ECORP’s 20 Permitted Biologists are Ready for Shrimp Survey Season Statewide!

Fairy shrimp and tadpole shrimp occur within ephemeral pools and wetlands. Many of the shrimp species found in California are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Shrimp eggs/cysts lie dormant in seasonal pools during the dry months and hatch once the wetlands become ponded from winter rains.

Surveys for these species must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and conducted by a qualified/permitted biologist. ECORP biologists have extensive experience identifying and working with these organisms and are permitted by the USFWS to conduct both wet and dry season surveys, which constitutes a complete survey pursuant to USFWS guidelines. ECORP is one of only a small number of firms with permitted biologists authorized for dry season sampling in California and has 20 biologists permitted for large branchiopod wet season sampling in our Rocklin, Redlands, Santa Ana, and San Diego offices. ECORP conducts these surveys to support  federal Endangered Species Act Section 7 and Section 10 Consultations, and the results of these surveys are often used to substantially reduce the time needed for permit authorizations and the cost of mitigation. As winter rains are approaching, now is the time to schedule surveys for listed shrimp. This winter’s survey “window” is almost upon us and there is still time to schedule dry season surveys, so don’t delay.

If you have questions or would like to discuss whether conducting surveys may be right for your project, please contact  Peter Balfour at (916) 782-9100 (Northern/Central California) or Kristen Wasz at (909) 307-0046 (Southern California).
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ECORP Advances in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program

UAS 1ECORP Consulting, Inc. is continuing to advance the capabilities of our unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program and have expanded to offer new ecological services to our clients. We have recorded over 80 flight missions since the beginning of the rainy season, mapping large projects in the greater Sacramento area. Our clients have been very pleased with the results, with aerial mapping resolution far superior to publically available source imagery.

We have also streamlined our UAS survey protocol and are capable of mapping over 600 acres in a single day at a resolution of 2” per pixel. For more targeted surveys, aerial photography can be collected at an even finer resolution of up to 0.2” per pixel. UAS 2With daylight hours continuing to lengthen, the daily acreage and resolution we are able to achieve will continue to increase in the coming months. 

We have utilized this new tool to map wetlands and hydrologic episodes during this unprecedented water year, especially in northern California. Our ability to rapidly mobilize following storm events has allowed us to document significant fluctuations in water features and monitor them as they return to baseline conditions. This has created data which can be used in hydrology studies and for mapping jurisdictional wetland features. Capturing maximum inundation is particularly helpful for mapping the extent of flooding or even monitoring the success of created or preserved wetlands.

UAS 3ECORP’s UAS data has also been useful for our clients looking to document erosion and sediment issues. For instance, the fine lines left after rainfall events can signal where erosion is taking place, aiding efforts  in identifying problem areas scattered over large acreages.

We have found our capacity to capture ultra HD 4K video to be a valuable tool as well. These videos can quickly provide an overview of a property or specific features, which we can deliver to our clients on the day they are recorded. This has allowed us to work with landowners and property managers to refine our survey efforts and to repeatedly sample and monitor areas of concern.

Looking ahead, we are excited to use our new UAS capabilities for the upcoming spring as plants begin to bloom. For example, there are currently several invasive plants flowering, such as black mustard, that lend themselves to aerial mapping which can assist in the management of these populations.  In addition, floral signatures can assist in vegetation community mapping efforts. We are offering these services to our clients in the coming months as more plant species enter their blooming periods.

We are also utilizing these tools to conduct vegetation and tree canopy mapping more accurately and efficiently. As we enter the warmer and brighter spring months, we will continue to discover new applications for this emerging technology and are eager to work with you to meet your aerial mapping, photography, and videography needs.

For more information contact Dave Krolick at (916) 782-9100.

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Chico – New Office, New Staff, New Services!

ECORP has expanded and opened a new office in the city of Chico, California. Our wide range of environmental services now includes noise monitoring and analysis, and air quality and greenhouse gas emissions modeling. Our new staff bring experience with projects ranging from the processing of site plan, land division, and design review applications; land use and zone change projects; and management and primary authorship of numerous General Plans, Specific Plans, and City Codes.

ECORP will continue to provide our full spectrum of existing services from the Chico office, which include cultural and biological resources, and the preparation of environmental documents that comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Chico 1

Chico office address: 

ECORP Consulting, Inc.
55 Hanover Lane, Suite A
Chico, CA 95973
Phone: (530) 809-2585
Fax: (530) 809-4149

Meet the Chico Staff!

