Apricot Lane Farms – Pond Restoration Project David Magney Environmental Consulting (DMEC) was contracted to restore a 1.5-acre agricultural pond with the primary objective on improving wildlife habitat in and adjacent to the pond.   The primary goal is to improve the pond's water-holding capacity and establish native wetland plants in and around the pond, and extent native wildlife habitat on adjacent upland slopes.   The farm, located near Moorpark, California, is a working biodynamic farm, growing primarily organic fruits, including Apricots (of course), peaches, avocados, and lemons.   The farm also includes pastures for livestock, including sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, and a few horses, with all elements of the farm cycled and recycled onsite, including the muck and excess tules from the pond.   DMEC is assisted with the design by Rob Maday Landscape Design and major grading is being conducted by Channel Islands Excavation.   The original plastic liner for the pond, installed over 30 years ago, is being replaced with a clay layer, with the clay obtained from a mine less than five miles distant in Grimes Canyon.   While the clay layer alone should hold the water, in a natural way, we are using a natural polymer to seal the clay layer even more with a product, ESS-13, from Seepage Control, Inc. to provide an extra level of insurance that the pond will remain wet.   The pond includes an aeration system (by EP Aeration of San Luis Obispo) to keep the water oxygenated, floating islands (by Floating Islands West, Inc., of Mokelumne Hill, CA), and a floating dock (by JM Construction, Inc. out of Bradley, CA), with all work expected to be completed by mid-February 2013.   Plowboy Landscaping (of Ventura) was the landscape contractor awarded the contract to install the irrigation system, walkway, and landscaping.   All the plants used were locally obtained natives from Matilija Nursery and El Nativo Nursery, with some of the wetlands species from coastal Santa Barbara County (from Santa Barbara Natives).
Converse Consultants/Ames Construction - I-215 HOV Lanes Project Biological Monitoring DMEC has been contracted to conduct pre-construction surveys along a 7.5-mile-long stretch of Iinterstate 215 from Colton to Grand Terrace, California.   DMEC biologists is developing a Biological Resources Information Program for the project and will monitor all construciton activities to protect sensitive biological resources present.   Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2013 and be completed in mid-2014.
Converse Consultants/OmniTrans - sbX E Street Line Biological Monitoring DMEC has been contracted to conduct pre-construction surveys at selected construction sites in San Bernardino to locate and protect Western Burrowing Owl (and other migratory bird species) nests.   DMEC biologists are conducting protocol-level field surveys for the owl and is developing a mitigation and monitoring plan to protect existing nests.   DMEC biologists will monitor all construciton activities to protect sensitive biological resources present.   Construction is scheduled to begin in Winter 2013 and be completed in Spring 2014.
CRC Enterprises - Queen of Angels Catholic Church Biological Assessment DMEC was contracted to conduct a biological assessment of the Queen of Angels Church property in the Mission Hills area north of Lompoc, California.   The Church needs to legalize previous lot splits and the County of Santa Barbara must comply with CEQA, hence a biological resources assessment was required.   DMEC biologists surveyed the church property, half of which contains a church, school, rectory, and relative facilities, while the other half is undeveloped and containing Burton Mesa Chaparral, a rare plant community.   DMEC found the undeveloped portion to contain six rare vascular plant species and a rich lichen flora.
The Wildlands Conservancy – Botany Survey of Wind Wolves Preserve DMEC was contracted to conduct rare plant surveys of the low elevation areas of the Wind Wolves Preserve in southwestern Kern County, totalling 27,000 acres.   The primary goal is to find rare plants in the valley floor and lower foothills portions of the preserve.   The Conservancy contracted with California State University Stanislaus, Endangered Species Recovery Program to do a number of biological surveys of the Preserve, and CSUS then hired DMEC to conduct the botanical surveys.   DMEC began surveying the Preserve in March 2010 and finished them July 2010.   Yes, DMEC found several rare plants.
