Natural Resources and NEPA

3e provides comprehensive natural resource and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) services. Our staff includes Professional Wetland Scientists (PWS), Professional Wetland Delineators (PWD), Certified Natural Resource Managers (CNRM), Landscape Architects (PLA), Threatened and Endangered Species Surveyors, and staff trained in Rosgen Stream Assessment and Design. 3e is an ideal teaming partner for projects requiring environmental permitting, wetland and stream delineations, wetland and stream mitigation design and construction services, Threatened and Endangered Species surveys, NEPA compliance and other regulatory agency coordination.


  • Environmental Permitting (Clean Water Act Section 401 and 404)
  • Wetland & Stream Delineation
  • Wetland & Stream Mitigation Feasibility Study, Design and Construction Services
  • Stream Restoration and Design
  • Lake Dredging Design and Permitting
  • Biological Opinion Preparation
  • Watershed Studies
  • Threatened & Endangered Species Coordination
  • Cultural Resources Coordination
  • Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Reports

Relevant Project Experience

Densons Creek Dam Removal and Fish Passage Project (Montgomery County, North Carolina)

3e developed an alternatives analysis and final design to remove a vented ford acting as a dam and to improve fish passage in Densons Creek

3e was hired by the Piedmont Conservation Council, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, Jennings Environmental, and the adjacent landowner, to develop an alternatives analysis and final design to replace a low-water bridge (vented ford) built in the 1950s that was acting as a dam with a design more suited to fish passage while maintaining access to the adjacent property. The final design, implemented by North State Environmental, replaced the existing logging bridge with a modified wet ford.

Upstream of the crossing water was shallow and ponded, while the downstream side of the crossing had eroded down to a two-foot plunge pool. At low flows, water was short-circuiting beneath the bridge structure without going through the culverts at all, while at high flows the water through the culverts was too strong for many fish species to pass. In limiting the passage of fish, the crossing was also limiting the possible habitat of two state endangered species of mussel – the brook floater and the Savannah Lilliput – by preventing the passage of the fish that can carry their larvae upstream to new habitats. The primary goal of 3e’s design was to provide passage for the fish species that these mussels depend on, but that goal had to be balanced with the need to maintain vehicle access to the adjacent property for logging operations.

3e’s final design re-aligned the access road’s path across the stream to manage the balance between fish passage, logging truck physical limits, and site limitations of terrain and bedrock. The wet ford improved fish passage by maintaining a low-flow channel and incorporating a series of cascades downstream to allow the weak-swimming fish species to pass. 3e performed hydrologic and hydraulic analyses to ensure the new design would maintain flows without causing flooding in the area, conducted extensive coordination with all stakeholders during an iterative design process, and developed the final construction plan set.

Environmental Assessment for Installing a Marine Fiber Optic Cable at NASA Wallops Flight Facility (Wallops Island, Virginia)

3e and its team member AECOM are assisting NASA with the NEPA process and Clean Water Act permitting for a project to install a new fiber optic cable via a marine route at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The 3e team worked closely with NASA to develop and document the screening criteria that were used to evaluate and dismiss or carry forward the potential alternatives in the EA, and to draft a detailed and focused description of the proposed action. 3e conducted a wetland delineation of the saltmarsh and prepared a Joint Permit Application for impacts to tidal wetlands. Due to COVID-19, we worked with NASA to prepare online meeting presentation and files for the website in lieu of a public meeting. The project is being completed under contract to LJT & Associates, Inc. 

