National Environmental Policy Act

WEST has extensive consulting experience in environmental review and regulation compliance, including work under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We offer professional leadership through all phases of NEPA compliance, including project development, alternatives screening, preparation of the environmental analysis and documentation, interagency coordination, public scoping and outreach, and concluding with publication of the findings and decision. We work with agencies to streamline the NEPA process and produce concise, focused, legally-defensible documents. The WEST team closely follows any changes in NEPA regulations and subsequent agency procedures to ensure our clients review the support needed to navigate a successful NEPA process.

Our staff has conducted NEPA compliance in support of various agencies, including the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Area Power Administration, National Park Service, Bonneville Power Administration, various State Departments of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Agriculture, and US Department of Defense. Our NEPA projects have included work on wind energy projects, transmission lines, oil and gas development, municipal water supply projects, agricultural water supply projects, reservoir restoration projects, wildlife reintroductions, and Incidental Take Permits.

Project Highlights

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Halligan Water Supply Project EIS

WEST is the lead contractor for an interdisciplinary team of seven subcontractors preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Halligan Water Supply Project. The City of Fort Collins, Colorado, is seeking a Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) permit from USACE for enlarging an existing reservoir on the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River. As lead contractor, WEST supervises and participates in all phases of the EIS process, including crafting and validating the purpose and need statement, facilitating and conducting scoping efforts, engaging in the alternatives screening process, reviewing the impact analysis protocols and associated technical reports, producing the EIS document, and conducting applicant status meetings, team coordination meetings, and budget review. As resource specialists, WEST is responsible for conducting the Biological Evaluation for the comparative effects analysis for alternatives. 

This project involves a controversial resource, water on the Front Range of Colorado. The NEPA process has been complex as two other reservoir projects are proposed within the Poudre River Basin. The presence of the two other projects require all the project applicants to have a high level of agreement on a number of topics, including the current and future water use, water supply in the Poudre River Basin, and coordination on analysis protocols.

The Draft EIS and all associated Technical Reports were provided to the public in November of 2019. USACE anticipates releasing the Final EIS in the early spring of 2021. 

Environmental Assessment for the Rehabilitation of Cabrestro Dam

The Cabresto Dam (Dam) was originally built in 1922 and is jointly owned by two irrigation associations. It is located on the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico. In 2005, seepage was detected through the base of the Dam after warm temperatures and rapid snow melt in the surrounding mountains caused a swift rise of water in the Cabresto Reservoir, quickly reaching the spillway. The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Dam Safety Bureau, placed water storage limits on the Dam, which prevented the irrigation associations from using Cabresto Reservoir to store water for late-season irrigation. The owners of the Dam wanted to rehabilitate the Dam and restore their full storage rights. The state of New Mexico wanted to minimize risk to public safety related to seepage, inadequate spillway capacity, and other structural concerns. The US Forest Service wanted to protect downstream natural resources and public and private property.

Rehabilitation of the Dam required a Special Use Permit from the Carson National Forest and a Section 404 Permit from USACE. Prior to issuing the Special Use Permit and Section 404 Permit, the National Environmental Policy Act requires that these federal agencies assess the environmental effects of their actions prior to making decisions. WEST, as a third-party contractor, prepared the Environmental Assessment for the Dam on behalf of the Carson National Forest, the lead federal agency. The Environmental Assessment was fast-tracked due to public safety concerns associated with the condition of the Dam. WEST worked closely with the engineers of the Dam, the US Forest Service, other state and federal agencies, and interested parties to complete the Environmental Assessment quickly and within budget.