Tejon Ranch Conservancy – Botany Survey of Tejon Ranch DMEC was contracted to conduct floristic surveys of five seperate areas of the Tejon Ranch, totalling over 62,000 acres.   The primary goal was to determine the flora of each of the five areas, known as: White Wolf, Old Headquarters, Michener, Bi-Centennial, and Tri-Centennial.   The Conservancy has since purchased conservation easements on one or more of the areas of the ranch, the floristic data will be used to help manage those areas to preserve the native botanical resources found.   DMEC began surveying the five large areas in March 2009 and completed the field surveys in mid-July 2009.   A number of rare plants were found during the surveys and many previously unknown (undescribed) vegetation alliances (plant communities) were identified as part of the floristic surveys.
Environmental Defense Center – Oxnard 2030 General Plan Review DMEC was contracted to critically review the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the City's draft 2030 General Plan proposed in February 2009.   The primary issues to the Environmental Defense Center's clients (Los Padres Chapter Sierra Club and the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County) are biological resources and Ormond Beach habitats and restoration.   A more detailed discussion of the issues raised by DMEC is available by clicking here.   The DEIR and draft 2030 General Plan can be viewed at the Oxnard Planning Division's website.
Environmental Defense Center – Naples Development EIR Review DMEC was contracted to critically review the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) for the proposed Santa Barbara Ranch and Dos Pueblos Ranch, collectively known as Naples, located on the south coast of Santa Barbara County.   The primary issue is the status of grassland habitat that dominates the project site, and whether the loss of approximately 200 acres of these grasslands is significant.   DMEC's comment letter of 23 January 2008 on the Draft EIR can be read here.   The EIRs can be viewed at the Santa Barbara County's website.
Western Pacific [Housing] Series (D.R. Horton) – Lyons Canyon Ranch Wetlands Delineation and Permitting DMEC was contracted to delineate all jurisdictional waters and wetlands present on the approximately 400-acre Lyons Canyon Ranch property located in western Newhall in Los Angeles County.   The project site burned in the October 2003 Simi Fire and removed nearly all the natural vegetation, requiring DMEC to apply Atypical Situation delineation methods to accurately determine the extent and location of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps') jurisdictional waters of the U.S., including wetlands.   DMEC also mapped riparian and wetlands habitats that are under the California Department of Fish and Game’s jurisdiction.   The Corps verified the wetland delineation after minor modifications were made.   DMEC is assisting Western Pacific with obtaining necessary permits to fill a portion of the wetlands onsite to accommodate the proposed development.   DMEC will be preparing a detailed wetland mitigation and monitoring plan for the permitting process of the project.
Link to Wetland Delineation.
Western Pacific [Housing] Series – Lyons Canyon Ranch Oak Tree Impact Assessment DMEC assisted the developer of the nearly 400-acre Lyons Canyon Ranch property in western Newhall, Los Angeles County, to assess project-related impacts to native oak trees onsite.   DMEC developed a robust GIS database compiling the results of three certified arborists’ reports to determine the distribution, identity, value, and potential for direct or indirect impacts to native oak trees as a result of the proposed commercial and residential development.   This report, submitted to the City of Santa Clarita, was considered the best and most detailed the City had every received.
County of Ventura Planning Division – Map & GIS Database of Vegetation of Ventura County DMEC created a GIS database and map of the natural vegetation of mainland Ventura County.   The map and GIS database was created by gathering together existing GIS vegetation maps for various portions of the county from federal, state, and local sources, including inhouse data previously created by DMEC.   The most accurate and refined sources were used to replace less accurate or coarser data, resulting in a patchwork GIS database.   This database was then attributed across all remaining parts with a consistent classification system, following the California Native Plant Society's Manual of California Vegetation, which following national and international protocols, and adopted by the California Department of Fish and Game.   Additional attributes were included to differentiate between wetland and upland habitats.   The original source data were retained.   The results will be used to provide a first approximation of the diversity, quantity, and distribution of plant communities present within Ventura County.   This GIS database will be updated on a project-by-project basis, following the CNPS protocols to provide consistency countywide.   A description of the process and graphic of the results can be viewed here. Contact:   Lorraine Rubin, Grants Coordinator, Ventura County Planning Division.
