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Do I need a permit?

Chris Kriegner,

Many projects require approval from one or more regulatory agencies before implementation can begin. Approvals are typically granted in the form of a permit, which may be required for a host of reasons, including planned emissions or discharges, withdrawals or resource use, building and construction, or proposed disturbance to regulated resources (e.g., wetlands, waterways, floodplains) and special protection areas (e.g., agricultural district, historic areas). Permits are issued at the federal, state, and local level, and often all three are required for a single project. 

With ever-changing regulations, variations between states, and a host of jurisdictional agencies, navigating the permitting process can be difficult and cumbersome.

The key to identifying whether a project requires a permit is to know as much information about the project and the work area as possible, before deciding. The size, location, permanence, and reason for the proposed disturbance have important ramifications for triggering the need for a permit or even mitigation. 

Unfortunately, project teams often must advise on scope, schedule, and costs in the absence of all information. In these circumstances, previous experience is the best guide to permitting needs. Experience can also help forecast issues, such as stream closure periods, pre-construction surveys, monitoring periods, sensitive species, and mitigation.

As an example, tree removal restrictions were lifted after OBG conducted bat roost surveys prior to vegetative clearing at one project site. Early identification of project components and goals, as well as pre-application meetings soliciting the input of regulatory stakeholders, are also helpful for complicated situations.

At OBG, our approach is to consider permitting throughout the entire life cycle of a project, coordinating from project conception through design, construction, and post-construction monitoring. 

This approach facilitates the identification and integration of critical path elements into the overall project schedule, achieves equitable expectations on the part of all project stakeholders, and contributes significantly to the success of a project. Permitting can be successfully managed so as not to hinder the completion of important projects.

OBG’s natural resources & restoration team provides solutions to clients throughout the U.S. in the areas of ecology, risk assessment, restoration, natural resource damage assessment (NRDA), and emergency response. Our team embraces challenge and facilitates the improvement of the natural and built environments through sound science and the application of creative and practical solutions.

About Chris Kriegner: Chris is a managing scientist in OBG’s natural resources & restoration practice with more than 13 years of experience in applied ecology, natural resources permitting, ecological risk assessment, data collection, and emergency response.

Chris Kriegner 
(484) 804-7267