General Environmental Engineering Services
E Sciences has been providing the City of Fort Lauderdale (City) with ongoing environmental engineering support since 2008. The scope of the contract is broad and provides us with on-going opportunities to support the City in a variety of ways. E Sciences prepares environmental checklists and environmental assessments to facilitate the City’s compliance with NEPA for improvement projects funded by the HUD. These projects range from neighborhood entranceway improvements such as cross-walks, lighting, monuments, curbing and landscaping, to roadway/sidewalk improvements and housing rehabilitations. In addition, we provide similar NEPA compliance services to nonprofit organizations seeking HUD funding through the City. The following are highlights of some of those projects:
City-wide Neighborhood Improvement Project –
HUD Floodplain Management Eight-Step Process
Per HUD requirements, proposed improvements within a floodplain require an evaluation of potential impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of the floodplain, also referred to as an “eight-step process” (24 CFR §55.20). The Eight-Step Decision Making Process for floodplain management under HUD regulations includes public notices and an evaluation of practicable alternatives. In order to assist the City with this potential recurring and time-consuming obstacle to funding, E Sciences developed a City-wide process for the eight-step process to be conducted for each project that may occur within a 100-year floodplain or a 500-year floodplain (for a “Critical Action”). A Critical Action means any activities for which even a slight change of flooding would be too great, because such flooding might result in loss of life, injury to persons, or damage to property. The deliverable was a final notice to serve as documentation of compliance with the decision making process for future similar projects within the City. This documentation record is being provided to HUD with each environmental review package for projects located within a 100-year floodplain.
Environmental Assessment – South Middle River Improvement
E Sciences completed an environmental assessment of the project area to satisfy HUD financial support for paving and drainage improvements along a section of the South Middle River neighborhood. E Sciences completed an Environmental Review and completed the Statutory Worksheet for HUD projects potentially qualifying as a Categorical Exclusion per 24 CFR Part 58.25(a). The Worksheet includes an environmental assessment of potential impacts to historic properties, floodplain management, wetland protection, coastal zone management, sole source aquifers, endangered species, Wild and Scenic Rivers, air quality, farmlands, environmental justice, noise abatement, explosives and flammables, toxic and radioactive chemicals and airport clear zones. The results of the evaluation determined that the project did not qualify as a categorical exclusion and required completion of the NEPA Environmental Assessment Checklist. In addition, E Sciences had previously completed the Eight-Step Decision Making Process for Floodplain Management for the project area. The Eight-Step Decision Making Process is completed in order to evaluate compliance for Projects located within a floodplain or within a designated wetland. In this case, it was triggered by the location of the project within a floodplain and included public notice, evaluation of practicable alternative locations, identification of potential direct and indirect impacts, minimization of impacts and restoration and preservation of beneficial values of the floodplain.
Environmental Assessment – Grace Community Development
E Sciences was contracted to perform a HUD Environmental Review for an industrial property that was proposed to be redeveloped as a community center. The Environmental Review consisted of the Statutory Worksheet for Categorically Excluded projects. The preparation of this worksheet requires coordination with environmental regulatory agencies, including the State Historic Preservation Office, the FDEP, and the EPA. The Statutory Worksheet includes a Determination section with three options. If the project does not require mitigation for compliance with listed statutes or authorities, nor require formal permit or license, then it converts to exempt status. Based on the proposed change in use of the property, it was determined that the project does did qualify as a Categorical Exclusion and required a higher level of review. Therefore, E Sciences completed an Environmental Assessment and completion of the HUD’s NEPA Environmental Assessment Checklist, including an alternatives analysis, and the Environmental Assessment Worksheet to comply with federal laws and authorities.
Statutory Worksheet – Community Redevelopment Agency Resurfacing Projects
The City required an environmental evaluation of the project area to satisfy HUD requirements for providing financial support for resurfacing streets within the Fort Lauderdale CRA boundary. The approximate area of the project encompassed approximately 1,400 acres. The scope of our services included the preparation of an Environmental Review to comply with federal laws and authorities that would apply to HUD under the NEPA. The City had previously submitted an Area-wide Floodplain Management Eight-Step Decision-Making Process to HUD for projects of similar nature and scope that are eligible for CDBG funds. However this particular activity (resurfacing) was not contemplated by the City at the time of the preparation of the Area-wide Floodplain Management Eight-Step Decision Making Process documentation. Based upon our review of FEMA maps, the projects contemplated under this environmental review included areas within the floodplain requiring that the City evaluate the project in those areas in accordance with the citywide process. E Sciences performed a review of the CRA area and review of internal and public documents to evaluate existing environmental conditions as they relate to HUD regulations within the CRA and potential for impacts. The final deliverable was a Statutory Worksheet with the supporting documentation verifying compliance.