California State Coastal Conservancy – Wetland Functional Assessments DMEC prepared a detailed assessment of wetland functions at Camarillo Regional Park, using the Hydrogeomorphic Assessment Method (HGM) approach, in mid-2004.   DMEC identified baseline conditions at the park and compared positive and negative changes to those functions according to three project scenarios: 1) an 18-hole golf course; 2) enhancement of existing onsite wetlands; and 3) expansion and enhancement of existing wetlands.   The results of the assessment were presented in a report containing explanations on how each of the 14 wetland functions would change compared to baseline conditions.   The purpose of this study was to determine how a golf course would affect specific wetland functions, and how various wetland functions could be improved onsite through habitat enhancement and wetland expansion.   Contact:   Peter Brand, Project Manager, California Coastal Conservancy.
Link to Wetland Functional Assessment Report.
Desert Tortoise Preservation Committee – Harwood’s Milkvetch Botanical Survey During the spring of 2003, DMEC botanists conducted intensive field surveys for historic populations of Harwood’s Milkvetch (Astragalus insularis var. harwoodii) in the Chuckwalla Mountains, Chuckwalla Bench, and Needles area of the Colorado Desert, California.   One historic population was rediscovered and assessed by DMEC, and three new populations were discovered by DMEC.   Two historic populations were found to be extirpated.
North Vineyard Greens – Wetland Permiting and Mitigation Planning DMEC was retained to assist the North Vineyard Greens residential developer, located in southern Sacramento County, with obtaining permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Regional Water Quality Control Board to fill approximately 1.6 acres of jurisdictional seasonal wetlands, including one small vernal pool present onsite.   DMEC prepared an Alternatives Analysis pursuant to Section 404(B)(1) of the Clean Water Act, which was deemed satisfactory by the Corps.   DMEC prepared a detailed wetland mitigation plan that will recreate all impacted jurisdictional wetlands onsite, adjacent to and connected to Gerber Creek, which will be realigned and widened by the County of Sacramento.   DMEC also prepared a detailed Biological Assessment of the project site to satisfy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act (Section 10) requirements to assist them with issuing a Biological Opinion on the project's likelihood (not likely) to threaten listed species presumed to be present onsite with extinction (Jeopardy Opinion).   Contact:   Peter Daru, North Vineyard Greens, Sacramento, California.
RPM Services, Inc. – Cape Master/The Cape Eucalyptus Tree Assessment DMEC was retained by property managers, RPM Services of Ventura, to assess 38 mature Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus) trees for health, safety, and maintenance needs.   The two multi-family housing developments, built in the 1980s, contains the remains of an old agricultural windrow of Eucalyptus trees that were originally planted over 50 years ago as a windbreak for citrus orchards.   The City of Ventura required the windrow to be protected and incorporated into the housing development.   Such plantings require periodic assessment and maintenance.   The trees ranged in height from 70 to 120 feet and 20 to 54 inches DBH.   Contact:   Candace Hamilton, Manager, RPM Services.
City of Calabasas/LSA Associates – Ahmanson Ranch Development EIR Review DMEC was retained to assist the City of Calabasas, through LSA Associates, to critically review and comment on the draft and final Supplemental EIR for the Ahmanson Ranch development project.   The project was located in Ventura County, adjacent to the City of Calabasas.   DMEC focused its review and comments on the adequacy of the CEQA document, impact assessments, and feasibility of the proposed mitigation measures to adequately compensate for the impacts to significant biological resources present onsite and nearby.   Contact:   Richard Harlacher, Senior Biologist, LSA Associates.
L.C. Lee & Associates [now BBL, Inc.]/U.S. Justice Department – Wetland Violation Expert Witness DMEC assisted L.C. Lee & Associates and the U.S. Department of Justice with an enforcement action against the Adam Brothers for a serious alleged Clean Water Act violation in western Santa Barbara County, California.   DMEC is providing the team with wetland vegetation/botanical consulting expertise.   Contact:   Lyndon Lee, President, L.C. Lee & Associates (now VP at BBL).
