Regulatory permits, authorizations and clearance letters are vital to the completion of many projects. If a project’s design cannot avoid impacts to regulated waters and wetlands, then regulatory agency approvals are required. Aqua-Terra is experienced in determining the proper permit requirements. Many times we work together with a client’s design professionals (engineer, surveyor, architect, or environmental attorney) to prepare the necessary permit submittals.
Aqua-Terra has acquired dozens of permits and authorizations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PA Department of Environmental Protection, PA Fish & Boat Commission, and County Conservation Districts. If mitigation is required to offset permanent environmental impacts, we are experienced in developing mitigation plans, conducting construction oversight and monitoring the long-term success of mitigation areas.
PNDI - PA Natural Diversity Inventory
An environmental review of the state natural heritage program is necessary for most types of construction. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources describes the PNDI as follows:
The Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. The Nature Conservancy, and the Western PA Conservancy to conduct inventories and collect data to describe the Commonwealth's rarest and most significant ecological features. These features include plant and animal speices of special concern, rare and exemplary natural communities and outstanding geologic features. Site-specific information describing these features is stored in an integrated data management system created from map, manual, and computer files. The PNDI information system is continually refined and updated to include recently discovered locations and to describe environmental changes affecting known sites. The goal is to build, maintain and provide accurate and accessible ecological information needed for conservation, development planning and natural resource management.
Species tracked within the PNDI informatino system are those listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Rare by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Game Commission, PA Fish and Boat Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and species recommended by the PA Biological Survey. Natural community types and geologic features are included based on the recommendations of PNDI ecologists and the Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, respectively. Species and associated locational information are initially gathered from plant and animal specimens maintained in museums, universities, and personal collections. These data are supplemented by research, publications, and contacts with knowledgeable individuals. Intensive field surveys are conducted to verify historically known plant and animal sites and to search for previously undocumented locations. Through this scientifically-based inventory, vital ecological resources and sites rich in natural diversity are identified and monitored for future conservation efforts.
Protection of the Commonwealth's natural heritage can be accomplished in harmony with our needs to develop and use natural resources. With objectives and accurate data, PNDI can help guide planning and development, avoiding damage to precious ecological areas. The Commonwealth has lost at least 192 species of plants and animals and diminished nearly 500 species to endangerment status. Since 1988, PNDI has become routine in most environmental assessments, and subsequently prevented losses of biological diversity without consequence to the economy. With advance planning or minor modifications to development plans, our natural heritage has been protected and brought to the attention of many Pennsylvanians. PNDI also assists conservation organizations in channeling funds toward land acquisition, easements, etc. for the protection of imperiled plant and animal species and natural communities.