Does your project present special natural resource considerations to meet regulatory requirements? Western Plains Consulting (WPC) can help here too! WPC maintains the premier natural resource consulting team in the northern Great Plains. We offer a Professional Soil Classifier, Certified Professional Sediment and Erosion Control Specialist, Biologist/Wildlife Management Specialists, a natural resource/ecology specialist, a Hydrogeologist and an Aquatic Ecologist.
Our staff’s experience ranges from small wetland delineation and botanical surveys for various permitting efforts (including Clean Water Act Section 404 permits) and environmental studies related to new proposed oil field drilling and pipeline corridor locations, to large NEPA and FERC studies along the Missouri River for large-scale development projects. Whether as a project lead, or part of a project team, WPC’s qualified staff will assist in a wide range of technical specialties.
WPC offers a wide range of biological and natural resources management and inventory services. Our work includes small to large scale assessments: from site specific evaluation of threatened and endangered plant and wildlife species - to habitat and rangeland assessments - to region-wide surveys of avian migration, prairie grouse leks, and raptor nest locations. Wetlands delineation, soil classification, fish studies, and assistance with permitting, mitigation, NEPA compliance and oil well reclamation plans are all within our range of expertise. Please call or visit our website for more details on what we can do for you!
- Land Management Example: WPC was retained by the North Dakota Forest Service to conduct and update Forest Inventory / Revised Forest Stewardship Plans / "Firewise" Assessments. The ongoing projects involved conducting field assessments of established and native forest stands to develop initial and revised Forest Stewardship Plans and meeting with forest landowners to discuss and provide "firewise" assessments regarding wildfire danger to the farmstead and livestock feed supplies, as well as making recommendations towards improved fire protection. The project was funded with an EPA 319 grant and administered through the North Dakota Forest Service and the Red River Basin Riparian Project.
WPC staff includes several biologists and botanists. We have performed threatened and endangered species studies throughout the upper Midwest. From Threatened & Endangered Species habitat identification to butterfly field counts, WPC provides the service!
- Fish Impingement Study, Missouri River, North Dakota: In response to new regulatory requirements, WPC was retained to conduct year-long projectsat the Milton R. Young, Leland Olds, Great River Energy and Montana-Dakota Heskitt Station power plants through ENSR International. This project was to remove and identify fish impinged on screens as a result of water intake events at the respective power plants. After collection of fish from the sites, WPC's Certified Wildlife Biologist and Senior Aquatic Ecologist identify and quantify the catch. Regular reports are provided, and the results will be compiled in a final study. The ongoing studies are part of a state-mandated plan for multiple coal-fired plants situated on the Missouri River downstream of Garrison Dam to determine if they are causing significant fish population mortality.
- Avian Surveys and Threatened and Endangered Species Survey, Bowman County, North Dakota: WPC conducted seasonal avian point-count surveys for a proposed wind-power generation project area. In addition, WPC's biologists inspected prairie dog colonies within the vicinity of the wind project area to determine the presence of burrowing owls and the federally-listed Endangered black-footed ferret.
- Bat Surveys, South Dakota: WPC's biologist has conducted bat surveys in proposed wind-power generation permit areas. The project involved monitoring with sensitive sound-recording equipment positioned at strategic locations in the project vicinity. The data was generated by using specialized computer analysis.
Balancing the demand for energy alternatives and preservation of the natural environment, WPC conducts scientifically rigorous pre-and-post construction avian use studies to assist their clients in meeting federal, state and local environmental requirements. These surveys help determine potential wildlife mortality at wind-powered generation facilities and provide valuable insight into wind/wildlife interactions. WPC, Inc. has developed Habitat Conservation Plans that include identifying project impacts to federally listed species of concern, impact avoidance strategies, and design-and-operation phase mitigation with a tiered impact level approach. Studies consider both migratory and resident bird species.
- Sharp-Tailed Grouse Lek Survey WPC contracted with the US Forest Service to conduct a survey of sharp-tail grouse dancing grounds on Forest Service land in western North Dakota. The project used established field methods to find and map locations in the large coverage area during spring field season of 2006.
- Avian, Prairie Dog, Lek, Wetlands and Native Prairie Surveys, Hughes, Hand and Hyde Counties, South Dakota: WPC conducted avian surveys supporting an environmental site assessment for the development of a proposed wind-powered generation facility, including point-count, raptor nest, sandhill crane, prairie grouse lek and prairie dog colony surveys. Additionally, WPC has conducted wetland delineations and native prairie surveys within the project area.
- Avian and Native Prairie Surveys, Dickey County North Dakota WPC conducted avian surveys in support of an environmental site assessment for development of a proposed wind facility, including point-count, raptor nest, prairie grouse lek and native prairie surveys.
- Avian Surveys, Logan County, North Dakota. As part of USFWS requirements for a proposed wind farm, WPC conducted avian surveys, including raptor, point-count, breeding bird and nest surveys. WPC also completed a Habitat Conservation Plan for the federally endangered whooping crane, identified as a species of concern within the project area.
Balancing the Nations demand for energy and the conservation of Natural Re-sources: WPC conducts extensive botanical surveys to assist clients with their environmental needs. Bo-tanical surveys are conducted for a variety of reasons ranging from oil well sittings, land manage-ment, and wetland determinations. WPC conducts studies that meeting Federal, State, and local envi-ronmental requirements.
Botanical survey consultation: WPC staff are knowledgeable in regulations including US Forest Service protocols to meet the National Environmental Policy Act requirements. The staff conducts wetland delineations according to the 1987 Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual and the Regional Supplements to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual.
Rangeland and Habitat Consultation: In order to maintain a healthy and diverse environment for soils, plants, and animals, WPC provides a comprehensive range of technical services to meet the goals of our clients. Our rangeland and habitat management team strives to produce the standards and guidelines required to promote healthy environments. Selecting the proper management techniques can be difficult, so WPC can meet with you personally to discuss your objectives. An inspection of your property will give WPC the opportunity to develop a management or monitoring protocol that will help you achieve the goals needed to develop a healthier landscape. Whether you need to reduce erosion, enhance wildlife habitat, promote native plant growth, eliminate noxious weeds, or establish and maintain grazing practices, WPC is ready to assist you with your project.
Oil Well Pad Sitings: WPC has been active in the oil fields in Western North Dakota for over nine years, conducting botanical studies for oil well oipad sites. These surveys are done to meet the requirements of the US Forest Service. Field data collected is used for site restoration.
Wetland Delineations: WPC botanists and soil scientist have performed many wetland delineations according to the 1987 Army Corps of Engineers Manual for many types of projects. These projects include oil pipeline corridors, multiple Highway and Road projects across the State of North Dakota, and Wetland Restoration/Mitigation projects.
WPC was retained by the North Dakota Forest Service to conduct and update Forest Inventory/ Revised Forest Stewardship Plans/ "Firewise" Assessments. The project involved conducting field assessments of established and native forest stands to develop initial and revised Forest Stewardship Plans and meeting with forest landowners to discuss and provide "firewise" assessments regarding wild-fire danger to the farmstead and livestock feed supplies, as well as making recommendations towards improved fire protection. The project was 319-funded through the North Dakota Forest Service and the Red River Basin Riparian Project.
WPC was retained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MS DNR) to conduct vegetation monitoring on remnant tracts of prairie throughout western Minnesota that were under MN DNR management. The monitoring of prairie tracts was used to detect broad-scale changes in the plant communities. This data was used for decision-making to improve the management and condition of native prairies. The monitoring consisted of inventorying species composition and abundance within plots along transects according to established protocols.