ECORP Consulting's mission is to consistently deliver high-quality environmental consulting services through outstanding science and timely, creative solutions for our clients, while providing an excellent work environment for our staff.
ECORP is a leader in cultural resources management throughout California and the West. Over the past year, ECORP’s Cultural Resources Department has expanded services to include underwater archaeology for the management of pre-contact (prehistoric) and historic-period cultural resources in marine and freshwater environments in Southern California. Our expanded services allow our underwater archaeologists to coordinate with divers from our Biological Resources Department and Dive Safety Team to provide comprehensive support to agencies and private clients for the management of aquatic resources across multiple disciplines. Recently, ECORP has welcomed Senior Archaeologist Brian S. Marks, Ph.D., RPA to the team. Dr. Marks will work as a member of our Cultural Resources Department in Rocklin and has expanded our team’s capabilities for both terrestrial and underwater archaeology projects. ECORP now offers underwater archaeology services in both Northern and Southern California!
Dr. Marks came to ECORP with a background in submerged pre-contact archaeology, a disciplinary specialization with distinct focus on how rising sea levels, meandering rivers, glacial subsidence, and even artificial lakes change our landscape and interact with pre-contact archaeological sites. Dr. Marks achieved certification as an American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diver in 1997 to enable his direction of underwater projects. Dr. Marks has conducted underwater archaeological studies searching for, investigating, and/or evaluating submerged pre-contact and historic-period sites in California, Washington, Florida, Georgia, and Michigan. Dr. Marks has experience conducting and interpreting remote sensing data (side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler, and magnetometer) as a component of surveys for submerged artifacts and features. With the large number of artificial lakes in California constructed in the mid-20th century, many Native American sites, along with historic-era towns were inundated. These submerged resources offer windows into the past that often move our knowledge beyond what is known from terrestrial archaeological deposits. ECORP’s ability to provide scientific diving specific to cultural resources allows us to support lake, riverine, and coastal projects with underwater components.
To discuss your project in relation to the management of underwater cultural resources, please contact John O’Connor at (858) 279-4040.
ECORP staff members are excited to support the 2021 AEP conference in Long Beach, which will be held both in-person and virtually from August 15 to 18, 2021. The conference will open with the AEP Jam Band performing at the Opening Reception led by our own Chris Stabenfeldt.
On Monday, Anne Surdzial and John O’Connor will be providing their expertise as CEQA practitioner and archaeologist at the panel Native American Consultation: Lessons Learned, as part of a panel with public agency, law firm, and tribal perspectives. Lisa Westwood will moderate the panel. Anne Surdzial was also a member of the AEP Awards Jury for the 7th time in 2021, and awards will be presented on Monday night.
ECORP is notifying its clients that the Army Corps of Engineers has reissued 12 Nationwide Permits (NWPs) and issued four new NWPs. The Nationwide Permit Program is a set of general permits that allow a streamlined process for permitting of minimal impacts under Clean Water Act Section 404. The reissued and new NWPs went into effect on March 15, 2021.
The USACE has stated that changes to the NWPs are expected to decrease the paperwork burden associated with pre-construction notifications by not only decreasing the number of notifications required before work starts, but also decreasing the number of activities that require individual permits.
NWPs issued under the 2021 program will be valid until March 2026. NWPs that were issued for projects under the 2017 program, but were not among the 12 reissued, will expire in March 2022. If your project was issued a 2017 NWP that is among the 12 NWPs to be reissued, please contact ECORP for assistance to ensure compliance with the reissued permits.
The following NWPs were reissued with revisions:
NWP 12 – Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities
NWP 21 – Surface Coal Mining Activities
NWP 29 – Residential Developments
NWP 39 – Commercial and Institutional Developments
NWP 51 – Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Facilities
NWP 52 – Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects
Below is a summary of the most noteworthy changes to the reissued NWPs:
NWP 12, which previously permitted utility lines, has been split into three separate NWPs – NWP 12 (Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Activities), NWP 57 (Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities), and NWP 58 (Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances). Pre-Construction Notifications are now required for new oil or natural gas pipelines more than 250 miles in length.
The 300-linear-foot limit for losses of streambed has been removed for several NWPs, including NWPs for Residential Developments, Commercial and Institutional Developments, and Recreational Facilities (29, 39, and 42); Agricultural Activities (40); NWPs pertaining to Mining Activities (21, 44, and 50); and NWPs pertaining to Renewable Energy (51 and 52). The ½-acre limit on impacts remains where previously applied.
Within NWP 48 (Commercial Shellfish Mariculture Activities), the ½-acre limit for impacts to submerged aquatic vegetation was removed, and a pre-construction notification requirement was added.
The four new NWPs issued are:
NWP 55 – Seaweed Mariculture Activities
NWP 56 – Finfish Mariculture Activities
NWP 57 – Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities
NWP 58 – Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances
In addition to providing biological services, including surveys for wildlife and vegetation, construction monitoring, and restoration monitoring, ECORP provides assistance with conservation certification programs for clients who have an interest in voluntarily implementing broad-based biodiversity enhancement and conservation education activities on their landholdings.
