Biological Assessment and Impact Analysis
Endangered and Special Status Species Surveys
Regulatory Compliance
Permitting
Habitat Management and Mitigation Planning
Construction and Mitigation Monitoring

Biological Assessment and Impact Analysis

Live Oak Associates is a leader in preparing biological assessments for environmental impact reports (EIRs) and environmental impact statements (EISs) in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). LOA's primary goal is to produce a scientifically credible and defendable document for the lead agency.

Our biological assessment process begins by ascertaining whether or not the applicant has collected sufficient information to judge the presence or absence of the relevant sensitive biotic resources that are known to occur regionally. We then recommend additional surveys where sufficient information is lacking to adequately evaluate the effects of the project. Once existing site conditions and impacts have been adequately assessed, our staff will propose mitigations to reduce the impacts to a less-than-significant level.

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Endangered and Special Status Species Surveys

Live Oak Associates is a leader in recovering federally- and state-listed endangered and threatened species. has conducted specific surveys and/or developed mitigation plans for threatened or endangered species on numerous projects. Many of our staff are recognized experts in their respective fields. Some of the listed or special status species involved have included the burrowing owl, San Joaquin kit fox, Bay checkerspot butterfly, steelhead trout, and San Joaquin adobe sunburst. Our firm also assists clients with obtaining incidental "take" permits via both Section 7 and 10(a) of the Federal Endangered Species Act and has prepared numerous Biological Assessments in support of Section 7 incidental take permits.

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Regulatory Compliance

In compliance with the Clean Water Act mandate to restore and maintain the biological integrity of streams and lakes, LOA has helped clients in Madera County to focus their stream quality assessments using California bioassessment procedures developed by the U.S. EPA and the California department of fish and game. Nearly all the CEQA work involves the assessment of project impacts to jurisdictional waters at a reconnaissance level at the very least. LOA has prepared numerous detailed wetland delineations at a level of detail sufficient for verification by the regulatory agencies. The firm has also assisted numerous clients in securing the necessary permits and/or letters of approval to construct projects involving wetland impacts.

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Permitting

The Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, California Fish and Game Code, and other federal and state laws are designed to regulate activities affecting plants and wildlife, their habitats, and other natural resources. These regulations often prohibit activities adversely impacting these resources unless authorized by a permit from the designated regulatory agency.

LOA specializes in preparing permit applications and securing agency permits, including, but not limited to:

  • Clean Water Act Section 404 nationwide and individual wetlands permits (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
  • Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certifications (Regional Water Quality Control Board)
  • Sections 7 and 10(a) incidental take permits and Habitat Conservation Plans (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Streambed Alteration Agreements (California Fish and Game Code Sections 1601 and 1602)

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Habitat Management and Mitigation Planning

LOA has prepared conceptual habitat management plans and mitigation plans for a variety of projects involving impacts to wetlands, lentic and lotic systems, and endangered species. Some of these plans have a mitigation monitoring component of which LOA is the prime consultant for the monitoring. The firm is currently in the process of setting up mitigation banks in Madera, Merced, and Fresno Counties that will eventually protect sensitive biotic habitats, while providing mitigation credits to local developers. These banks involve both the baseline studies necessary to document the biotic resources present and a habitat management plan that maximizes the credit available for sale. The firm works closely with state and federal resource agency personnel in the creation of these plans.

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Construction and Mitigation Monitoring

LOA has conducted pre-construction surveys and provided construction monitoring for a variety of projects involving listed or special status species and sensitive habitats. Some of the listed or special-status species involved are listed above under Compliance with state and Federal Endangered Species Acts. Our staff has undergone extensive in-house training to ensure that project applicants stay in compliance with all of the requirements of their permits or conditions of approval. Our goals during these efforts are to work with the applicant so that the project can be constructed in a timely fashion and at the same time observe all of the relevant permit conditions.

LOA has prepared numerous mitigation and monitoring plans for evaluating the success of mitigations to sensitive habitats and special-status plant and animal species. Our primary goal in developing these M&M plans is to ensure that the mitigations as outlined in a CEQA/NEPA document, conditions of approval or permit conditions are properly constructed. As with most documents in this field, it is important to develop a clear objective and understanding of the purpose of the mitigation. One of the more typically problems with mitigations is that the success criteria in the M&M Plan does not match the goals or objectives of stated in the M&M. The key is to develop thoughtful success criteria that adequately and appropriately judge the success of the mitigation without collecting unnecessary or additional data that does little to evaluate stated goals. Typically, M&M Plans will identify the location of the mitigation, the time of year for construction, preparation of the site, the vegetation to be installed (if relevant), the success criteria, both short-term and long-term management of the site and identify appropriate remediation or contingency plans should the success criteria fail.

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Last updated
Friday, 31-Jan-2014 14:07