Eco-Sciences™ is a highly focused practice within O’Brien & Gere providing total ecological solutions through strategic planning, design, and implementation. Services extend across all project phases, from biological studies and wetland mitigation banking, to remedial engineering and post-construction monitoring. Clients rely on this team for ecological solutions ranging from stream and wetland restoration to ecological risk assessment and ecotoxicology, saving millions of dollars in cleanup and restoration.
Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast Oil Spill Response
O’Brien & Gere is providing regulatory compliance services to support oil cleanup and wildlife recovery operations following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The project team was initially positioned at the Mobile, AL command center, the headquarters for response functions for the U.S. Coast Guard Command Sector Mobile, made-up of the Alabama, Mississippi, and West Florida coasts. In the fast paced, dynamic environment of an emergency response, O’Brien & Gere recognized the need for and initiated a natural resource advisor (NRA) program to train and deploy more than 70 biologists and life scientists. These NRAs assist cleanup crews and provide scientific knowledge and guidance, while assuring environmental diligence to further guide cleanup activities in an environmentally responsible manner.
Gulf of Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Florida
Reconnaissance of beach areas and distressed wildlife, NRA program created for life scientists/biologists, and provided a supervisor to train the surface cleanup team.
Eco-science: Cornell University – Wetland Delineation and Ecological Assessment
O’Brien & Gere performed a wetland delineation and ecological resource assessment for Cornell University at the proposed 12-acre Wilson Laboratory Energy Recovery Linac facility expansion site. Due to expected disturbances from the expansion, the University planned an assessment of potential impacts to ecological resources in the area. The project goal was to identify and delineate wetlands and the potential habitat of rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species. The resulting information would be incorporated into an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project, prepared by the University.
Advanced the schedule in support of a key capital research expansion project, while protecting environmental resources.
Eco-Science: University at Albany, SUNY – Construction Stormwater Monitoring
The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) constructed a new housing development on the University at Albany, SUNY Uptown Campus. Facilities include two 5-story dormitories, a relocated access road, parking lots, stormwater management facilities, and associated appurtenances on approximately 28 acres in the southeast portion of the Uptown Campus. O’Brien & Gere performed periodic stormwater inspections of the project site during earthwork activities in accordance with Permit No. GP-0-10-001. Inspections were performed by qualified inspectors, as defined in the Permit, with the objective of maintaining stormwater control measures to avoid impacts.
Inspections are intended to ensure that the erosion and sediment control practices are properly installed and being maintained in accordance with the site’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
Eco-Science: University at Albany, SUNY – Wetland and Habitat Delineation Services
The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) constructed a new housing development on the University at Albany, SUNY Uptown Campus. Facilities include two 5-story dormitories, a relocated access road, parking lots, stormwater management facilities, and associated appurtenances on approximately 28 acres in the southeast portion of the Uptown Campus. O’Brien & Gere performed wetland delineation and a habitat assessment related to potential rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species present in the development area. The University submitted the Pre-Construction Notification and Joint Application for Permit, prepared by O’Brien & Gere, to the USACE and the NYSDEC seeking authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. O’Brien & Gere will monitor the wetland mitigation areas for a five-year period following construction to compare observed field conditions with performance standards established in its compensatory mitigation plan.
The services related to wetlands and ecological habitat helped to preserve natural resources that are critical elements of the character of the Uptown Campus.
Former American Cyanamid Site Remediation
The primary focus of activities at the site has been the investigation and remediation of areas of waste residuals. O’Brien & Gere has performed investigation, design, and remedial activities at the site under the regulatory requirements of a US EPA Region II-lead Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) closure program. Additional activities conducted by O’Brien & Gere have been in support of ecosystem restoration and risk assessment, including biological assessment of fish and wildlife and environmental restoration. Tasks have included: preliminary surveys, agency coordination, toxicity testing, aquatic community assessment, wetland delineation and permitting, endangered species surveys, population studies, habitat evaluation, and habitat site mapping.
Bridgewater Township, NJ
Investigation and remediation; preliminary surveys, agency coordination, toxixity testing, aquatic community assesment, wetland delineation, permitting, endangered species surveys, population studies, habitat evaluation, and site mapping.
Natural Gas Pipeline Invasive Species Survey
Dominion Transmission, Inc. proposed to construct, operate, and maintain a 24-inch pipeline for the transmission of natural gas. This continuous pipeline traverses public and private land, including 39 miles of Right-of-Way (ROW) maintained as State Forest by the Pennsylvania State Bureau of Forestry (BOF).
To comply with the requirements of the BOF, O’Brien & Gere conducted a pre-construction inventory of invasive plants to determine appropriate prevention methods, predict control needs, and assess Dominion’s level of responsibility for management of particular invasive species and populations. The objective of this inventory was to locate invasive plant populations along the ROW in the state forests and record their positions. The inventory was conducted during the growing season and included all areas of proposed disturbance within state forest property including a 150-foot buffer onto adjacent land not managed by the BOF. Continued monitoring is to be conducted every year for the first five years following construction, with invasive monitoring then occurring every third year for as long as Dominion is leasing the pipeline ROW.
Inventory of invasive plant populations, recorded positions using geographical positioning system, and monitored annually for five years after construction.