Since 2008, ECORP has provided application preparation assistance and long-term planning for the certification of Vulcan Materials Company’s Azusa Rock Quarry through the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. WHC certification gives recognition to efforts aimed at conserving native habitat and biodiversity that exceed mitigation measures and regulatory requirements. WHC’s stated mission is “The Wildlife Habitat Council promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education.” ECORP identified several opportunities for conservation projects at the Azusa Rock Quarry involving their restoration work and helped Vulcan perform the projects that earned the Azusa Rock Quarry WHC’s certification.
In 2016, the WHC redefined their certification programs, originally called “Wildlife at Work” and “Corporate Lands for Learning” and switched to their “Conservation Certification” program. WHC explains “Conservation Certification is more than just a certification. It’s a continual process by which activities are maintained to offer ongoing benefit to biodiversity and people.”
Under the Conservation Certification, ECORP adapted Azusa Rock’s program to fit the new system’s criteria, and the program has been Certified Silver since 2016. WHC’s certification tiers include certified, certified silver, and certified gold, with gold being the highest-ranking tier. In 2019, with ECORP’s involvement one of the Azusa Rock projects, the East Side Reclamation, was awarded the “Other Habitats” Award and was also featured in the WHC’s white paper for 2019.
ECORP continues to offer consulting and long-term planning services for the Azusa Rock Quarry to ensure the projects are on track to meet the WHC’s criteria each certification term and to ensure the quarry maintains its commitment to biological diversity and native habitat conservation as well as its conservation certification status.
ECORP is pleased to announce that Mari Quillman, Principal Biological Resources Program Manager in ECORP’s Santa Ana, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico offices, was awarded the Desert Tortoise Council’s (Council) Glenn R. Stewart Service Award at the 2021 Annual Symposium in February.
This award recognizes a member of the Desert Tortoise Council or an organization that has demonstrated a continuing commitment to the goals and objectives of the Desert Tortoise Council and/or has served with distinction in various roles. Ms. Quillman joined the Board of the Council in 2013 as a volunteer to aid in the Council’s efforts to conserve tortoises and tortoise habitats throughout the range of the desert tortoise. She was appointed to the empty Board position of Membership Coordinator in 2014. Since that time, she spearheaded the implementation of a new membership database, worked to increase membership in the Council, and regularly communicates with members regarding workshops, annual symposia, and general announcements. Starting in 2014, Ms. Quillman also took on the daunting task of instituting a raffle and auction at the annual symposia and enlisting sponsors to help defray the costs associated with putting on the symposia.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person symposium in 2021 was not possible so the Council teamed with the Turtle Survival Alliance to put on a virtual symposium. Ms. Quillman took the lead for the Council, enlisted a team of Board Members and volunteers to implement all supporting tasks, and worked closely with the Turtle Survival Alliance to successfully put on the virtual symposium. In addition, she enlisted nineteen sponsors for 2021 who contributed almost $13,000 towards the symposium and organized the raffle so the attendees could compete for some great prizes. She will become the Council’s Board Chairman in 2022.
The Council is very appreciative of Ms. Quillman’s dedication and efforts towards implementing the Council’s mission.
Each year Sea and Sage Audubon Conservation proudly takes the opportunity to recognize individuals from our community that have done something noteworthy and special for the protection of birds or their habitats.
ECORP is happy to announce that Christine Tischer, Senior Biologist/Project Manager, was recognized by Sea and Sage Audubon Conservation for her sustained time, effort, and energy over 20 years to provide a program that has ensured a successful breeding tree swallow population in Orange County.
Sea and Sage Conservation commends Christine for her high level of commitment and the skill she brings to the project. Under her guidance, the San Joaquin Marsh Tree Swallow Nest Box Program has been transformed from a weekly monitoring program that began in 2000, to an accomplished banding and Community Science Program.
A Letter of Commendation was officially presented to Christine at this year’s Virtual Annual Dinner on March 19, 2021.
Western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis) is a neotropical migratory bird that winters in South America and breeds in the western U.S. and Mexico. Their breeding range includes California where they nest exclusively in riparian woodland, especially that of cottonwood-willow. Western yellow-billed cuckoo is listed under the Endangered Species Act as endangered and under the California Endangered Species Act as threatened. Surveys must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and conducted by a qualified and permitted biologist.
ECORP has experienced biologists with the necessary permits and state authorizations to conduct protocol-level surveys for Western yellow-billed cuckoo.
If you have questions or would like to discuss whether conducting surveys may be right for your project, please contact Don Mitchellat (909) 307-0046.
In September 2020, the state legislature passed two bills that impose new tribal consultation requirements on projects that were not subject to SB 18 or AB 52. These include:
· AB 1561, which extends the 30-day response windows for tribes under AB 52 only for very low-, low-, or moderate-income housing development projects for which applications were determined or deemed complete on or after March 4, 2020 to December 31, 2021; and
· AB 168, which creates a new AB 52-like “scoping consultation” process after a notice of intent to file an application under the state’s new SB 35 streamlined, ministerial approval process for low and moderate income housing is received by a local agency, but before the actual application is filed and processed.
