BLM and BIA reach a major planning milestone for the Great Plains
November 2019—On November 1, the Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Final Joint EIS/BLM RMP and BIA Integrated RMP was published. The planning area includes 270 million acres of federal, tribal trust, state, county, and private lands in 437 counties, and covers BLM- and BIA-administered surface lands and subsurface mineral estate. This included extensive collaboration with cooperating agencies and stakeholders to plan economic use of BLM- and BIA-administered lands, while conserving important natural and cultural resources.
BLM seeks comments on the Coeur Rochester and Packard Mines project
October 2019—The BLM, with assistance from EMPSi, has released the draft Coeur Rochester and Packard Mines Plan of Operations Amendment 11 EIS. The EIS assesses the expansion of silver mining operations at the existing Coeur Rochester and Packard Mines. Key issues analyzed in the EIS include hydrology, geochemistry, and cultural resources. The public comment period runs until December 2, 2019.
Helping guide USFWS National Wildlife Refuge management
September 2019—EMPSi is teaming with the US Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region to develop conservation assessments for National Wildlife Refuge Resources of Concern. The assessments will synthesize threats, conservation needs, and other information for 50 key plant and wildlife species and will inform comprehensive conservation plans that guide Southeast Region refuge management.
Improving passage of Lahontan cutthroat trout on the Truckee River in Nevada
September 2019—EMPSi joined the Bureau of Reclamation and its federal and state partners at Derby Dam to celebrate the start of a $23.3-million infrastructure project that promises great improvements for recovery of the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout. EMPSi provided permitting for the Derby Dam Fish Screen Project, which will allow passage for this iconic species around the Derby Dam, and greatly improve access to historic spawning habitat in the Truckee River.
Leading the way for riparian restoration in northern New Mexico
August 2019—EMPSi is working with the Forest Service to develop a riparian, wetland, and aquatic habitat restoration toolbox that can be applied within the Cibola, Santa Fe, and Carson National Forests. As part of the process, EMPSi is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Biological Evaluation, and coordinating with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the New Mexico Environment Department. Ultimately, the toolbox will provide an efficient process for implementing projects that benefit watershed health, water quality, and recovery of threatened, endangered, and sensitive species.
EMPSi opens a new office in Alaska!
August 2019—EMPSi recently opened a new office in Anchorage. This strategic move allows EMPSi to continue improving services to address the unique challenges facing our clients in the Last Frontier. The depth of experience of the Anchorage staff ensures that EMPSi can provide its clients with sound and scientific management and deliverables in an ever-changing and developing regulatory environment.
Improving water quality in the Colorado River
July 2019—Under two new contracts, EMPSi is continuing its support of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. EMPSi is working with the Bureau of Reclamation to improve the Paradox Valley Unit, which annually removes and disposes of approximately 100,000 tons of naturally occurring salt from the Dolores River, thereby reducing salinity in the Colorado River and benefiting downstream users.
What’s shaking at EMPSi
July 2019—EMPSi is assisting the US Geological Survey to locate 250 earthquake seismic monitoring stations within 30 National Forests along the West Coast of the US. EMPSi is conducting a GIS constraints analysis to ensure locations avoid sensitive resources, including habitat for the northern spotted owl. The results of the analysis will inform biological analyses for biological assessments, biological evaluations, and NEPA documentation.
Fuel breaks in the Great Basin: An effective tool to combat wildfires
June 2019—The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin for a 45-day public comment period. EMPSi assisted in preparing the EIS, which analyzes a system of up to 11,000 miles of strategically placed fuel breaks to control wildfires within a 223 million-acre area that includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.
Water planning services grow in Pacific Northwest with $30 million contract
June 2019—EMPSi is excited to continue our work with the US Bureau of Reclamation under a new 5-year contract to provide environmental and cultural resources services for projects in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. Through this contract with Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region, we will support efforts such as drought planning, infrastructure design, and habitat restoration.
Leading the way to resolve litigation on effects from mineral development
May 2019—EMPSi collaborated with the BLM to develop two draft supplemental EISs and resource management plan amendments for the Buffalo and Miles City Field Offices to resolve recent litigation on downstream effects of coal development on climate change. Our innovative streamlining techniques allowed us to conduct detailed air and socioeconomic modeling and prepare the draft supplemental EISs ahead of schedule and in under 3 months.
BLM seeks comments on Lewistown resource management plan
May 2019—The BLM, with assistance from EMPSi, has released the draft Lewistown resource management plan and EIS, which will provide management guidance for the Lewistown Field Office and portions of the Butte Field Office in Montana. The plan addresses key issues, such as minerals and energy development, livestock grazing, and recreation, as well as completion of Wild and Scenic Rivers evaluation.
