What is Environmental Consulting?
Environmental Consulting includes a variety of services focused on servicing customers as well as protecting essential ecological features such as streams and wetlands. At Brushy Fork, this means we assist customers with environmental permitting, wetland and stream delineations, jurisdictional determinations, stormwater management solutions, erosion control, environmental site assessments and environmental engineering. In addition to private consulting, Brushy Fork is also involved in stream and wetland restoration and mitigation projects, which bring together private landowners, state and federal restoration initiatives, and other organizations to restore degraded reaches throughout western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
Environmental permitting is often required for both private and commercial development, and it typically involves multiple steps. According to the Clean Water Act sections 401 and 404, certain wetlands and streams are considered jurisdictional “Waters of the United States” and impacts to these resources must be minimized where possible. In order to reduce impacts, a Jurisdictional Determination must be performed by qualified individuals, such as environmental consultants, in order to determine stream and wetland boundaries where impacts should be avoided. A jurisdictional determination map and report will be provided to the client so they can plan accordingly. After a site plan has been developed Brushy Fork can assist in engineering effective erosion control methods, no-rise flood studies, and innovative stormwater solutions, all of which will be included in the 401/404 permitting required by state and federal regulating authorities.
Another consulting service that Brushy Fork offers customers is Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). Similar to a building inspection, banks often require Phase I ESAs before approving a loan on a large land purchase. This is to ensure that there are no major liability concerns on urban or developed sites, often in the form of Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs). Additionally, rural sites may have dumpsites consisting of large amounts of trash, liquid waste like fossil fuels, or other hazardous waste. While conducting the Phase I ESA, Brushy Fork will perform site reconnaissance as well as investigate the current and historical condition of the property through interviews, environmental database surveys, historical aerial photography reviews, and chain of title searches.
One of the most rewarding services Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting, Inc. offers is stream and wetland restoration. In rural North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee, streams are often degraded and erosive for three main reasons: livestock access to streams, lack of vegetation to stabilize banks, or excess sediment from upstream development. To correct these issues, Brushy Fork works closely with our clients to implement Natural Channel Design structures that address the clients concerns while improving the stability, biology and overall condition of the stream. In addition to Natural Channel Design structures, Brushy Fork can assist the landowner in implementing a healthy vegetated streambank (riparian zone) and livestock exclusion fencing, which allows the stream and riparian buffers to continue to improve over time. The restoration capabilities of Brushy Fork have also created new opportunities to work with state governments and NC DOT in the form of mitigation projects. Mitigation projects restore historically degraded wetlands and streams, generating restoration credits that can be purchased by developers or governments to offset unavoidable impacts to streams and wetlands. Credits are especially in need for transportation projects such as road developments in which impacts to wetlands and streams are often necessary.
One of our valued Environmental Consultants who is essential in providing all of these services is Dustin Presnell! He is a wizard with Autodesk Civil 3D and assists the Brushy Fork Engineering Division with redesigning our restoration projects as well as leads our stream survey crew. He also specializes in mathematical modeling and construction oversight. Dustin has been with Brushy Fork for over a year now and has been integral in streamlining our methodology. In his free time, Dustin enjoys hiking and is a talented landscape photographer!
If you have a project that could use an environmental consultant, give us a call at 423-727-4476.