Aspen Environmental Group – Matilija Dam/Ventura River Habitat Assessment DMEC assisted Aspen and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine existing conditions in the Ventura River by mapping and describing the natural vegetation and habitats within the bed and banks of the river (100-year floodplain), for approximately 17 miles.   This project is in support of the Matilija Dam removal project to restore vital spawning habitat to the endangered Southern Steelhead Trout.   The vegetation within the river was mapped and classified according to the USFWS (Cowardin) wetland habitats classification system.   Contact:   Tom Scofield, Senior Biologist, Aspen Environmental Group.
Contra Costa Water District – Interim Service Area Endangered Species Habitat Map DMEC prepared habitat maps of listed species within the Contra Costa Water District’s Interim Service Area.   The project included mapping natural habitats in eastern Contra Costa County from satellite imagery (SPOT multispectral imagery) and California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB) occurrences of sensitive species and habitats.   All data were compiled into a GIS database and maps were produced.   Mr. Magney managed the initial map preparation while with Fugro in early 1997, and DMEC conducted annual updates for 1998, 1999, and 2000.   Geo InSight International assisted DMEC with the 1998 annual update map and Spatial Graphics assisted with the 1999 and 2000 update maps.   Contact:   Dennis Pisila, Contra Costa Water District.
California State Coastal Conservancy – Calleguas Creek Watershed Wetlands Restoration Plan DMEC completed an intensive and watershed-wide study of existing wetlands within the Calleguas Creek Watershed, and developed wetland restoration plans for a dozen sites within the watershed.   DMEC conducted this work for the Coastal Conservancy on behalf of the Calleguas Creek Watershed Habitat and Recreation Subcommittee through a grant issued to the Conservancy by the U.S. EPA.   All data gathered for this effort have been input into a robust GIS database, using Arc/Info and ArcView software.   Contact:   Peter Brand, Project Manager, California Coastal Conservancy.
Ventura County Planning Division – CEQA Initial Study Biological Resources Checklists. DMEC conducts CEQA Initial Studies for biological resources for discretionary projects occurring within Ventura County as an on-call biological consultant.   DMEC conducts preliminary site surveys of each project site and determines if sensitive biological resources are present that may be adversely impacted by the proposed project.   DMEC completes the CEQA checklist for biological resources, makes determinations as to potential for significant impacts the project may have, and makes recommendations for additional investigations, avoidance of impacts, and/or mitigation opportunities, as appropriate.   Contact:   Kim Rodriguez, Director, Ventura County Planning Division.
UNOCAL – Sulphur Mountain (Ventura County) Biological Assessment DMEC completed a biological resources assessment of the UNOCAL property on eastern Sulphur Mountain in Ventura County.   The 2,000-acre property is considered surplus property and UNOCAL is interested in knowing the importance of the biological resources present on the property.   DMEC used satellite and color aerial photography, in combination with field surveys, to map and classify all natural habitats present, and identify sensitive biological resources.   All data were input into an ArcView GIS database for data management and information access by UNOCAL managers.   Contact:   Jack Marshall, UNOCAL.
Rincon Consultants/County of Santa Barbara - Bridle Ridge Development Botanical Resources DMEC conducted a survey of the botanical resources of the Bridle Ridge development site, located on the lower foothills Santa Ynez Mountains between Santa Barbara and Goleta as part of an EIR.   DMEC inventoried the lichen flora of the project as part of the assessment for special-status plant species.   DMEC also assessed existing wetland functions of the project site using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hydrogeomorphic assessment approach (HGM) and compared it with modeled conditions as a result of the proposed project.   Contact:   Mike Gialketsis, President, Rincon Consultants.
