State/Federal: California High-Speed Rail, Construction Package 1D CEQA/NEPA Reexamination

California High-Speed Rail

Overview

During major setbacks and 11 design refinements during permitting and Soar Environmental Biologists discovered endangered California Tiger salamander (CTS) in rural residential areas, not previously documented as CTS habitat. Soar environmental worked tirelessly and provided all permits prior to the construction start date and below proposed budget.

Project Scope

Soar Environmental staff contracted with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to complete a 3.2-mile extension of the linear transportation project. This major extension, known as CP1D, includes extension of the corridor, three new overcrossings, two stream crossings, and a railway intrusion barrier. The Scope of Work included complete CEQA and NEPA analysis as well as permit acquisition for vernal pool wetlands and stream crossings.

Description of Services

Soar Environmental and Rincon Consultants conducted the CEQA/NEPA re-examination and stream permitting for the project. Soar Environmental specifically conducted biological surveys, conducted air quality modeling of project emissions, evaluated effects on natural resources, and updated transportation models. Soar Environmental Biologists discovered endangered California Tiger salamander (CTS) in rural residential areas, not previously documented as CTS habitat. Soar Environmental staff coordinated with the CP1 Design-Build contractor, the Authority, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the County of Madera to ensure CP1D’s compliance with CEQA and NEPA. Soar Environmental applied for an amendment to the CDFW 1602 MSAA and sub-notification, reinitiated the CDFW ITP, developed the 401 and 404 Water Quality Certifications, developed the Biological Assessment, reinitiated the USFWS BO, and requested technical assistance to the NOAA NMFS BO.

Results

Soar Environmental, along with other PCM staff, successfully completed the CP1D CEQA/NEPA reexamination and obtained approval from both the Authority and the FRA in a timely manner. This allowed the Design-Build contractor to start construction of the first overpass on-time and to ensure the entire 33-mile long CP1 project reaches construction completion.

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