biological services for environmental permitting and compliance
Merjent’s Biological Services Team partners with clients to help them successfully develop and permit their projects – from small-scale land development to large-scale, multi-state, linear construction – using the latest Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment, and data reporting and management technology solutions.
Our geographic experience is broad, covering species all over the country. We work on our clients’ behalf to move projects through the environmental permitting process, while completing the appropriate due diligence needed to responsibly site projects. We draw upon our vast experience and agency relationships to develop a project strategy for success.
THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
Our team has extensive experience assessing project impacts to biological resources. We house multiple state-licensed rare species datasets, and have staff who are certified to conduct endangered resources reviews in specific states. We also maintain a thorough and up-to-date GIS library of habitat, land cover, and Light Detection & Ranging (LiDAR) data, which we use to help assess the presence of suitable habitat for rare species at a project site.
Merjent also tracks proposed and candidate species through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listing process. By doing so, we are ready to assist our clients with potential project implications when a new species is listed. We’ve drafted white papers and client-specific memos that provide guidance on project strategy based on the stage of development – this guidance may include conservation measures, timing restrictions, habitat management, and/or field surveys.
In recent years, Merjent has assisted clients with threatened and endangered species due diligence reviews, surveys, and/or permitting, for several federally listed species:
- northern long-eared bat
- rusty patched bumble bee
- American burying beetle
- Dakota skipper
- Poweshiek skipperling
BIOLOGICAL FIELD SURVEYS AND HABITAT ASSESSMENTS
Merjent has managed species-specific surveys for large scale projects over multiple survey seasons. Our team is experienced in field survey protocol development that meet various industry and agency guidelines.
We have also assisted clients with general habitat assessments and surveys including rare plants, trees and shrubs, wetland and waterbody determinations and delineations, avian and bat surveys, butterflies, and bees, as well as invasive and noxious species.
When applicable, a desktop review is a recommended precursor to support field-based habitat assessments and species-specific surveys.
BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT, AGENCY CONSULTATION, AND TAKE PERMITS
We work with federal, state, and local agencies on behalf of our clients to navigate the regulatory process and develop documents such as environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, biological assessments, and biological opinions. We develop these documents directly for applicants and as third-party participants for regulating agencies. We often engage in Section 7 or Section 10 consultations with the USFWS under the Endangered Species Act, in addition to state agencies that regulate state endangered species laws.
Our team is well versed and experienced with preparing Incidental Take Permit applications for federal and state listed species, developing and implementing species-specific conservation measures, and coordinating/consulting with the USFWS and state wildlife/natural resource agencies.