Environmental Scientist holding a terrapin in Walker Marsh

Fairfax County Parkway, Phase I, II, IV, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, VA

3e was responsible for environmental and environmental engineering studies, site characterization and remediation and environmental and Clean Water Act permitting for a 2.4-mile extension of Fairfax County Parkway from the Franconia-Springfield Interchange to Interstate 95. This was a $124-million-dollar Design-Build project that created a new interchange for Fort Belvoir to support significant expansion at the former Engineer Proving Ground under the Base Realignment and Closure process. This federally funded project was managed by the USACE, FHWA and VDOT under a MOA, and posed significant challenges under a number of environmental programs. 3e’s Relevant Experience and Key Accomplishments on this project included:

  • Complex environmental permitting and environmental permit compliance monitoring/inspection in accordance with the Clean Water Act and related natural resources
  • RCRA/hazardous materials management, feasibility studies, and remediation
  • Coordination with regulatory agencies including EPA, DEQ, USACE, and VDOT
  • Environmental engineering including remediation design, sampling and analysis plans, SAP, QAAP, cost estimates, specifications, and construction inspection for a remediation project
  • Success in meeting Congressionally-mandated fast-track project schedule goals
  • Construction inspection and compliance monitoring services 

Fort Bragg Aerial Gunnery Range 78 and 79 Improvements (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

3e provided wetland and stream delineation and permitting services for the successful completion of this Department of Defense project.  The project involved a very aggressive time line and required coordination of multiple regulatory agencies, client representatives and Fort Bragg Range Control staff.  Key accomplishments include:

  • Fast-track DoD range improvement project
  • Successful collaboration with the design engineers and installation to reduce impacts to wetlands and streams
  • Project involved suitable habitat for the red cockaded woodpecker, a federally endangered species
  • Project qualified for a Nationwide Permit; saving more than 6 months in the project schedule

I-81 Truck Climbing Lanes, Salem, Virginia

3e provided natural resource studies, permitting services, and hazardous material evaluations and asbestos surveys for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the prime contractor for the proposed construction of a truck climbing lane along five miles of southbound Interstate 81 in Montgomery County, Virginia. The project also involved total replacement of three bridges, upgrading all guardrail structures to meet current standards, the construction of retaining walls required for bridge structures, pavement and drainage improvements, and right of way acquisition. 3e was responsible for the following tasks under this project:

  • Delineation of Wetlands and other Waters of the US (WOUS)
  • Threatened and Endangered Species Surveys and Habitat Assessments
  • Environmental Permitting and Categorical Exclusion
  • Coordination with Regulatory Agencies
  • Environmental Site Assessment
  • Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) Surveys of Three Bridges

NCDOT Bridge Group G (Sampson County, North Carolina)

3e provided natural resource services for the replacement of 7 bridges in Sampson County, North Carolina. For each bridge, 3e was responsible for the following:

  • Wetland and Stream Delineations
  • Biotic Community Mapping and Assessment
  • Threatened and Endangered Species Surveys
  • GPS data collection and GIS mapping
  • Natural Resources Technical Report
  • Field Scoping Meeting Checklist
  • Jurisdictional Determination

All deliverables where preparing in accordance with NCDOT templates and protocols.

NCDOT bridges

NEPA, Cultural and Natural Resource Services for Norfolk District USACE, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia

3e provides comprehensive environmental engineering, cultural, and natural resource services throughout the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Norfolk District’s Area of Responsibility under a five-year Indefinite Delivery contract for environmental and engineering services.  Since 2009, 3e was assigned 34 tasks with a total value of over $3 million under a $5 million contract to the USACE’s Norfolk District.  3e’s work on the contract has included:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents, including Environmental Assessments/Findings of No Significant Impact
  • Development of a database of NEPA Mitigation commitments
  • NEPA training for personnel
  • Stormwater management evaluations and installation-wide storm water management plan
  • Watershed management plan development
  • Environmental Management System/Sustainability and Pollution Prevention support
  • Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act support
  • Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) implementation and support
  • Wetland and stream delineation
  • Design and development of wetland and stream compensation, including a mitigation bank
  • Threatened and endangered species searches and management plan
  • Insect inventories
  • Vegetation management plans
  • Cultural resource investigations, including compliance with §106 the National Historic Preservation Act

3e has successfully executed its projects, including multiple concurrent task orders (as many as 14 concurrent tasks), with an excellent record of on-time completion and on budget completion of projects, including projects with regulation-imposed timeframes and constraints. 

