401 / 404 PERMITTING
Third Rock professionals are fully versed in regulatory analysis and permitting. We routinely deal with complex and challenging projects, guiding clients through the complicated process of identifying impacts, analyzing alternatives, acquiring permits, and developing mitigation to compensate for unavoidable impacts to streams and wetlands. We have obtained permits for state government agencies, local governments, consulting engineers, commercial developers, planners, and property owners. Third Rock's unique staff features environmental professionals with many years of diverse experience in environmental engineering, biology, ecology, geology, and wetland science. Our expertise and knowledge of frequently changing regulations and procedures can expedite projects that require permits. Long-term professional relationships with agency representatives enable us to understand and meet their expectations.
Beginning with the initial determination that a project may affect streams or wetlands, Third Rock conducts the necessary assessments to begin the permitting process. We perform the required investigations to determine the jurisdictional status of each stream and wetland. This process has recently become more challenging since permitting for stream impacts is no longer limited to blueline streams shown on USGS topographic maps. Most perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams are now considered jurisdictional by the USACE and state water resource agencies. Early coordination with regulatory agencies is conducted to minimize the time and expense involved in acquiring permits. Accurate characterization and quantification of impacts is the crucial first step. When impacts are identified during the initial stages of project design, water resources can be avoided and disturbance minimized which simplifies permitting and minimizes mitigation requirements. Mitigation can be particularly costly and time-consuming when impacts are discovered after property is acquired and projects are designed.
To assist clients with permitting, Third Rock develops innovative avoidance and minimization solutions that have the additional advantage of improving aesthetics, reducing overall costs, and preventing delays. When impacts are unavoidable, we provide guidance regarding the use of in-lieu fees for mitigation or design cost-effective stream and wetland restoration as mitigation to compensate for the loss. To complete the mitigation process, we supervise construction, conduct post-construction monitoring, and submit annual monitoring reports to regulatory agencies.
Third Rock routinely navigates the permitting challenges associated with coordinating with multiple agencies to acquire the appropriate permits. Acquiring a 404 permit from the USACE for unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S. also requires compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to determine if a proposed project may affect any federally protected species and also Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act to determine if properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or those eligible for listing, may be affected by a proposed project. Third Rock conducts the required assessments to comply with all aspects of the permitting process.