Land Evaluation and Survey

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Land Evaluation Surveys & Consultation

Natural features inventory, environmental impact statements, environmental risk assessments, landmark heritage tree surveys, bird & mammal surveys, and endangered & threatened species analysis are used to determine the existing condition of a site and the BMP’s (Best Management Practices) to develop an LID (Low Impact Development) strategy.

Tree Location Surveys

Are offered by Nativescape’s State of Michigan Listed Forester. Our tree location survey services provide clarity regarding specific type and size of the trees on a given parcel of land. Whether you are needing a tree survey in order to be compliant with a county tree ordinance or are simply wanting to map out the trees on your property for design purposes, Nativescape can help you.

If you’re planning to build a house, it is advisable to check with the county you are building in to see if there is an existing tree ordinance. Some counties make size distinctions between “softwood” and “hardwood” trees. They want to know how many trees will be affected by the new construction often wanting the home builder to preserve certain trees in order to enhance the property’s curb appeal. The tree location survey provides the necessary information for design purposes. Many of the same important factors come into play with a tree location survey for any commercial development. The trees are surveyed on a property documenting species, DBH (diameter at breast height), numbered and a report.

Natural Features Inventory

A Natural Features Inventory provides a more complete and accurate picture of biodiversity, which, in turn, lays a strong foundation for sound land use, natural resource management, and conservation decisions.

The inventory process includes:

  • Preparation involves detailed aerial photo review, potential habitat delineation and on-site surveys to confirm or eliminate sites.
  • The field work is typically conducted from spring through fall, depending on the best time to document the presence and condition of each natural feature.
  • The whole process can span 1-2 years, which allows for suitable survey conditions to be selected.

Survey types range from targeting a group of animals, such as rare grassland or forest birds, to a comprehensive effort that incorporates natural communities, plants, and animals. Costs depend on several factors including: size of the area to be surveyed, degree of effort, number and type of species targeted, number of sites, acres of natural vegetation, size and configuration of vegetation blocks, fragmentation of ownership, and access to property.

Environmental Impact Assessment

(EIA) is an environmental decision support tool, which provides information on the likely impacts of development projects to those who make the decision as to whether the project should be authorized. The purpose of an EIA is to determine the potential environmental, social, and health effects of a proposed development, so that those who make the decisions in developing the project and in authorizing the project are informed about the likely consequences of their decisions before they make those decisions and are thereby more accountable. It is intended to facilitate informed and transparent decision-making while seeking to avoid, reduce or mitigate potential adverse impacts through the consideration of alternative options, sites or processes.

Conservation Easement Assessment

The conservation easement can be an ideal tool for landowners who want to preserve their land’s natural and historic heritage for future generations, while maintaining private ownership. Land protected with a conservation easement is not open to the public and continues to carry many of the normal benefits of private land. In addition to protecting conservation values, landowners may also enjoy financial benefits resulting from their decision to place an easement on their land. Recent tax laws have helped make this decision a bit easier. But of course, the primary motivation behind a conservation easement must be conservation. Remember…while it is perhaps the most creative tool, the conservation easement is just one of a handful of conservation opportunities available today for your land.

Bird & Mammal Survey

Nativescape offers surveys of the bird and mammal species, which is a determination and documentation of species use of a property. Nativescape can complete acoustic bird surveys, salamander monitoring, deer spotlighting, deer population estimates, amphibian calling surveys, gamebird calling surveys and habitat use through wildlife surveys.

Endangered & Threatened Species Assessment

Nativescape has experience in completing full-spectrum habitat assessments and species-specific surveys for state and federally endangered and threatened species.

In addition, Nativescape’s strong technical reputation allows our company to rapidly complete agency coordination, including:

  • Section 7 Consultations
  • Biological assessments
  • Habitat surveys
  • Presence Absence Survey

The purpose of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (Act), passed by Congress in 1973, is to prevent the extinction of native and foreign animals and plants. The Endangered Species Act is under the administration of two federal agencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are responsible for all endangered and threatened marine species. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are responsible for freshwater fish and all other species. With some exceptions, the Act prohibits activities affecting these protected species unless authorized by a permit from the FWS or NMFS.