Our natural resources services in the northeastern US keep expanding
April 2019—The Forest Service has awarded EMPSi a five-year, $15 million Blanket Purchase Agreement contract for environmental analysis and decision-making activities across 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie within the eastern region (Region 9). The contract allows EMPSi to support the Forest Service in meeting their forest planning, NEPA, and public engagement needs.
Vegetation management for the Forest Service in Lake George, CO
April 2019—EMPSi is pleased to have assisted the US Forest Service in preparing an EA and specialist reports for fuels reduction and forest health near Lake George, CO on the Pike National Forest. The EA analyzed what vegetation treatments could improve forest health, while reducing the severity of fire impacts on watersheds or infrastructure and increasing public safety and potential successful fire suppression when necessary.
Awards season comes to EMPSi!
March 2019—EMPSi is honored to receive the Gold Medal achievement award from Environmental Business International (EBI). We also received an EBI award for natural resource management with our NPS invasive plant species plan for two national recreation areas, which will be a template for future nationwide plans.The Climate Change Business Journal further recognized EMPSi for continued growth in the sustainability, renewable energy, and climate resiliency markets.
Managing predators to protect species of concern on the SE US coastline
March 2019—EMPSi assisted the National Park Service and their Southeast Region parks in preparing a Predation Management Plan and programmatic EA, which were shared for public review in fall 2018 and a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed in March 2019. The plan examines options for protecting coastal species of concern, including listed shorebirds, sea turtles and beach mice from the threat of predators.
EMPSi and Bureau of Reclamation win NAEP environmental award
February 2019—EMPSi and Reclamation’s Albuquerque Office won the Environmental Excellence NEPA Planning Award from the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) for the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System. The project will deliver reliable, safe drinking water to the Pueblos of San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Nambé, and Tesuque, along with non-tribal residents of Santa Fe County in northern New Mexico. Selected as the winner out of over 30 nominations, we look forward to accepting the award at the NAEP Annual Conference in May 2019.
EMPSi continues to expand environmental services in Alaska
February 2019—EMPSi has been awarded a contract from the BLM to develop a new Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope. Through the IAP, EMPSi will assist the BLM in determining appropriate management to balance promotion of energy development while protecting important natural resources, such as caribou, polar bear, migratory birds, and subsistence activities.
BLM and EMPSi to analyze energy-related actions in Montana and Wyoming
January 2019—EMPSi will employ its experience in issue-based analyses to assist the BLM in developing supplemental EISs and resource management plan amendments for the Buffalo and Miles City Field Offices. The analysis is fast-tracked based on a court order and will focus on downstream emissions, climate change, social values, economics, and environmental justice impacts from the coal and fluid minerals programs.
EMPSi expands renewable energy services in Nevada
December 2018—EMPSi is excited to continue our work with the BLM Southern Nevada District Office by teaming to prepare a Programmatic Analysis for Solar Avoidance and Variance Environmental Assessment. The Programmatic EA will streamline environmental compliance for future regional solar projects by identifying areas where utility-scale solar development could conflict with the District’s unique resources and uses.
US Forest Service awards Ashley NF Forest Plan Revision EIS to EMPSi
November 2018—EMPSi will bring our NEPA expertise to the Ashley National Forest to assist them with the EIS phase of their Forest Plan Revision process. The Ashley National Forest began their Forest Plan revision in 2016 to address current ecological, economic, and social conditions and trends. The EIS will disclose potential impacts of the proposed Forest Plan and alternatives, while providing opportunities for public participation.
EMPSi awarded $50 million nationwide Environmental Services contract for the US Department of the Interior and USDA, Forest Service
October 2018—EMPSi’s award-winning services can now be accessed nationally by any agency within DOI or the USDA, Forest Service. This Blanket Purchase Agreement simplifies the acquisition process and covers a full range of services, including planning, NEPA compliance, natural resource management, data collection, monitoring, modeling, public outreach and collaboration, and training.
EMPSi expands natural resources services in New Mexico and Arizona through $20 million contract
October 2018—EMPSi was awarded an Environmental Analysis and Studies Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with the US Forest Service, Region 3. The BPA contract enables EMPSi to assist the Forest Service in meeting their natural resource, forest planning, and NEPA compliance needs for all forests in their Southwest Region.
EMPSi to continue its great work with Reclamation
October 2018—The US Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region manages complex water issues across 8 western states to balance diverse needs including industrial, agricultural, hydropower, environmental, and recreation. EMPSi is pleased to extend our long history working with the Region under a new $30 million, 5-year contract for a range of services, including resource surveys, public engagement, and compliance.