Odyssey Program – Riparian Habitat Restoration Plan DMEC prepared a riparian habitat restoration and monitoring plan for a small school site located in Las Flores Canyon, Malibu, California.   The plan was a permit condition requirement issued by the California Coastal Commission, which was required for impacts associated with the unpermitted removal of two mature California Sycamore trees.   Each of the trees was evaluated for their monetary and ecological value, for which implementation of the restoration plan will mitigate.   DMEC also prepared wetland permit applications to the Corps, CDFG, and RWQCB, as well as bid request packages for qualified landscape contractors to implement the plan.   DMEC completed an assessment of wetland function impacts of the Odyssey Program’s proposed middle school in Las Flores Canyon.   The assessment used the HGM model for determining the level of 14 riverine wetland functions affected (positively and negatively) by the proposed school expansion.   The assessment considered baseline (existing), build-out, and post-mitigation conditions and was used to focus mitigation to most efficiently offset impacts to wetland functions.   All permits were obtained and the project has been built.
California State Coastal Conservancy – Calleguas Watershed Sensitive Biological Resources at Risk. DMEC was contracted to gather GIS data layers from various sources to determine and illustrate sensitive biological resources that may be developed in the reasonably foreseeable future.   The GIS database and maps will be used to support the planning efforts of the Calleguas Creek Watershed Management Plan Committee and Subcommittees.   Contact:   Peter Brand, Project Manager, California Coastal Conservancy.
May Consulting/Caltrans - Caltrans CaliforniaWILD Vegetation Management Plans DMEC assisted Caltrans on behalf of May Consulting in developing detailed vegetation inventories to support management plans for 12 preserve sites scattered across California as a pilot program designed to protect and manage unique or representative vegetation resources located within Caltrans right-of-ways.   Previously, Mr. Magney assisted Caltrans in selecting a number of preserve sites as a member the CaliforniaWILD committee Caltrans set up. The project is funded primarily by the Federal Highway Administration.   Contact:   Loran May, President, May Consulting.
Geo InSight International - Camp Pendleton Vegetation Mapping DMEC assisted Geo InSight International with mapping the upland vegetation of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.   DMEC botanists conducted extensive field surveys of the entire base, located in northwestern San Diego County, and classified and mapped all upland vegetation types.   The vegetation mapping was accomplished using state-of-the-art remote sensing platform (conducted by NASA) and ERDAS Imagine image processing software and state-of-the-art techniques combined with intensive ground-truthing (field surveys).   Of particular interest to the Marine Corps are the types, locations, and extent of habitats for the California Gnatcatcher (Coastal Sage Scrub) and Stephens Kangaroo Rat (California Annual Grassland). The results of the vegetation/habitat classification mapping were included in a base-wide GIS using Arc/Info for resource management purposes.   Contact:   John Ford, Vice President, Geo InSight International, Inc.
Diane Matsinger, Esq. - Biological Assessments of Malibu Developments in ESHA DMEC assisted Ms. Matsinger and members of the Ramirez Canyon Road Neighborhood Association critically review impacts to biological resources associated with two large single-family home proposals in Ramirez Canyon (inland from Paridise Cove).   DMEC conducted site surveys of parcels at 5801 DeButts Terrace and 5900 Ramirez Canyon Road, owned by Norman Haynie, and mapped and described natural vegetation, ESHA, and special-status species found on the two parcels and the surrounding area.   DMEC prepared a report describing site conditions, and testified before the Malibu Planning Commission and Environmental Reveiw Board.   The Planning Commission denied the DeButts Terrace project and approved the 5900 Ramirez Canyon Road project.   The 5900 Ramirez Canyon Road project has been appealed to the City Council.   Copies of DMEC's reports can be downloaded from DMEC's "Reports" page.   Contact:   Diane Matsinger, Esq., Santa Barbara, California.
Stop the Trucks! Coalition & CNPS - Review of Diamond Rock Mine FEIR DMEC reviewed and provided critical comments on the proposed Diamond Rock Sand and Gravel Mine near Ventucopa in northeastern Santa Barbara County on behalf of the Stop the Trucks! Coalition and the Channel Islands Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS).   DMEC conducted a botanical survey of the project site in June 2003.   More detailed information about this project is available by clicking here.   Contact:   Michael Shapiro, Ojai, California.