The activities authorized by permits differ depending whether the species is listed as endangered or threatened. An “endangered species” is defined as any animal or plant that is in danger of extinction. A “threatened species” is defined as any animal or plant that is likely to become endangered soon.

For endangered species, permits may be issued for scientific research, enhancement of propagation, survival of the species, conservation education, and education regarding unintentional destruction that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity. For threatened species, permits also may be issued for zoological, horticultural, or botanical exhibition; educational use; and special purposes consistent with the Act.

Grant Research and Development

Nativescape will research and apply for grant opportunities for your Restoration Project. A preliminary green design will be developed that utilizes the latest technologies in soil bioengineering BMPs (Best Management Practices) in native ecosystem restoration.

We can design the premier and state-of-the-art project that is integrated into a beautiful natural area park like setting and provides inspiration to local artists and residents. Traditional and native landscaping will blend to provide an inviting gateway to the surrounding community by foot or bike. Native wetlands and buffers will beautify the park space with colorful plants and flowers that improve water quality by buffering stormwater runoff into the surface waters. Uplands will mimic the local native ecosystems that once thrived in the region increasing infiltration and preventing erosion. Nativescape’s professional team offers a full ecological restoration package to complete design and construction oversite services.

The goals of a natural design are to create a stable, naturally landscaped project that is aesthetically pleasing, low maintenance, uses Michigan native species and is in compliance with regulations of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Army Corps of Engineers and any local regulatory agencies. This plan would be developed to fit into existing ecological initiatives in the area so that all potential funding sources could be sought.

Restoration Team Building

A restoration team should be developed of local partners to participate or endorse each project, which will also meet grant application requirements and help ensure successful grant applications. The restoration team should be composed of your representative as well as representatives from local government, non-profit organizations and state and federal agencies. These team members may provide funding, in-kind participation, which is used as grant match or just support and endorse the project.

Task 1: Funding Source Research & Power Point Presentation

A. Nativescape will research and list all potential grant sources, match needs, funding available to nonprofits and governments, criteria for acceptable restoration projects, application due dates and all other determined necessary information.

B. A PowerPoint presentation will be developed and given to any potential funding partners describing Nativescape’s restoration project development method and tasks 2 and 3 of this proposal.

Task 2: Concept Plan Development & Grant Application

A. Nativescape will develop a natural shoreline restoration concept design plan for the site. This will include up to three site visits, if needed, to complete the design process.

    1. Conduct a site survey that will document the existing conditions. The survey may provide basic topographical information and information on flood levels as needed.
    2. Contact Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) to determine feasibility of project.
    3. Obtain base maps and aerial photos of the project area. We will assume that existing aerial photographs are available. The information obtained will be consolidated onto a base map.
    4. Prepare a concept design, project description and budget with approximate costs for review. We will assume two rounds of revisions.

B. Nativescape will offer our services for project administration and find all available funding sources to provide funding for project administration, engineering plans, permit application, and all construction costs. All available grant sources will be researched and a list of potential funding sources will be provided. NOTE – A per application fee will be determined for each grant application that is developed. This will be determined prior to starting each project application. We will write each grant application and assist in all aspects of the application process under this contract.

C. All methods possible to reduce costs of the project construction and increase the area of reconstructed shoreline. This could be done by using volunteer labor, equipment and resources i.e. groups like the school groups or local volunteer Master Gardeners Program. Nativescape administrative and design costs may be written into the grants that are written.

Task 3: Restoration Team Building.

A. Develop and assist with coordinating the potential grant requirements for the project, which would include finding potential partners, determine team roles and coordinate team participation. We would assist with all contacts and meetings with potential partners.