SJM Biological Consultants Joins ECORP Consulting, Inc.

We are excited to announce that SJM Biological Consultants (SJMBC) has joined forces with ECORP.
September Article1After working in the Southern California region as an independent
consultant for nearly four decades, Steve Montgomery is now a Principal Biologist on ECORP’s team of biological resources professionals. During the transition, SJMBC will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECORP. SJMBC and ECORP staff have worked together on well over 100 projects in the last 25 years. Steve has been training ECORP biologists for several years, and ECORP and SJMBC are now moving forward as a seamless team.
SJMBC was established in 1983 and, since its inception, has completed nearly 1,000 field inventories of endangered and otherwise sensitive vertebrate wildlife species, analyzed myriad wildlife habitats and communities for their suitability for various wildlife species, developed habitat creation methods for a variety of federally and state-listed small mammals, and implemented numerous species translocation projects. Clients have included both public and private enterprises, from individual land owners to municipal, state, and federal agencies, and various Department of Defense entities. The firm has directed or participated in field studies in most Southern and Central California habitat types, including oak and riparian woodlands, coniferous forests, sage scrub and chaparral communities, alluvial fan scrub communities, grassland communities, coastal wetlands, freshwater marshes and lakes, and hot and cold desert communities.
Steve is a recognized expert on the federally listed (endangered) Stephens’ kangaroo rat, San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Pacific pocket mouse, Amargosa vole, and Yuma clapper (now Ridgway’s) rail, as well as the California state-listed (threatened) Mohave ground squirrel and sensitive Los Angeles and Palm Springs little pocket mice, and he has worked with these species for decades. He has striven to provide the highest quality field studies and related-assistance to clients, while maintaining his expertise with various species and his relationships with state and federal regulatory and conservancy agencies.
September Article.2This new relationship will add invaluable expertise to the ECORP team and will provide additional depth of services and responsiveness to Steve’s many loyal clients. Our enhanced team looks forward to continuing to provide the same types of high-quality  services our clients have come to expect and rely on.
Steve makes his home in Flagstaff, AZ, further extending ECORP’s geographic reach. For more information, contact Steve Montgomery at (928) 527-1604, or Don Mitchell or Kristen Wasz in the Redlands office at (909) 307-0046.
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ECORP on the Leading Edge of eDNA Identification Methodology

What is eDNA?
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is nuclear or mitochondrial DNA that is released from an organism into the environment. Sources of eDNA include shed skin, mucous, gametes, feces, hair, and carcasses. The DNA of a range of aquatic organisms can be detected in water samples at very low concentrations using qPCR (quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction), conventional PCR, and/or DNA sequencing technology.
In California, ECORP staff have been involved in an effort for the Central Valley Clean Water Association (CVCWA) and a consortium of 47 wastewater treatment facilities to evaluate the efficacy of using eDNA for determining the presence or absence of California native freshwater mussels in Central Valley water bodies. In addition, ECORP staff have assisted on eDNA projects with listed large branchiopods, trout species, mountain yellow-legged frog, and chytrid fungus.
How can an eDNA survey benefit my project?
The use of eDNA can significantly reduce the necessity for traditional surveying methods, typically reducing costs while improving detection. With eDNA methodology, the visual identification or handling of target species would not be required to confirm their presence or absence. The eDNA methodology can be used to:
  • Determine presence/absence of listed species in a given project area (e.g., Chinook salmon, steelhead, large branchiopods, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander)
  • Guide preliminary presence/absence assessments or additional survey efforts
  • Facilitate early detection of recolonizing invasive species after their intentional removal from mitigation/restoration sites
  • Determine, during a preliminary site assessment, whether invasive species (e.g., northern pike and other invasive fish, zebra and quagga mussels, bullfrog, and chytrid fungus) exist that may lessen the chance of special-status species occurring Quickly assess the spread of newly introduced invasive species
  • Evaluate the success and spread of native species being reintroduced or simply being tracked for other purposes
  • Map presence/absence of species to assist with larger scale projects (e.g., restoration plans, agency projects, County projects, State projects)
  • Demonstrate occupied habitat at mitigation sites
  • Assess temporal (e.g., before/after a construction project) and spatial (e.g., upstream vs. downstream of a point source discharge) impacts
  • Confirm regulatory compliance (e.g., freshwater mussel presence or absence for ammonia compliance)
How long does environmental DNA persist in water?
In aquatic environments, eDNA persists for a relatively short amount of time (3-4 weeks maximum) because it degrades with exposure to environmental conditions (e.g., light, oxygen, pH, salinity, substrates, and the microbial community). Due to this short persistence duration, eDNA detections can be confidently interpreted as proof of target species presence.
Where can you use the method?
In California, eDNA methods have been tested in a variety of habitats, and have been used to detect a range of organisms, including mussels and other aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, branchiopods, mammals, and water birds.
How can I learn more about eDNA services from ECORP?
ECORP has been developing its eDNA service through partnerships with local research organizations at the University of California, Davis, and William Jessup University, among others. ECORP can help you understand how eDNA technology can help your organization, whether you are planning a project in an area with sensitive resources or are an agency in need of water supply analysis.
For more information, contact David Thomas or Jason Peters in the Rocklin office at (916) 782-9100; or Todd Chapman or Brian Zitt in the Santa Ana office at (714) 648-0630.
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Cultural Resources – Expertise You Can Trust

