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Third Rock Consultants

Watershed Planning

Third Rock embraces a watershed-scale approach to restoring our waters to swimmable, fishable resources. Third Rock's engineers, aquatic ecologists, wetland scientists, and data analysts collaborate to provide a level of excellence unique and unequaled in environmental consulting. Our staff has years of collective experience in the areas of watershed planning, water quality monitoring, hydrologic modeling, stream and wetland restoration, and design of best management practices.  We believe there is no substitute for on-the-ground watershed evaluation to supplement mapping and other data.  Our multi-disciplinary team identifies and prioritizes unique management strategies, while considering the many constraints (budget, site constraints, etc) involved with watershed planning and monitoring. Each watershed requires a customized approach that addresses a range of goals.  Our watershed planning services are diverse, including (but not limited to) MS4 program management, water quality monitoring, total maximum daily load (TMDL) developmentGIS analysis, and Best Management Practices (BMPs).



Third Rock works with Phase I and Phase II communities in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee as program managers in order to comply with MS4 permits. We conduct compliance monitoring and data analysis, prepare program audits, provide staff training, develop guidance documents, and assist in annual reporting efforts. By working with stakeholder advisory committees, homeowner associations, and watershed volunteer groups, we demonstrate our ability to work successfully with stakeholders and citizens to improve public education and involvement. On previous projects, we partnered with volunteer groups to collect water quality data, led watershed festivals and outreach groups, and spearheaded outreach to develop community participation in areas where public interest in water quality was low. Third Rock uses innovative approaches such as interactive mapping technology and press releases of successful projects to communicate with citizens in a user-friendly manner.  



Third Rock staff utilize on-the-ground site evaluation and GIS analysis to determine sampling locations for the development of comprehensive monitoring strategies. We can develop monitoring schemes for projects ranging from a few square miles to hundreds of square miles. Regardless of the spatial scale, placement of sampling stations is crucial for determining the sources of pollution to surface waters, especially in mixed-use landscapes. Third Rock has the necessary skills to customize a pollutant source assessment and monitoring scheme to match your watershed needs. 




Calculations to determine Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), the maximum amount of pollutant a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, have become increasingly necessary as states attempt to address Clean Water Act requirements for impaired waters.  Third Rock addresses TMDLs at multiple levels, including monitoring used to calculate TMDLs, developing draft TMDLs for state agencies, providing training and guidance to clients, developing strategies to implement TMDLs, and assisting communities with evaluating alternatives to TMDLs. We thoroughly understand the benefits and limitations of various models and approaches utilized to develop TMDLs and how the results may be interpreted and addressed by agencies and municipalities.




Expertise in GIS analysis and mapping is essential for watershed planning. Third Rock utilizes extensive GIS mapping and analysis to organize and interpret all available data and monitoring results in order to effectively target and prioritize locations for environmental projects and management practices that are beneficial for specific watersheds. Our collective experience in GIS mapping, statistical analysis, and data management is applied to evaluate causes of watershed impairment, assess potential sources of pollution, link pollutant loading to suspected land uses, and identify environmentally sensitive areas. This information is subsequently used to develop effective strategies that can be implemented to improve impaired watersheds.    



Coupling water quality data analysis with our GIS capabilities, Third Rock helps state agencies, municipalities, private businesses, and non-profits identify areas in which stormwater best management practices (BMPs) can achieve the greatest benefit at the lowest cost. Depending on the needs of the client, we develop site-specific BMPs for relatively small sites up to basin and watershed levels. Our team typically focuses on green infrastructure and stormwater BMPs intended to control the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff in ways that mimic natural systems, such as stormwater wetlands, bioretention areas, stream and wetland restoration, rain gardens, riparian buffers, and vegetated swales. We will also assist clients with innovative concepts for stormwater management such as land preservation, public education, and the development of ordinances to guide low-impact development. Third Rock locates sites, assists with acquiring project funding, develops detailed designs, obtains environmental permits, provides oversight during construction, performs post-construction monitoring, and directs long-term maintenance of these systems.

Water Quality Study
Macroinvertebrate Sampling
GIS Analysis
MS4 Program Management
Water Quality Monitoring
Fish Survey
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