in the compliance with the environmental commitments, considerations, permits and approvals; and represent the Project at any meetings involving regulatory agencies or other resource-specific stakeholders.  CRI will also provide Environmental Compliance Inspectors on-site during construction to represent MDTA’s interests in ensuring environmental commitments and permit compliance are fully carried out.