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Western Plains Consulting (WPC) has experienced soil scientists, geologists and Registered Professional Soil Classifiers on staff, as well as Certified Professional Erosion and Sediment Control Specialists, and range conservation specialists.  We provide a wide range of soil mapping, identification, planning and restoration services.                                                                                                                            It It should be noted that the State of North Dakota requires that soil mapping and identification be conducted only by Registered Professional Soil Classifiers.

WPC staff have mapped thousands of acres of soils in the upper Midwest.  Their mapping projects have been wide ranging, including:  coal mines, gravel mines, wetlands, permitting, septic systems, irrigation, and more.  WPC staff have served as expert witnesses on project involving disputed soil quality or damage, and have served as officers in the North Dakota Professional Soil Classifiers Association.

Soil Evaluation for a State Construction Project:  WPC was retained for Soils Evaluation Project along the Peterson Coulee Emergency Outlet from Devils Lake to the Sheyenne River in North-central North Dakota. Mr. Loken and Mr. Prochnow of WPC, Inc. traversed portions of the route and collected and described soils and collected soil samples. A separate vendor was collecting VERIS data along the route. Western Plains prepared a report to the NDSWC, correlating the VERIS data with the laboratory results of the soil samples and the soil descriptions with a goal to identify areas of potential concern should the Outlet ever release waters through the liners to surrounding farm lands. This project documented the baseline conditions of farm lands along the Outlet and can be used for comparison to changing conditions during the operation of the Outlet.

Soil Survey for Municipal Landfill Permitting:  WPC's Soil Scientists have performed several soil survey projects involving areas being evaluated for municipal landfill expansions. The permitting process requires detailed documentations regarding soil types, prime farmlands, and subsurface conditions. Projects have been completed on time and budget.

Soil Evaluations for Septic Siting Projects:  Some counties in North Dakota require soil evaluations before permits are issued for new septic system or expansion projects. WPC’s Professional Soil Classifiers have provided soil evaluations on many residential, public and commercial sites in Burleigh and Cass Counties. WPC specializes in economical, rapid response.

WPC has been involved in a large number of projects involving subsurface conditions including groundwater.  From groundwater cleanup to usage permitting, the projects have ranged from small to large scale.

WPC performs a variety of wetland related services, including identification, delineation, 404 permitting, functional assessment and restoration.  We meet established federal and state guidelines by including both a qualified botanist and professional soil classifier in our wetland project teams.  Our projects have ranged from small, seasonal ditch wetlands, to restoration of large-scale impacted wetlands.  Our clients have included several engineering firms, developers, several other environmental consultants, mining companies, the State of North Dakota, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Department of Justice. 

- Wetlands Delineation/Modeling, Groundwater, and Permitting Project:  WPC was retained by an agricultural lender to address the needs of a property held by one of their clients. Western Plains’ staff have had a role in this project from the beginning. It was multi-phased and driven by various regulators with a variety of concerns associated with the operation of a very large-scale livestock facility on this property. The project was further complicated by conflicting permits from various regulatory agencies and by a history of operator noncompliance.

One of the primary concerns involved the alleged draining and filling of many acres of jurisdictional wetlands. Staff conducted wetlands delineations and habitat/functional assessments following the 1987 Army Corps of Engineers Manual and the USDA-NRCS Hydrogeomorphic Functional Assessment Model (HGM), which also met the specific US EPA requirements for the site. This portion of the project has been settled and wetlands areas restored.

The second primary concern involved operational permitting from the North Dakota Department of Health. First, permits were obtained and then specific permit requirements were addressed. Those requirements included complex groundwater assessments and monitoring, and installation of impermeable clay liners in livestock barns in an effort to prevent groundwater contamination. The project involved extensive environmental assessment, and coordination of environmental, historical and regulatory aspects of the project with numerous local, state and federal agencies. WPC has been involved in ongoing monitoring, required by regulators to ensure that the site’s shallow groundwater has not been impacted by the production operation.

- Wetland Delineation along Pipeline 250+-mile Corridor:  WPC’s Wetlands Team of Professional Soil Scientist and Botanists conducted an intensive field survey of a proposed pipeline corridor crossing the State of North Dakota. The field work included hydric soil and plant identification, GPS surveying, and detailed documentation. This was for a crude oil pipeline project, and the pipeline has since been completed across North Dakota.

- Phase I Assessment and Wetland Project Example  WPC performed a Phase I Environmental Assessment and a Ground Truth/Wetland Delineation for a highway expansion project in the city of Mandan, ND. The Site corridor ran through industrial and commercial portions of the City. The environmental assessment identified a variety of potential environmental liabilities along the corridor, including past contaminant releases, dumps, and ongoing developments along the corridor.

The wetland delineation portion of the project was requested to identify existing jurisdictional wetlands in the Site corridor. WPC acquired available topographic maps, aerial photographs, Wetland Determination maps, and then traversed the corridor to ground truth the inventories and delineate the jurisdictional wetlands along the route. The engineering firm land surveyed the flagged wetlands and prepared a wetland map. WPC delineated the wetlands according to the Corps of Engineers 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. The project was completed on time and within the budget.