• Rachel Timokhina, CP&Y Blog Writer

Celebrating Earth Day!

Meet CP&Y's Environmental Experts

Our staff of environmental scientists, historians, and planners help our clients balance the needs of projects, infrastructure, people, nature, and resources. With extensive interdisciplinary backgrounds and expertise, our team prevents projects from being delayed by unanticipated environmental issues by staying up to date on constantly evolving regulatory requirements. We partner with government agencies, municipalities, private sector companies, and leading environmental organizations to solve complex environmental challenges in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Below are a few project examples that showcase the environmental services CP&Y provides and the experts who make those services a reality.

Your Need: Environmental Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects

Our Expert: Kelly Johnson Saladis, Senior Project Manager, Dallas, TX

Since 2014, Kelly has managed and provided technical support for the development of several hundred commercial and community solar development projects on behalf of about a half dozen solar development companies. Environmental studies are performed to support due diligence needs and comply with Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act, Sections 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act, Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements.

Kelly’s due diligence experience includes wetlands and waters delineations and corresponding report preparation, habitat and species surveys, and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. She is highly capable of managing multiple projects at varying stages concurrently, as well as subconsultants responsible for cultural resource surveys and soil and groundwater testing. Kelly’s permitting experience includes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jurisdictional Determinations (approved and preliminary), successful authorization under USACE Nationwide Permits (NWP), 12, 14, and 51 and floodplain development permits.

Bringing over 20 years of experience to our team, Kelly earned her bachelor’s in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from Binghamton University.

The Experience: 8+ Years of Client Satisfaction for Successful Renewable Energy Projects

Kelly’s experience providing and managing environmental services for renewable energy projects is exemplified in the success of previous projects and established working relationships with project developers and engineers. Kelly understands the importance of effective and ongoing communication, proactively identifying constraints and working closely with the client to avoid/minimize impacts where possible and prepare a comprehensive and timely permit application when impacts cannot be fully evaluated.

Key considerations on solar projects to date have included visual aesthetics, minimizing soil disturbance and impervious area, design modifications to minimize impacts to wetlands and endangered/threatened species habitat, seasonal construction restrictions, wetland mitigation, use of pollinator plantings, and considerations associated with minimizing impacts to the landfill cap at closed landfill sites.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Kelly Saladis over many years and on dozens of solar projects in the State of New York with varying degrees of environmental permitting complexities. I was always impressed by her extensive understanding of environmental issues and her incredible ability to problem-solve those issues. Her extensive skills and knowledge allowed us to overcome substantial development hurdles that lead to the successful and sound construction of many solar projects. In addition to her extensive environmental permitting knowledge, Kelly is an incredibly kind and supportive person who is an absolute dream to work with."

- Emilie Flanagan, Carson-Power

“When Borrego Solar expanded into the New York market Kelly became the go-to consultant for all environmental permitting. She was involved with initial site evaluation all the way through to permitting and project completion. I was always amazed by her ability to provide a status update of any project without looking it up.”

- Steve Long, Borrego Solar

Your Need: Community Impact Assessment and Environmental Justice Analysis

Our Expert: Leigh Raderschadt, Environmental Planner, Colorado Springs, CO

Leigh has written socioeconomic analysis reports, indirect impacts analysis reports, historic resource surveys, and prepared several Community Impact Assessment technical reports. She is adept at conducting research and preparing analyses for both social justice and cultural resource components of projects. Prior to joining CP&Y, Leigh worked for the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office and Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society. She earned her master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning with a specialization in Historic Preservation at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Experience: Gilcrease Expressway Extension Environmental Justice and Project Level Toll Analysis, ODOT, Tulsa, OK

As part of an Environmental Assessment re-evaluation, CP&Y documented land use and identified Environmental Justice populations in the proposed project area. As the Planner for this project, Leigh gathered and analyzed census and land use data, coordinated with multiple permitting and regulatory agencies, and conducted site visits to assess the impacts a new toll facility.

Leigh helped create the Public Involvement Plan, which included walking door-to-door to speak with residents and businesses in the study area about the project and informing them of the public meeting, holding a meeting for local clergy and non-profits and setting up an additional neighborhood meeting for residents unable to travel to attend the public meeting. Leigh completed an Environmental Justice Analysis and a Project Level Toll Analysis, which used data from the Indian Nations Council of Governments to determine the effects the facility would have on Environmental Justice populations in the region.

As Architectural Historian, Leigh also assisted with the Cultural Resources Survey documenting approximately 100 resources. She used specialized software to help create a database and Historic Preservation Resource Identification Form to expedite photo form processes.

Your Need: Biological Assessment

Our Expert: Melissa Cross, Biologist, Austin, TX

Melissa has five years of experience in the environmental field. She has experience collecting remote biological data, with an emphasis on wildlife and habitat assessment in Texas forests and the Intermountain West cold desert regions. She has prepared wetland delineation reports, biological evaluations/assessments, and helped clients maintain regulatory compliance with federal agencies.

Melissa has also prepared documentation for various projects including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, hazardous materials technical reports, habitat assessments, jurisdictional determinations, wetland delineations, and USACE Permits. The majority of Melissa’s experience is with various state agencies such as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and the Texas A&M Forest Service. Other clients include various municipalities, county governments, and the private sector.

Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in Forest Wildlife Management and a master’s in Forest Economics, both from Stephen F. Austin State University.

The Experience: SL 360 at Westlake Drive Biological Assessment, TxDOT Austin, TX

CP&Y is providing environmental services for the segment of the State Loop 360 that intersects with Westlake Drive. Our biological commitments on this project include habitat protections for the Golden-cheeked Warbler. These endangered birds are Texas natives and are found nowhere else in the world. Other commitments included: vegetation removal occurring outside of the Golden-cheeked Warbler breeding and nesting season; no new woodland canopy gaps greater than 16 feet will be created and no trees larger than 12 inches will be removed; and no temporary staging areas or vegetation removal will occur within the Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat.

Melissa served as the lead field investigator and also prepared biological documents for the project. The project included Waters of the US delineation and associated impact calculations and a biological review that focused on sensitive ecosystems and threatened and endangered species. Documents produced included a Surface Waters Analysis Form, and Tier I with associated documentation, and a biological evaluation for impacts to the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler.

Your Need: NEPA Documentation, Section 404/10 Permits & Biological Diversity

Our Expert: Josh Geyer, Environmental Planner, Houston, TX

Josh has nine years of experience as an environmental planner, with an emphasis in waters, wetlands and biological assessments. He has experience working on and preparing various National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) documents including Categorical Exclusions and Environmental Assessments. He has also prepared Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, habitat assessments, jurisdictional determinations, wetland delineations, USACE Section 404/10 Permits, Permittee Responsible Mitigation designs/plans and wetland mitigation banking agreements for a wide range of projects. His client experience includes TxDOT, Harris County, other various municipalities, and expansion projects within the private sector.

Josh has completed 40-Hour Basic Wetland Delineation Course from the Wetland Training Institute, 40-Hour Traffic Noise Model 2.5 Training, Federal Environmental Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Environmental Review and Compliance for Natural Gas Facilities and additional environmental seminars. He is a graduate of Unity College, receiving his bachelor's in Environmental Science.

The Experience: FM 1495 Bridge Replacement, TxDOT Houston District, Freeport, TX

This project consisted of replacing the FM 1495 bridge structure at the Old Brazos River in Freeport, Brazoria County for TxDOT Houston District. CP&Y provided NEPA documentation, presence/absence surveys for bottlenose dolphins, and environmental permitting services necessary for project approval and construction, which included coordination with the USACE, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), TCEQ, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas General Land Office (GLO), and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The project has been environmentally cleared under NEPA. The permitting is currently in progress and consists of an USACE NWP 14 requiring wetland mitigation credits and a USCG Bridge Permit. CP&Y conducted an extensive navigational study of the Old Brazos River and received approval from the USCG to reduce the vertical clearance of the proposed bridge. In addition to NEPA documentation and permitting, our team conducted a three-day presence/absence survey for bottlenose dolphins which resulted in a total of 10 sightings and confirmed that three separate individuals utilize the waterway.

The project team collaborated to develop acceptable bridge demolition/construction techniques and construction Best Management Practices, resulting in a determination that the proposed project would have no adverse effect on bottlenose dolphins.

Your Need: 404 Permitting and Biological Diversity

Our Expert: Amy Esguerra, Senior Biologist, San Antonio, TX

Amy has 15 years of experience and specializes in environmental permitting and biological diversity services for waters and wetlands. She is an expert in wetland delineations for the USACE permitting requirements, pre-construction notifications, and individual permits.

Amy is also highly knowledgeable in preparing other specialized documentation, including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, habitat assessments, jurisdictional determinations, Texas Water Development Board Environmental Information Documents, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) NEPA documentation for CDBG funded projects.

Amy earned her bachelor’s in Rangeland Ecology and Management from Texas A&M University and her master’s in Applied Geography Resource and Environmental Studies from Texas State University.

The Experience: San Felipe Footbridge, City of Del Rio, TX

This project consisted of improvements to two pedestrian bridges, bank retaining wall repairs, and repairs to sidewalks along an approximately 0.65-mile section of San Felipe Creek, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated critical habitat for the endangered Devils River Minnow. CP&Y provided environmental permitting services, including all agency coordination for project approval and construction.

As the Environmental Project Manager, Amy managed the preparation of a USACE NWP 3 Pre-construction Notification (PCN) for impacts that would occur to the creek as a result of the project. Per NWP General Condition 18 regarding impacts to endangered species, a Biological Assessment was also prepared to conduct Section 7 Consultation with the USFWS. After extensive coordination with the USFWS to reach an agreement on feasible best management practices (BMPs) and conservation measures, the USFWS issued a Biological Opinion and USACE issued approval for NWP 3. Amy was also responsible for managing a cultural resources subconsultant who prepared a desktop report to obtain approval from the Texas Historical Commission.

CP&Y will provide environmental oversight during construction to ensure that the measures outlined by the NWP and Biological Opinion are followed by the selected contractor. CP&Y will also provide post construction reporting requirements to complete agency coordination and permit close-out. Amy will be managing these environmental services.

Reach Out!

For more information about our environmental services, please contact CP&Y’s Environmental Program Manager Andy Atlas, ACIP by phone at 512.241.2210 or by email at aatlas@cpyi.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!