For more information on how these bills may affect your project, please contact Lisa Westwood at (916) 782-9100.
ECORP feels fortunate to continue to be able to steadily increase our staff through this past year. Here are some highlights of staff who have joined ECORP since the middle of 2020.
Michael Richards, M.A., RPA – Senior Archaeologist, Redlands Office
Mr. Richards is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with over 26 years of cultural resources management experience in southern California and Arizona. He meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for prehistoric and historic archaeologist. Mr. Richards has directed and participated in numerous and varied California and Arizona studies that included field survey, testing, data recovery, analyses, mitigation measures, and providing recommendations for the National Register of Historic Places. He is experienced in the organization and execution of field projects in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA and CEQA. Mr. Richards serves as a Project Manager, Cultural Resources Task Manager, and Field Director for ECORP’s southern California projects.
Nicholas Bizzell – Associate Archaeologist, Santa Ana Office
Mr. Bizzell is an Associate Archaeologist with over 10 years of experience in cultural resources management. Mr. Bizzell has participated in numerous archaeological projects throughout the State of California, experience that includes working with clients in both public and private sectors. Mr. Bizzell has substantial archaeological experience with cultural resources monitoring, inventory surveys, excavation and subsurface testing, and laboratory analysis for projects in northern and southern California. Additionally, Mr. Bizzell is cross trained as a paleontological monitor for projects requiring both archaeological and paleontological monitoring.
Stacie Tennant – Senior Wildlife Biologist/Project Manager, Santa Ana Office
Ms. Tennant has over 24 years of experience processing resource agency permits and authoring and managing the preparation of environmental documents for transportation, water, electric utilities, planning, and development projects throughout southern California. She has extensive experience in conducting and coordinating sensitive-species surveys; focused surveys for Threatened/Endangered plant and wildlife species; reconnaissance surveys; and habitat evaluations for Endangered, Threatened, and sensitive floral and faunal species. She has authored and managed the development of biological resources sections of numerous Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), Biological Technical Reports, Biological Assessments (pursuant to Section 7 consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]), Natural Environment Studies (NESs) (pursuant to California Department of Transportation [Caltrans] guidelines), focused surveys for sensitive species, tree reports, resource management plans, mitigation monitoring reports, Habitat Assessments and Determination of Biologically Equivalent or Superior Preservation (DBESP) Reports for the Western Riverside County MSHCP, and general biological assessments and constraints analyses. She is experienced at implementation of field programs to track, report, and support compliance requirements and mitigation measures. Ms. Tennant has worked with a diverse range of clients, assisting them with navigating often complex projects and identifying creative solutions to assist in the protection of biological resources.
James McLaughlin – Staff Environmental Planner, Rocklin Office
Mr. McLaughlin is a Staff Environmental Planner with more than 25 years of professional experience in environmental planning, technical report preparation, and regulatory compliance, including more than 7 years of project management. His expertise is in environmental project management of transportation, utility and water infrastructure, trails, and development projects throughout California. He has prepared multiple CEQA and NEPA documents involving coordination of multi-disciplinary technical studies and project teams, and prepared environmental permits to comply with local, regional, state, and federal regulations. His past project experience also includes CEQA and permit mitigation monitoring, Phase I and II environmental site assessments, hazardous materials and waste inspections and permitting, and obtaining CEQA and other environmental compliance for fire fuel breaks and landscape irrigation projects for State bond-funded projects performed by the California Conservation Corps.
William Duvall – Senior Air Quality/GHG/Noise Analyst, San Diego Office
With over 13 years of experience, Mr. Duvall joined the ECORP air quality practice in the San Diego office at the beginning of March this year. After obtaining his B.S. from SDSU in Environmental Engineering he began working on a variety of air quality and energy projects for clients ranging from manufacturing facilities to large utilities and government agencies. Prior to coming aboard at ECORP Will was spending the bulk of his time managing ambient air quality network operations and maintenance for the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Hueneme. He specializes in complex solutions for air quality and meteorological data collection and management for permitting, planning, and public relations applications.
ECORP was recently awarded a merit award by the AEP for the Antelope Valley Research Design. This document, prepared in collaboration with Caltrans District 7, a team of experts in archaeological subdisciplines, and local Native American communities, is a regional historical context that is designed to help guide investigations of Native American archaeological resources in the Antelope Valley region of southeastern California. The Study Area for the Research Design covers 5,202.72 square kilometers (2,008.78 square miles) and includes the entirety of the V-shaped Antelope Valley.
The Research Design presents research themes, research questions, and data needs to help guide archaeological investigations in the region. It includes background information on topography, geology, hydrography, climate, vegetation, fauna, chronology, ethnohistory, previous archaeological investigations, geoarchaeology, and theoretical perspectives for interpreting cultural behavior. The Research Design explores research themes including discussions of paleoenvironmental reconstruction, settlement systems, subsistence, exchange and conveyance, lithic technology, lithic sources, population movements, and social differentiation. Research questions and the kinds of data necessary to address those questions are provided for each theme.