Kjolhaug Environmental Services provides comprehensive natural resource services to its clients.
Comprehensive Natural Resource Services Including:
- Local Governmental Unit Consulting Services
- Wetland Delineations and Hydrology Studies
- Wetland Permits and EAWs
- Wetland Creation, Restoration, and Banking Plans
- Wetland Inventory and Functional Assessments
- Natural Resources Inventories and Management Plans
- Expert Witness Testimony
- Revegetation Services
- Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessments
- Historical Land Use Studies
- Hydric Soil Delineations
- Tree Surveys
- GPS Data Collection
The following provides more detailed information on selected services.
Our delineators are among the most qualified and experienced in the area. They complete technically accurate delineations and work hard to gain fair determinations in disturbed sites so common in developing and agricultural areas.
We recommend that a site assessment for wetlands be completed on any property being considered for development. This assessment consists of a site walkover to prepare a map of likely wetlands on the property. If this assessment indicates use of site is possible given wetland conditions, a full delineation can be completed. This approach prevents spending extra time and money on sites that will not meet project needs.
Wetland Permit Applications, Replacement and Banking Plans
Federal, state, and local programs require permits to complete certain activities in wetlands. The key to consistent success in acquiring permits is a comprehensive understanding of the process and an established record of successful mitigation. We have successfully acquired permits from all relevant agencies due to the solid foundation of our applications. Regulators will more readily approve permit applications when they are confident that information is available to support the application if questioned by other environmental agencies or private citizens.
Regulators are also more likely to approve permits if they are confident in the success of the replacement plans. Kjolhaug Environmental Services Company ecologists have been involved in dozens of wetland creations and restorations in Minnesota, and have established a successful record of quality mitigation.
Replacement Wetland Monitoring Studies
Monitoring is required to determine the type and extent of wetlands created as replacement for wetlands impacted by various project activities. Monitoring, as specified in the WCA rules, involves a comparison of planned to constructed wetlands, an annual evaluation of hydrology and vegetation, and a determination of the extent of replacement wetland. In unsuccessful replacements, monitoring also requires recommendations for corrective measures. Kjolhaug Environmental Services Company has conducted hundreds of replacement wetland monitoring projects throughout the metro area.
Wetland Hydrology Studies
Drainage ditches and drain tiles have extensively altered the majority of wetlands in developing and agricultural areas. These areas will typically retain soils and vegetation characteristics associated with wetlands and as a result will be identified as wetlands by less experienced delineators.
In such areas, the most effective way to identify wetland boundaries is a detailed assessment of current wetland water levels by utilizing shallow groundwater monitoring wells. Such detailed hydrology studies require greater initial investment, but have been effective in identifying more accurate wetland boundaries. Kjolhaug Environmental Services Company’s ecologists have used this approach successfully on many projects during the past 6 years.
Wetland Functional Assessments
KES has also been completing wetland functions and values assessments for over 13 years, and has been instrumental in developing functional assessments tools for cities, counties, and watershed districts. KES was part of a team of consultants that worked to develop a FAT for Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD). This FAT is still used by MCWD and became the basis for MnRAM Version 3.0, the functional assessment tool that is currently used by most Local Governmental Units for WCA reviews. KES staff members were also instrumental in the development of a functional assessment tool for St. Louis County, Minnesota.
Land Use History Studies
Past land use activities have a tremendous influence on site conditions and land use opportunities today. For example, recent damage to a drainage tile system can create wetlands in areas that were once effectively drained. Thoroughly documenting the relevant history can allow for the most accurate determination of jurisdictional status of the area. We have appropriately and successfully applied for WCA exemptions based on our review of historical information.
This approach has also been used successfully to determine wetland status based on cropping history, determining historic drainage patterns, studying changes in plant communities, and identifying past land use activities that explain existing conditions. Effective utilization of historic information is invaluable in supporting appropriate land use in disturbed areas.
Expert Witness Services
KES staff members have provided expert witness services on hundreds of projects involving wetland and wildlife issues. We regularly represent our clients at TEP meetings, providing expert input in both written and verbal format. We have given testimony in various meetings, hearings, depositions, and trials representing both public and private clients. We have also testified during the WCA rulemaking process in front of administrative law judge and in state legislative committee hearings.
Environmental assessments such as EAWs, EISs and AUARs are frequently required in larger projects to assess the potential for significant adverse environmental impacts, including traffic, water quality, wetlands, and rare species issues. Completion of effective environmental assessments requires an understanding of the process and an ability to determine and appropriately assess the “real” issues. Addressing issues in advance with the appropriate level of information can effectively separate “Not In My Backyard” resistance from legitimate environmental concerns and allow decision makers to confidently proceed with their reviews based on facts and not political pressures.