Keys Energy Center, LLC
- Wetland Delineation
- Tier II Biological Monitoring
- Cumulative Effects Analysis
- Agency Coordination
Coastal Resources, Inc. (CRI) provided technical field support and Maryland natural resource permitting process expertise for development of a gas-fired power plant and pipeline project. CRI was asked to join the project team as local experts to facilitate the permitting process already underway and address outstanding permitting issues on the project. CRI helped to develop a proactive plan to address agency comments to allow for issuance of the public notice within a tight timeframe. Most of the tasks completed by CRI focused on providing the documentation requested by the agencies to deem the permit application complete; to hold a public hearing and eventually issue authorization of the project. Extensive coordination with the client, engineering team, contractor, and agencies was required to move the project forward.
To address agency comments, CRI prepared an alternatives site analysis justifying the selection of the power plant site. CRI conducted a re-delineation of the power plant site following changes in wetland limits due to beaver activities and led the agency field review of the wetland boundaries. CRI coordinated with the agencies on required mitigation and suitable on-site mitigation sites and oversaw a wetland mitigation site search in the Mattawoman watershed. Once a suitable on-site mitigation site was located, CRI reviewed conceptual mitigation plans developed by prime contractor, and provided guidance and input on the final off-site and on-site mitigation plan documenting the 12 essential components of the project based on the Federal Mitigation Rule. CRI QA/QC’d the wetland and waterway impact plates for the plant site and pipeline corridor and coordinated with the regulatory agencies to clarify and address all permit comments.
CRI also provided expertise on Tier II waters permitting issues and developed a Tier II monitoring plan for watersheds crossed by the gas pipeline to meet MDE Tier II permitting and Section 401 water quality certification requirements. The monitoring plan was approved by MDE and included pre- and post-construction Tier II monitoring of benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and habitat, as well as pre- and during-construction continuous monitoring of turbidity to document any potential Tier II water quality effects of the project. Additionally, CRI conducted a Tier II reforestation site search and identified a suitable mitigation site and coordinated with MDNR on Forest Conservation Act requirements.
Along with the owner and project team, CRI presented the environmental impacts and mitigation proposed for the project at the public hearing and responded to public comments as needed. Based on public input, the USACE required that the cumulative effects of the project be evaluated. CRI prepared a Cumulative Effects Analysis (CEA) discussing the current study area conditions and expected cumulative impacts of the Keys Energy Center gas-fired powerplant and pipeline and other development within a watershed defined study area in Prince George’s and Charles County. CRI performed population and demographic projections, along with a landscape/landuse analysis and wetland/water quality impact analysis within ArcGIS, to determine potential project impacts within the greater landscape and in conjunction with other expected development.
Once the project permit was issued, CRI conducted the pre- and post-construction Tier II biological monitoring of aquatic habitat, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish and prepared pre- and post-construction biological monitoring reports for submittal to MDE in accordance with the Joint Permit and Tier II monitoring plan. CRI conducted the pre-construction turbidity monitoring and prepared a summary report of findings to establish baseline turbidity at perennial streams crossed by the gas pipeline. When construction was complete, CRI compiled the during construction turbidity monitoring results and submitted to MDE to verify that the project had not resulted in water quality impacts that would need to be remediated. Prior to construction, proposed temporary wetland impact areas were also documented by CRI to document preconstruction wetland conditions so that post-construction, restoration of temporary impacts could be verified in accordance with permit conditions.