ENVIRONMENTAL

There are two main types of environmental surveys that are relevant to the Seattle area: Wetland Location surveys and Environmental Critical Area (ECA) (ie. wetlands, frequently flooded areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, geologically hazardous areas, and critical fish and wildlife conservation areas) surveys.

WETLAND LOCATION SURVEYS

Wetlands are highly regulated at both the Federal and State levels. Wetland location surveys provide information on wetland type, location, and size and are used by local, State, and Federal agencies, as well as by private industry and organizations. They are used for many purposes, including the development of comprehensive resource management plans, environmental impact assessments, proposed construction buffers, natural resource inventories, habitat surveys, and the analysis of trends in wetland status data.

Wetland location surveys involve a thorough investigation of any critical areas on-site. The survey will exhibit the horizontal limits and size of the wetland area as determined in the field by an environmental specialist who provides us with a rough map including flags and high-water marks shown. Our job at ALS is then to accurately locate these flags and marks to create a map to reference the critical area boundary and associated buffer widths, as well as boundaries of the surrounding plots of land

IMPORTANCE OF GETTING A WETLAND LOCATION SURVEY:

Wetland maps are a prerequisite for wetland inventory and wetland development planning, management, protection, and restoration. Obtaining building permits from the city in order to comply with local, State, and Federal regulations is critical in the result of land being on a potential wetland. Landowners would need a wetland location survey that verifies the location of wetland boundaries as well as their buffer widths before a project can be approved.

With the multiple sources available online, many mistakenly rely on web-based maps to determine the wetland status on their property. Believing there are no mapped wetlands on said parcel, development plans are envisioned and sometimes permitted by local municipalities, only to later discover the presence of protected wetland. Although existing mapping sources for wetlands are a valuable resource, the value of a field determination by a qualified and experienced wetland delineator and land surveyor cannot be understated. If there is any concern about the presence of critical wetland on a plot of land, getting a wetland location survey mitigates future frustration and additional cost.

ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICAL AREA (ECA) SURVEYS

The City of Seattle’s Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA) code governs areas that provide critical environmental functions, like in the case of wetlands protecting water quality and providing wildlife habitat. ECA code also addresses areas that represent particular challenges for development due to geologic or other natural conditions. Through site assessments and field surveys, ALS helps define the presence, extent, and quality of those habitats (with the help of outside consultation from an environmental specialist) to assist project proponents with land-use planning decisions.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICAL AREA?

If you have questions/concerns about your specific site, please consult an environmental expert to help designate your land. However, more general types of landforms that could be designated as environmentally critical areas are as follows: 

GEOLOGIC HAZARD AREAS*

FLOOD-PRONE AREAS

ABANDONED LANDFILLS

FISH & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AREAS**

WETLANDS

* ie. landslides, liquefaction, peat-settlement, seismic hazard, steep slope erosion, volcanic, etc.

** ie. riparian watercourses and management areas, priority habitats and species areas, corridors connecting priority habitat areas, etc.

SUBDIVISION

SUBDIVISION

CONDOMINIUM

CONDOMINIUM

FEASIBILITY

FEASIBILITY