One less barrier to listed fish recovery in the Truckee River
September 2018—EMPSi was awarded a contract from the Bureau of Reclamation to develop environmental compliance documentation for the Derby Dam Fish Screen Project near Reno, Nevada. This effort will help federally protected species recovery with a new facility thats allows migrating Lahontan cutthroat trout and cui-ui to safely bypass a dam on their way to Pyramid Lake from spawning habitat in the Truckee River.
Teaming to improve Utah’s National Forests
September 2018—EMPSi is excited to continue our work with the Manti-La Sal National Forest by teaming to prepare a Forest Plan Revision and EIS. The Forest Plan Revision will outline management goals and objectives for the various resources on the forest, and seek to improve forest and resource conditions for the future.
Another win for EMPSi and Wild and Scenic River Studies
August 2018—Building off of its work developing a regional approach to Wild and Scenic River eligibility studies, EMPSi has been awarded a contract from the US Forest Service’s Intermountain Region to develop and implement a regional approach for WSR suitability studies as well. By using this approach, the Forest Service ensures consistency across forests in the region while providing defensible decisions.
Managing invasive plants streamlines future efforts
August 2018—EMPSi assisted the NPS Redwood National Park and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in preparing an Invasive Plant Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. This provides comprehensive approaches to streamline invasive plant management planning for other National Parks, while protecting each park’s natural and cultural resources from the impacts of nonnative, invasive plants.
NPS to balance grazing with other uses in Utah
July 2018—Capitol Reef National Park has released a livestock grazing management plan and EA for public review. EMPSi assisted the NPS in preparing the plan and EA, which provide guidance and tools for long-term management of grazing activities within the park's mandates. Ranching is recognized as a traditional use in Capitol Reef, and the proposed management seeks to minimize or mitigate any impacts from grazing.
BLM looking for public input on management plan in Arizona
July 2018—The BLM, with assistance from EMPSi, has released the draft resource management plan and DEIS for San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona, which will provide management guidance for the 58,250-acre NCA. The public is encouraged to provide feedback and comments on this proposed management within the 90-day comment period from June 29 to September 27, 2018.
EMPSi opens a new office in Durango!
June 2018—EMPSi has opened a new office in Durango, Colorado. This strategic move allows EMPSi to continue improving service for our clients in the western US. The depth of experience of the Durango staff further ensures that EMPSi can provide our clients with sound and scientific management and deliverables in an ever-changing regulatory environment.
Finding of No Significant Impact for the Isabella Pearl mining project
May 2018—Within 7 months from notice to proceed, EMPSi completed an EA and helped prepare a FONSI for the Isabella Pearl mining project. Our streamlined approach included evaluating an open-pit mine, waste rock dump, and a heap leach facility, with the environmental review including required coordination with the USFWS and Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Forest Service awards EMPSi a $10-million BPA contract
Mar. 2018—The US Forest Service awarded EMPSi a 5-year, $10-million Blanket Purchase Agreement for NEPA support services in Region 8, which includes 13 southeastern states from Virginia to Florida and west to Texas, as well as Puerto Rico. EMPSi will perform environmental analyses, resources studies, and Forest planning under the contract.
Platte River restoration benefits whooping cranes and other sensitive species
Mar. 2018—The Bureau of Reclamation has partnered with EMPSi to prepare an EA for their proposed extension of the Platte River Recovery providing water storage and recovery projects, land acquisition/management, and monitoring/research to improve habitat for whooping cranes, interior least terns, piping plovers, and pallid sturgeon.
Streamlining fishing and NEPA in Wyoming
Feb. 2018—To provide additional public access and economic activity in northwest Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National Forest authorized 5 special use permits for guided fishing on 4 rivers in the Blackrock Ranger District. EMPSi worked with the Forest using a focused EA and supporting documents to complete the project in only 3.5 months.
Our geothermal work is heating up
Feb. 2018—As one of the most reliable renewable energy sources, the geothermal power industry continues to grow and innovate. EMPSi is working with the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories to permit the FORGE project for testing new geothermal technologies near Fallon, Nevada.
EMPSi helps reduce wildfires and improve rangelands
Jan. 2018—The BLM is trying to reduce the threat of wildfires and support rangeland productivity in the Great Basin, and EMPSi is helping with hosting 14 scoping meetings in six western states (CA, ID, NV, OR, UT and WA) to obtain public input on fuel breaks, hazardous fuels reduction, and rangeland restoration for use in future planning.