Sample projects include:

  • NEPA Analaysis, Airspace Modification
  • NEPA Analysis, Asymmetric Warfare Group Training Facilities
  • Public Involvement Program Support, Asymmetric Warfare Group Training Facilities
  • Environmental Assessment/FONSI, Convoy Live Fire Course #2 Expansion
  • Watershed Management Plan with watershed characterizations
  • Water Quality Support Services
  • Landscape Maintenance Plan and Stormwater Management Plan
  • Stormwater Management Plan Development for Grounds Maintenance and Vegetation Management Support
  • Cultural Resource Investigations, Camp Pender Forcemain
  • Cultural Resource Survey of Richard Garrett house
  • Endangered Species Management Component Plan Development
  • Natural Resource Investigations, Camp Pender Forcemain
  • Threatened and Endangered Plant Surveys, Asymmetric Warfare Group 1,200-meter range and Infantry Platoon Battle Course Range
  • Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bank
  • Culvert Replacement Biological Assessment and Engineering
  • INRMP Geodatabase

Pine Run Design-Build Stream and Wetland Mitigation, Pulaski County, Virginia

3e completed a mitigation feasibility site search for stream and wetland sites throughout the New River watershed.  3e secured the wetland and stream related permits, prepared the construction level mitigation plans to restore streams and wetland features to support the compensatory mitigation requirements for the U. S. Route 58 Highway Improvement Project in Carroll County, Virginia.  3e delineated jurisdictional Waters of the U.S. (WOUS), completed stream assessments, compiled the USM calculations, performed hydrological validation and sediment transport modeling, prepared permit determinations, completed permit acquisition, prepared construction specifications, and prepared the post-construction monitoring plan for the VDOT stream restoration/mitigation project.  3e prepared the restoration design as a Priority Level 1 approach where the new stable stream will be constructed to re-establish the stream within its floodplain.  The new dimension, pattern and profile are designed to provide the stream with stable flow maintenance and effective sediment transport.  The final stream plan produced 7,045 linear feet of Priority 1 restoration and 0.5 acre of wetland restoration.  The scope of work included site investigations (delineation of WOUS and the Commonwealth of Virginia, threatened and endangered species investigations, hazardous materials studies, cultural resource reviews), site specific data collection (including detailed stream characteristics), development of conceptual and, ultimately, detailed and approved plans for stream restoration activities, permitting, construction, construction monitoring, and as-built surveys and verification of mitigation credits, as well as the ongoing post-construction monitoring.

Assessment began on the site in April 2008.  Construction began in February 2012 and was completed on February 2013.  In-stream structures included: 10 rock cross vanes, 14 j-hook structures, 6 log drop and 1 log wing deflector.  Post-construction monitoring continues through 2017 but the site has already passed 3 years of monitoring that included 4-year and an 8-year storm event.  Overall, the project costs were approximately $2.7 million including preliminary engineering, construction, post-construction monitoring and site acquisition.  

Route 3 Widening, Culpeper, Virginia

The 3e team is providing environmental and natural resources services for the design and construction of the widening of approximately 5.2 miles of Route 3 from a two lane undivided highway, to a four-lane divided highway in Culpeper County, VA.  3e provided environmental services on the project including wetland delineation, permitting and construction monitoring, threatened and endangered species evaluations and consultations, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) development and permitting, and various hazardous materials investigations. 3e was responsible for the following tasks during the project:

  • Waters of the U.S. Delineation, Permitting and Monitoring
  • Compliance with NEPA, Section 7 and Section 106 Commitments
  • Virginia Stormwater Management Permit (VSMP) Preparation
  • Hazardous Materials, Asbestos Survey, and Building/Well & Septic Demolition Support 

Rt. 58 Transportation Corridor Improvement and Mitigation Site Development, Southwestern Virginia