Scott Friend, AICP

Chico 2

ECORP welcomes Scott Friend as a senior member of the ECORP team in the service areas of land use planning and environmental analysis.  Scott oversees the activities and staff of ECORP’s Chico office with a practice-area focus on the northern California area. He oversees all work in the office and provides senior-level planning, environmental, contract staffing, and project management services. He has professional planning experience in both local government planning and private sector consulting and has managed numerous public and private sector programs.

For more than 20 years, Scott has enhanced his local government experience in both current and advance planning, including serving as a contract staff planner/department director for various northern California counties, cities, and towns. Scott’s professional background includes projects ranging from the processing of site plan, land division, and design review applications; land use and zone change projects; preparation and management of annexation requests; management and primary authorship of numerous General Plans, Specific Plans, and City Codes; preparation of all types of environmental analysis documents for both CEQA and NEPA projects; and, oversight, management, and operations of public agency and private sector organizations.  Primary clients have included private land owner and land development interests, public planning agencies, school districts, local agency formation commissions, and special districts.

Seth Myers

Chico 3

With 11 years of experience as an environmental planner and air quality/noise analyst, Seth is involved in the preparation of a full range of CEQA and NEPA environmental compliance and review documents, including environmental impact reports. He has extensive expertise conducting air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise analyses and has a comprehensive working knowledge of the associated regulatory environment. He is proficient in the use of CalEEMod, EMFAC2014, AERMOD, the Roadway Construction Model, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Traffic Noise Prediction Model, and other industry standard emissions and noise modeling tools. In addition, Seth prepares implementation documents and programs such as zoning ordinance updates, design review programs, and planning program guidelines. As a certified arborist (ISA #WE-7501A), he also provides landscape and irrigation plan review for development and public works projects.

Mike Martin

Chico 4As a project manager and assistant project manager with 15 years of experience, Mike has completed environmental impact reports for large-scale residential developments, multi-use developments, commercial developments, and general plan updates. In addition, he has written numerous initial studies/negative declarations for a variety of development types. He has also provided contract planning staff for various jurisdictions in northern California and has written zoning code and subdivision code updates, municipal service reviews, development impact fee updates, housing elements, and general plan updates. Mike joins ECORP to bring his expertise in environmental planning, policy document preparation, and contract planning services for client agencies.

For more information about our new services, staff, and location, please contact Scott Friend at (530) 809-2585.

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2017 Desert Tortoise Symposium

tortoise 1This year marked the 42nd Annual Symposium held in Las Vegas, Nevada by the Desert Tortoise Council (DTC). The DTC is at the forefront promoting conservation of the desert tortoise in the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. For the purposes of the DTC, the term “desert tortoise” includes the species complex in the southwestern United States and in Mexico, currently referred to as Gopherus agassizii, Gopherus evgoodei, and Gopherus morafkai.

tortoise 2

ECORP was one of the sponsors of the symposium again this year with biologists Mari Quillman and David Carr in attendance. Both David and Mari volunteered to provide onsite support during the entire symposium.

The symposium brings together public and private entities in engaging ways. This year the symposium covered a number of topics, including:

  • Recovery actions for desert tortoise by federal and state agencies and non-profit organizations;
  • Research and conservation on Morafka’s (Sonoran) desert tortoise, as well as Bolson and thornscrub tortoises;
  • Mule and white-tailed deer in deserts: science and conservation challenges; and
  • Renewable energy development.

Please contact Mari Quillman or David Carr at (714) 648-0630 to help answer questions about conservation and management of desert tortoise and associated habitats.

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Todd Chapman Awarded the 2017 AIFRB Distinguished Service Award

todd-chapmanTodd Chapman, ECORP’s Southern California Aquatic Resources Group Manager, has been honored with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award from the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists (AIFRB) for his achievement in building existing and new membership. The award was presented at the Southern California District Business meeting on April 13, 2017, at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.

His current research interests include the ecology and habitat associations of nearshore marine fishes and the competitive interactions between sensitive freshwater fishes and non-native invasive species. In 1994, while still enrolled as a Marine Biology student at California State University, Long Beach, he began attending district meetings of AIFRB. The Institute is a professional organization established to promote conservation and proper utilization of fishery resources through the use of fisheries science and related sciences. The role of the Institute is to enhance the professional development and performance of its members and recognize their achievements. This goal is pursued by advancing the theory, practice, and application of fishery biology and fishery-related sciences.

Todd was promoted to full member status in 2006 and has been an active member of the southern California district of AIFRB for the past 11 years. Over the course of his membership he has participated in the judging of student papers for AIFRB-sponsored awards at numerous Southern California Academy of Sciences (SCAS) and California/Nevada Chapter of American Fisheries Society (AFS) meetings, and has played an active role in the planning and coordination of events and meetings held by the Southern California District of AIFRB.

