New Nice/Middleton Bridge Replacement Project, Re-Evaluation, Permitting and Mitigation

Coastal Resources, Inc. (CRI) participated 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).  CRI developed a mitigation strategy that included a suite of mitigation options for several construction access methods that the design-builder could utilize once the contract was awarded. CRI developed and prepared the Draft Compensatory Mitigation Plan that included and evaluated mitigation banking credits for impacts to non-tidal wetlands and streams.  Other potential project impacts included effects 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.

To evaluate the proposed dredge and causeway impacts to shallow water habitat and tidal wetlands/open water greater than three feet in depth, CRI conducted pre-construction benthic monitoring as part of a before-after-control-impact (BACI) study of the benthic invertebrate community. Sampling was conducted two times prior to construction, once during spring and once during summer. The methodology consisted of triplicate benthic community samples collected using a standard Ponar grab from a total of nine stations. Benthic samples were sorted, enumerated, and identified to species or lowest practical taxonomic level. Biomass was calculated for any samples taken in water greater than 5 PSU salinity. Sediment samples were also collected during the summer sampling for any samples in water greater than 12 PSU to determine grain size for calculation of the B-IBI. Ecological metrics were 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 were used to calculate the Chesapeake Bay B-IBI. At the end of the pre-construction sampling year, CRI prepared 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 conducted 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 was conducted once per week during the month prior to construction, resulting in four sampling events at each station. Monitoring consisted 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 were established using GPS (with sub-meter accuracy) to relocate stations for future sampling events. At the end of pre-construction water quality monitoring, CRI prepared 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 prepared the commitment tracking database (CTD) that details MDTA’s environmental commitments, including all NEPA commitments and permit conditions.  CRI is managing the environmental compliance of the project by tracking the progress of environmental commitments throughout the project to ensure full achievement of commitments. CRI produces a compliance report on a quarterly basis, which tracks and confirms compliance with each environmental commitment pertaining to the construction of the project and also tracks 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 coordinates all activities and issues with the regulatory agencies, the Design-Builder’s Environmental Compliance Manager and the Independent Environmental Monitor. CRI is reviewing design plan submittals and the Environmental Compliance Plan implementation and is coordinating permit modifications; alerts the Design-Builder of noted deficiencies in the compliance with the environmental commitments, considerations, permits and approvals. CRI is also providing Environmental Compliance Inspectors on-site during construction to represent MDTA’s interests in ensuring environmental commitments and permit compliance are fully carried out. CRI inspectors complete daily reviews of all active operations within the project limits to facilitate coordination between the Contractor and Environmental Management Team. In addition to inspection of construction operations, CRI regularly sweeps the site for endangered or protected wildlife such as the Rainbow Snake, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Dolphin, and various game fish. If one of these species is identified to be affected by construction activities, CRI inspectors would immediately notify the project team to take steps to protect wildlife.


Charles County, MD and King George, VA


Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)

Key Services:

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