3e assisted the prime consultant with developing stream relocation/restoration design plans for a permittee-responsible mitigation site in Pulaski County to compensate for unavoidable impacts on the Route 58 E-02 and E-11 project located in the portions of Carroll and Floyd County that are in the New River drainage. The Pulaski mitigation site was active farmland that drains to an unnamed tributary of Bentley Branch, a perennial tributary to the New River.  The topography of the site was gently rolling with deeply incised channels. The areas proposed for mitigation use and construction are active cattle grazing areas situated on existing compact stream terraces. These areas have limited to no woody vegetation, and stream channels are in various states of disequilibrium that require restoration to return the channels to a stable form such that existing accelerated bank erosion can be reduced. The stream terraces vary from very poorly drained areas in springs and depressions (former drainage ways) to well-drained alluvial deposits.

3e’s scope of work for this project included the following services:

  • Coordination with Other Contractors and Regulatory Agencies
  • Delineation of Streams and Wetlands
  • Due Diligence (Threatened and Endangered Species Studies, Hazardous Materials Studies and Cultural Resource Clearance)
  • Collection of Site Data
  • Site Surveys
  • Conceptual Plans
  • Substantially Complete Plans and Success Criteria Monitoring Plan
  • Permit Modifications
  • Final Plans
  • Construction Monitoring
  • As-Built Surveys and Verification of Mitigation Credits
  • Post Construction Monitoring for a 10-year span

Stokesdale Six-Inch Transmission Pipeline Project (Guilford County, North Carolina)

Stokesdale Pipeline Project

For Piedmont Natural Gas, 3e provided natural resource consulting services in support of survey and design activities for the Stokesdale six-inch Transmission Pipeline project in Stokesdale, Guilford County, North Carolina.  Project tasks included:

  • Jurisdictional Waters Delineation
  • Protected Species Habitat Assessment
  • Survey Points Collection
  • Preliminary Jurisdictional Determination Request/Wetland Statement of Findings Report
  • Jurisdictional Determination Field Visit and Coordination with Regulatory Agencies
  • Pre-Construction Notification to USACE and NCDWR
  • Riparian Buffer Coordination

VRE Environmental Studies/Permits for Crossroads Parkway Rail Platform, Spotsylvania County, VA

3e provided comprehensive environmental services including:

  • Wetland delineation
  • Endangered species identification and compliance
  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessments
  • Qualitative air quality analysis
  • Noise analysis
  • Cultural resource survey
  • NEPA documents

West Fork Mitigation Site (Floyd, Virginia)

3e completed mitigation efforts from start to finish, beginning with developing feasibility studies through final design for the stream and wetland mitigation site and construction monitoring, to now leading annual post-construction monitoring efforts for the New River Resource Authority to offset after-the-fact impacts of a landfill in Pulaski County. 3e performed a GIS-aided search to guide field efforts and was able to locate an appropriate location for the mitigation efforts. 3e then completed surface water delineations, stream classification and USM assessments, and completed IPaC coordination by performing a bog turtle and Mitchells Satyr butterfly habitat assessment and limited survey. Mitigation design and plan development was completed by 3e, including an extensive native species planting plan. The final design provided over 8,000 stream credits from stream restoration, enhancement, and preservation, and over an acre of wetland creation credits.

The project was constructed as designed with 3e supervision, including implementation of pit-and-mound microtopography in the constructed wetland cells to improve tree planting retention post-construction. 3e provided complete construction oversight, including bid document preparation, construction permitting, and construction inspections. 3e has been performing annual post-construction monitoring at the West Fork Mitigation site since 2018, per permit requirements, including stream surveys, vegetation assessments, monitoring of wetland hydrology, and biological monitoring via the collection of benthic macroinvertebrate samples. The site has also been used for educational opportunities, with several classes at nearby Virginia Tech hosting site visits.

Aerial view of West Fork Mitigation Site