The best time to get MCA’s Ecological Services group involved in a project is as early as possible (Planning Stages). We have found that a few hours of our time on the front end of a project can save valuable time and money for our clients. Involving MCA’s Ecological team at the beginning allows us to discuss the potential to limit permit requirements by avoiding or limiting impact to natural resources or identify other environmental concerns. Our goal is to help our clients navigate through the local, state or Federal regulations and identify resources within a project so they can be avoided or impact can be reduced to limit permitting requirements. By reducing impacts to regulated features, we have the opportunity to keep the clients project moving forward on their schedule and limit delays due to potentially unforeseen ecological or environmental issues.

Dane Vandewater, Pamela Rice and Bruce Bauer are the ecological service group and bring over 55 years of combined ecological and environmental experience to MCA and our clients. The ecological service group has project experience throughout the Country spanning from the Midwest (OH, IN, IL, KY, MI, TN, WI), the Southwest (KS, MO, OK, TX), to the Southeast (LA, MS, FL). Our projects may consist of a 10-acre commercial development, a 2-mile road improvement, 30,000-acre wind farm, to a 50-mile pipeline corridor. We are the people to contact when a project may encounter wetlands, streams, Threatened or Endangered Species, Clean Water Act permitting, floodplain permitting, or other environmental concerns (cultural, hazardous waste, etc.). MCA’s Ecological Services Group can help lead the team or be a member to help a client reach their goals.

We work closely with engineers, land planners, surveyors, project managers, developers, and other environmental professionals (archaeologists, historians, geologists, restoration experts, and other scientists) to help keep client projects moving forward while addressing the ecological or environmental issues. Avoiding discussions of ecological or environmental issues until the project design is completed can lead to impacts to the financial success and the overall completion schedule. Our relationships and experience with the regulatory agencies benefit our clients; the agencies know MCA and our staff’s integrity which helps limits their concern while they review our reports or permit applications.

MCA’s ecological team work varies greatly throughout the year; however, our current notable projects include two Wind Farm Projects and an electric transmission line expansion in Central Michigan and a Petroleum Terminal Tank expansion project in Central Illinois. These projects required remote sensing of GIS data, completion of field work to identify ecological resources (wetlands, streams, regulated ditches, potential T&E Habitat) and agency coordination to obtain the necessary permits for the proposed impacts to natural resources. These projects involve coordination with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), State Historic Preservation Offices, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, State Department of Natural Resources, and other local agencies.

Please view the MCA Ecological Services Group as a resource to be contacted with questions on a potential project that is just taking shape or on a project that is well into the engineering design where you may have a crossing of a “ditch” or “drainage feature” on the engineering plans and there’s been no discussion of any type of permitting. A phone call or email to us could address your concerns or help provide the answer to the question “Do you have a permit for that stream and wetland crossing?” by a regulatory agency or adjacent property owner during construction activities.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions about the group or how we can assist. Please contact Dane Vandewater (dvandewater@metroca.net).