Private sector development brings unique and complex challenges in the State of California. Many outside entities have the ability to influence the design and progress of your development projects. You need someone on your team who understands the regulatory and political environment and who will work alongside you to navigate, negotiate, and strategically pursue project approval.
Constraints Analyses : ECORP employs  state-of-the-art technology and a proven approach to screening project locations and alternatives for developers, long before projects are designed and engineered. This saves time and money by helping to identify fatal flaws and other potential regulatory issues early in the planning process.
Peer Reviews :  Our experienced archaeologists and architectural historians are independent experts who review technical studies prepared by other consultants to
determine compliance with applicable regulations and laws. Doing so  before the reports are  submitted to agencies can save permitting time and provide a level of confidence for your application process.
ArrowheadConfidential Compliance Strategy :  ECORP’s expert cultural resources specialists include faculty in the California State University system who teach advanced cultural resources law courses for planners and future professionals. Our knowledge of cultural resources laws allows us to work well with land use and environmental attorneys to provide you with the strategies necessary to achieve project approval in a quick and efficient manner. We develop options for compliance strategies that are in accordance with the law and meet your unique needs.
Agency/Tribal Liaison and Negotiation : New and complicated tribal consultation requirements and short-staffed reviewing agencies can result in obstacles to your project’s planning schedule. ECORP’s senior staff includes a specialist trained in cultural resources conflict resolution and negotiation to help achieve consensus and move your project forward.
HistoricalTechnical Studies, Documents, and Mitigation : ECORP’s well-rounded and multi-disciplinary in-house staff can also provide you with cultural resources surveys, evaluations of significance, archaeological excavation, and monitoring – everything that you need from project initiation to project construction.
Exceptional Client Service :  Since 1987, ECORP’s service to the private and public sectors has taught us to be cognizant of schedules, while being sensitive to costs. We function as a member of your project planning team, providing customized, high quality service in a timely manner. We have experts throughout California and near your project area, with additional capabilities in New Mexico, to provide you with a personal consulting experience specific to your location.
For more information, contact Lisa Westwood , RPA, Director of Cultural Resources at (916) 782-9100.
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ECORP Staff Attends the Small Business Advocacy Round Table

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy held a Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Sacramento in May. In attendance was Lisa Westwood, ECORP’s Director of Cultural Resources and the Standing Policy Chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Land Use and Natural Resources Committee.
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Ms. Westwood spoke about the regulatory challenges faced by small business consultants, local agencies, and private developers in complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. She urged the Small Business Administration to support federal agencies adopting programmatic agreements, similar to the one that has been championed by the Metro Chamber as part of its Cap-to-Cap program.
Click here for a Recap of the Roundtable
For more information, contact Lisa Westwood at (916) 782-9100.
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ECORP is a Federal Small Business

Federal Small Business logo.2ECORP is currently a Federal Small Business which enables us to compete for federal small business set-aside contracts and assist our large business colleagues in meeting their small business subcontracting goals on federal full and open procurements.
We qualify as a Federal Small Business for the following NAICS Code categories:

Core Services:

541620              Environmental Consulting Services
541690              Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
541720              Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities
541990              All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
562910 (1)        Remediation Services
562910 (2)        Environmental Remediation Services

Ancillary Services 

541330              Engineering Services
541360              Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services
541370              Surveying and Mapping (except Geophysical) Services
541511              Custom Computer Programming Services
541513              Computer Facilities Management Services
813312              Environment, Conservation and Wildlife
For more information, contact  Kathy Kondor  at (714) 648-0630
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ECORP Staff Recently Featured on the Front Page of the Wandering Tattler, the Sea and Sage Audubon Society’s Monthly Newsletter

Christine Tischer, Senior Biologist, has been managing the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary’s tree swallow nestbox program since 1999. Although tree swallows are not a special-status species, they are a migratory bird species protected by the  Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The breeding bird survey found that this species was down to less than a handful of breeding pa irs in Orange County during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Tree swallows and western bluebirds were on the decline due to the shortage of natural cavities and competition for nest sites by non-native European starlings and house sparrows. A handful of nestboxes were installed by the Irvine Ranch Water District, with assistance from Sea and Sage Audubon, in the late 1990s.
Beginning with just eight volunteers, Christine oversaw the weekly scheduling of volunteers (including herself) ,  determined monitoring protocol, managed the data that were collected, defended the boxes from parasites and predators, and  readied the boxes for subsequent nestings once the chicks fledged. She took the initiative to contact a Master Bander and learned how to band tree swallows and eventually earned her in dividual banding permit.
Eighteen years later, Christine is still managing the program which has grown to 105 boxes and a group of 20 vol unteers and is now a registered site with Cornell University’s Golondrinas de las Americas international program. Christine is proud to be a part of this citizen science program that has successfully brought back the tree swallow as an Orange County breeding bird species.
For more information, contact Christine Tischer at (714) 648-0630.
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ECORP Hosts the Desert Tortoise Council Board of Directors’ Meeting

ECORP’s Redlands office recently hosted the Board of Directors of the Desert Tortoise Council (DTC) for one of their regular board meetings. The DTC was established in 1975 to promote conservation of the desert tortoise in the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. The non-profit organization comprises hundreds of professionals and laypersons who share a common concern for desert tortoises in the wild and a commitment to advancing the public’s understanding of the species.
The DTC provides training courses, awards grants for students and professionals doing research on desert tortoises, and comments on projects that affect desert tortoises and their habitats. In addition, the DTC puts on an annual symposium that brings together researchers, environmental professionals, government entities, students, and non-profit organizations to provide updates on the status of the species, habitat condition, health concerns, and conservation efforts. To find out more or to become a member of the DTC, visit their website at:
For more information, contact Mari Quillman at (714) 222-5932.
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