In 2014, he was nominated to fill the position of National Membership Committee Chair, where he assists students and domestic and international fisheries biology applicants in obtaining membership in the Institute. As the Committee Chair, he coordinates all membership application requests, facilitates all interactions between the membership committee and the AIFRB Board of Directors, assists with the maintenance of the membership database, and delivers all membership diplomas and informational packets to successful applicants. Since attaining this position as membership committee chair, he has become an active participant on the Board and has spearheaded several membership-driven efforts focused on membership retention, student promotion, and new member recruitment within the Institute.  His efforts have assisted the Institute in gaining new members to a level not realized since the mid-1980s and promotion of existing membership at the highest levels since the mid-1990s. During his tenure at AIFRB there has been international membership interest from fisheries professionals in numerous countries including Bangladesh, India, Italy, Nigeria, and Sweden.

For more information contact Todd Chapman at (714) 648-0630.

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Securing New Water Supplies – Proving Availability is the Key

As part of a water rights application, the applicant is required by the California Water Code Section 1260(k) to perform a Water Availability Analysis (WAA), to include “sufficient information to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood that unappropriated water is available for appropriation.”  In addition, before the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) can grant a water rights permit, it must find that there is “unappropriated water available to supply the applicant” as outlined in Water Code Section 1375(d).

ECORP has a long and successful record of developing WAAs in support of SWRCB-compliant water rights applications for submittal as evidence to the SWRCB. Each WAA is tailored to best uphold project objectives and includes a detailed description of the quantities, rates, timing, and frequency of water requested from sources to meet demands, and a technical evaluation to determine if there is a reasonable likelihood that unappropriated water is available for appropriation sought under the application.

We use a variety of approaches and methods to evaluate unappropriated water within a watershed with special care in appraising water right priorities. We determine the impaired and unimpaired streamflow over a study period by evaluating effects resulting from higher priority direct diversion and storage water rights, and instream flow requirements. WAAs include an estimation of water supply available in differing water year types (wet, average, and dry).  A comparison of supply and demand for the study period will be completed to verify that water is available under the application for appropriation.


If you have questions or would like to discuss a Water Availability Analysis, please contact Michael J. Preszler, California Water Practice Leader, at (916) 782-9100.

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Needlegrass Mitigation Experts at ECORP Can Help with New Requirements

What is Valley needlegrass grassland, and why are agencies interested in conserving it?



A Stand of Native Needlegrass Grassland

Throughout California, native grasslands are estimated to provide habitat for 90% of the state’s rare and endangered species. Prior to European colonization, native needlegrass species (such as purple needlegrass, nodding needlegrass, and foothill needlegrass) dominated the Central Valley; today, less than 1% of former Valley needlegrass grasslands remain. Mature needlegrasses have been found to live up to a century and can have roots up to 20 feet deep. The deep roots of these species contribute to erosion control, water infiltration, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. Unlike nonnative annual grasses that now dominate the landscape, needlegrasses grow in bunches, leaving empty spaces in-between where native wildflowers flourish.

Impacts to Valley needlegrass grassland often require mitigation
On occasion, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is requiring mitigation plans for the preservation and restoration of Valley needlegrass grassland as a component of permitting. Valley needlegrass grassland mitigation plans may also be required during the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.


Young Purple Needlegrass Bunches

In addition, general erosion control and restoration plans required for many projects can be tailored towards the goal of restoring Valley needlegrass grassland. ECORP has experienced staff biologists to handle needlegrass mitigation requirements; for example, ECORP biologist Taraneh Emam recently published a peer-reviewed research article discussing needlegrass restoration methods in the journal Restoration Ecology. ECORP is currently preparing Valley needlegrass grassland mitigation and restoration plans for projects within the 3,500-acre Folsom Plan Area Specific Plan.

ECORP’s New Services


Flowering Purple Needlegrass

ECORP now provides services related to Valley needlegrass grassland mitigation, from the initial stages of field surveys and impact assessments through the preparation of mitigation and restoration plans. Mitigation measures often place an emphasis on using locally collected seed, and collection of seed from impact areas both conserves needlegrass diversity and helps increase the likelihood of successful restoration. Therefore, to support Valley needlegrass mitigation, ECORP is now offering the service of needlegrass seed collection from project impact areas for use during restoration.

Please contact Taraneh Emam at (916) 782-9100 (Northern California), or Josh Corona-Bennett at (858) 279-4040 (Southern California) for more information on Valley needlegrass mitigation requirements and strategies.

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