NEPA and ESA COMPLIANCE
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that agencies integrate environmental considerations into their planning processes. The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Peak Ecological Services LLC provides services in NEPA and ESA compliance with the requisite field work, as well as preparation of and contribution to NEPA and ESA compliance documents including Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments (EA), Categorical Exclusions (CEX), Biological Assessments / Biological Evaluations (BA/BE), and other environmental reports for local jurisdictions. We provide services to clients in various business sectors including transportation, ski resorts, oil and gas development, land exchanges, and residential and commercial developments.
Wetlands and CWA Permitting
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Peak Ecological Services LLC provides expertise in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved wetland delineations, nationwide and individual permit applications, functional assessments, and the design, implementation, and monitoring of wetland creations and restorations leading to successful outcomes in a cost-effective and timely manner. We also identify and map wetland fens, (old-growth wetlands), which are aquatic resources of special importance to regulatory agencies.
Rare Plant Surveys
Peak Eco regularly completes rare plant surveys for NEPA and ESA compliance documents. Target plants include federally listed species such as Ute ladies’ tresses orchid (Spiranthes diluvialis), Colorado butterfly plant (Gaura neomexicana subsp. coloradensis), Colorado hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus), DeBeque phacelia (Phacelia submutica), as well as several dozen species listed as Sensitive by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management. One of Peak Eco’s specialties is finding and identifying moonworts (Botrychium spp.), a group of rare ferns that are of special concern on USFS lands in the mountains of Colorado.
Vegetation Mapping, Monitoring and Floristics
Peak Ecological Services LLC provides comprehensive vegetation mapping services for governmental, private, and commercial sectors. Vegetation maps are produced using high quality aerial imagery, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology, digital elevation models (DEMs) and ground-truthing. Our vegetation maps adhere to the United States National Vegetation Classification (USNVC) classification system. We also provide details on plant species composition and structural diversity for each mapping polygon and the resulting maps are provided in digital format, such as in a GIS shapefile or geodatabase. In addition, Peak Eco regularly completes vegetation monitoring for baseline inventories, measuring the success of wetland mitigation performance standards and to detect year-to-year changes in sensitive plant communities. We commonly use quantitative vegetation sampling protocols including Line Point-Intercept transects and Modified-Whittaker plots to provide objective data and repeatable data in a scientifically rigorous methodology. Finally, our botanists and plant ecologists have a strong background in plant identification and taxonomy. We routinely compile comprehensive plant species lists for each field project and have led several floristic surveys in Colorado and Wyoming.
Noxious Weed Mapping and Management Plans
Peak Ecological Services LLC identifies and maps noxious and other invasive weed species using GPS and GIS technologies. We also develop Integrated Weed Management Plans that describe weed control utilizing a variety of techniques including mechanical, chemical, cultural and biological control. Peak Ecological Services is registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and holds a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license. We utilize environmentally friendly herbicides and treatment methods to control weeds for various habitat restoration projects as well as for small municipalities.
Wildlife and Avian Surveys
Peak Eco collaborates with several certified wildlife biologists to complete Spotted and Boreal Owl, Northern Goshawk, Canada Lynx, Boreal Toad, and other federally listed and rare species surveys. In addition, we have capabilities in wildlife movement corridor analysis, avian surveys for compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Our wildlife biologists also have expertise in infrared motion detection camera scent station surveys, prairie dog management, raptor nest surveys and monitoring, and small mammal surveys.
Peak Ecological Services LLC provides comprehensive ecological restoration services including concept and final design, construction oversight, planting and seeding plans, and long-term maintenance and monitoring to achieve desired goals. We have the expertise to guide successful restoration projects from inception to completion. Our ecological restoration expertise includes: riparian habitats, wetlands, streams, wetland, prairie and grassland, alpine, sagebrush, post-fire restoration, and Clean Water Act requirements, and more.
Conservation Easement Baseline Studies and Reports
Peak Ecological Services LLC provides Conservation Easement Baseline Reports in accordance with Internal Revenue Service and Land Trust Alliance guidelines for landowners, state and local governments, and land trusts throughout Colorado. A baseline documentation report provides detailed information about the property, such as the current condition, improvements, unusual ecological, historical, geological features, rare plant species, ecological communities and wildlife. Photos and maps are also provided in support of documenting the baseline condition of the property.
Peak Eco employs advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allowing the collection of highly accurate ecological and geographic data. Field mapping of vegetation types, wetlands, rare plant populations, invasive weeds, wildlife habitat, riparian areas, and stream features is performed using either Garmin or Trimble GPS equipment and then digitized into Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ARCMap software. We also routinely work with civil engineers to prepare Computer Aided Design (CAD) mapping products for a variety of projects.
Together with our GIS experts, Peak Eco can provide advanced spatial analysis, LIDAR processing, cartography and 3D visualization. We excel at synthesizing complex scientific information into maps, graphics, and animations for clear, concise knowledge transfer. We maintain fluency in the most up-to-date ESRI programs, including ARC-based database designs, development, and documentation; spatial analysis, modeling, and report preparation; and production of high-quality cartographic products.