To properly define and site new projects or expand existing ones, SHN’s professional engineers, geologists, and planners realize that understanding the biological environment is critical. Offering biological services completes the range of client needs that SHN strives to provide, and we have acquired biological expertise by hiring well qualified, energetic, and enthusiastic biologists and botanists.
Biologists and botanists increase project value by finding ways that a project can still occur but with less impact, and therefore less regulation, permitting, and cost. For example, delineating a wetland and moving the project outside of its vicinity is a good example of mitigation by avoidance. Fish relocation during temporary dewatering bridge or road construction is another avoidance mitigation that SHN has successfully conducted.
Although fish, particularly salmonids, receive much environmental attention, other aquatic organisms such as amphibians, turtles, and eels are also special status species. One of our earliest aquatic organism passage projects was in 1982, for the Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District. Since then we have designed or assessed fish passage projects for transportation construction companies, land trusts, and non-governmental organizations such as California Trout.
Sometimes biological research is needed to determine if impacts may occur; for example, we are performing multi-year studies to quantify how oyster production methods might affect eelgrass in Humboldt Bay (see Biological Services projects).
The following is a partial list of SHN’s biological services:
- Nesting bird surveys
- Wetland delineation
- Wetland design and restoration
- Stream habitat typing
- Botanical (terrestrial, aquatic, and marine) surveys
- Wildlife and fisheries surveys
- Aquatic organisms passage (fish, amphibians)
- Mitigation programs (plans and monitoring)
- Endangered Species Act Biological Assessments/Biological Evaluations
- Ecological restoration and design