ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES & PERMITTING
RPA's qualified and experienced in preparing environmental compliance and permitting documents for all types of civil engineering projects.
RPA team members write Environmental Impact Assessment documents for highway and bridge reconstruction projects, airport improvement projects, and water and wastewater projects throughout Montana.
We have also contributed to environmental documents for projects under development by the Federal Highway Administration’s Western District Federal Lands in the Pacific Northwest and by the National Park Service at locations throughout the United States.
From coordinating with permitting agencies to helping the Montana Department of Transportation secure Section 404 Clean Water Act permits, RPA has provided environmental documents for over 20 urban and rural highway design projects.
Team members have written comprehensive Environmental Assessments for eight airport improvement projects, completed environmental checklists for community water and wastewater projects, and worked with biological resource consultants to prepare feasibility studies for wetlands development.
SERVICES WE PROVIDE
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)
Environmental Impact Assessment
Endangered Species Act Compliance
Agency Coordination & Public Involvement
Montana West Broadband Project
Flathead Lake, Sanders, Missoula, Glacier, Pondera Counties, Montana
Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations
Client: Ronan Telephone Company/Access Montana, Ronan, MT
The Ronan Telephone Company retained RPA to prepare a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) for its Montana West Project. Construction of this $13.8 million broadband project—funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—is scheduled for completion in August 2014. The project involves the installation of nearly 300 miles of new fiber-optic cable and associated facilities within five Montana counties and the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations. The purpose of the Montana West Project is to develop telecommunications facilities that will enable access to affordable and reliable broadband service within a region of northwestern Montana where such services are currently limited or unavailable.
RPA provided supporting resource studies, examined alternate routes, assessed potential environmental impacts, and developed appropriate mitigating measures for the EA. RPA used its GIS capabilities to facilitate environmental analyses and to generate detailed mapping of proposed routes for new fiber optic cable installations.
The project required significant coordination with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Blackfeet Nation. The EA was developed under a rigid timeline to meet deadlines imposed by National Telecommunications and Information Administration and satisfy ARRA requirements. The project received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued based on the EA in June of 2011.
Silicon Mountain Aquatic Resources Mitigation Project
Silver Bow County, Montana
Client: ATKINS North America (for Montana Department of Transportation) Helena, MT
During 2011-2012, RPA contracted with ATKINS to perform a topographic and control survey and to generate site mapping for a portion of the Silicon Mountain Aquatic Resources Mitigation Site located near the junction of I-90 and I-15 west of Butte. ATKINS, under contract with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), asked RPA to perform a GPS equipment to survey of the 26-acre parcel (including a reach of Sand Creek) and a Phase One SUE survey for the entire 45-acre mitigation site.
This work provided essential information needed to complete a feasibility study for a potential aquatic resources mitigation project on the Silicon Mountain site. RPA's surveyors were able to complete the survey during a favorable winter weather period which helped advance the overall project schedule.
In 2012, RPA teamed with ATKINS staff to develop a design and associated plans, specification and estimate (PS&E) package for MDT's Silicon Mountain Aquatic Resources Mitigation project. RPA translated design concepts for wetland cells and channel modifications to Sand Creek into plans and specifications consistent with MDT's requirements. RPA provided assistance to ATKINS and helped develop design details, special provisions, and bid documents. The mitigation project was let to contract
MDT Term Environmental Documents
Montana - Wide
Client: Montana Department of Transportation Environmental Services
RPA has been under contract with the MDT since 1995 to prepare environmental impact documents and supporting resource studies, provide wetlands mitigation services, and prepare environmental permits for highway and bridge projects across the state. RPA has been awarded 10 consecutive two-year-long term contracts from MDT to provide environmental document services. To date, RPA has been assigned work on more than 40 MDT projects across Montana. Theses contracts have required extensive work with the Federal Highway Administration, and many other federal and state agencies. These projects have required RPA to assemble a team of specialists to help us evaluate noise, air quality, and hazardous waste concerns; to assess effects on biological resources including wetlands and threatened or endangered species; and to conduct cultural resource inventories for MDT projects.
RPA has been required to research, coordinate and prepare environmental documents to ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Montana's counterpart environmental regulations. The environmental documents were prepared to be consistent with guidance contained in the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Technical Advisory T6640.8A and other agency guidance, the FHWA's "Environmental Guidebooks," and other MDT directives. Document requirements for the assigned projects varied depending upon project complexity, consideration of alternatives, and level of public interest. RPA prepared narrative and Programmatic Categorical Exclusions and project-specific and corridor-wide Environmental Assessments. Many of the projects required the preparation of Section 4(f) Evaluations and several involved Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Section 6(f) impacts with associated replacement land needs.
RPA and other team members were required to coordinate highway and bridge designs with federal and state agencies and help MDT secure Section 404 permits, Stream Protection Act permits, NPDES permits, and floodplain development permits. The required level of public involvement has varied for project assignments.