For All Your Environmental Needs

Ecosystem & Solutions, Inc. is an environmental consulting firm that services RI, MA, and CT. We specialize in wetland delineation, soil evaluations, habitat assessments, peer review, GPS location, as well as permitting and compliance, and expert testimony.

Wetland Delineation

Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. provides wetland delineation services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Wetland delineation is often the first and very important step in land planning and development.

Why is wetland delineation so important? Since wetlands are regulated by the federal and state governments, delineation can have significant consequences for land conservation, economic development, water quality, wildlife, rare plant habitat, flood control and other issues. Anyone with an interest in purchasing and/or developing a piece of piece of property, from single-family houses to commercial developments, should know the locations of wetlands on that property. Unpermitted alterations of regulated wetland areas can result in expensive, time-consuming legal battles, fines, and the delay or loss of your development project.

But where does the dry land (or upland) stop and the wetland begin? This is an important question. Wetlands are considered a subset of “waters of the United States” (section 404 of the Clean Water Act) and are jointly defined by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (Federal Register 1982 and 1980) as:
“Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.”

To simplify, three wetland criteria must be present for an area to be called a wetland. These include wetland vegetationwetland soils, and wetland hydrology (the way water enters, is retained and released by a wetland). The presence of these criteria may be directly observed or inferred. For example, water may not be standing two feet deep in the area at the time you look, but a water stain two feet up on the base of a tree is a strong indicator that water was present in the area some time in the past. The presence of water-stained trees, drift lines, buttressed tree trunks, and sediment deposits are some of the accepted indicators that an area has wetland hydrology.

Wetland delineators at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. use their skills and experience in field botany, soil science, hydrology and sampling procedures, as well as state and federally approved wetland delineation methods, to determine and document the location of the wetland edge.

Included with delineating the wetland edge is a findings report, which is sent to the client, engineer and/or land surveyor, and regulatory entity (if required). The report includes supporting data sheets, written descriptions, maps, and/or photographs. Also included in the findings report is a section dedicated to guiding a client to an informed decision about property development in relation to the wetlands on-site. The findings report may be submitted to either the respective Conservation Commission and/or the DEP in Massachusetts, to the Wetlands Permitting or Compliance Program at RIDEM, or to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for review and approval.

Permitting & Compliance

Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. has the expertise and experience to assist clients through the often daunting wetland permitting maze. Since permitting is the most important phase of land development, choosing the right professionals for your project is essential. With a dedication to quality and practical decision making, including alternatives analysis, the staff at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. is involved with project layout & design right from the beginning in order to assure a balance between regulation compliance and project completion. Whether the project is residential, municipal, commercial, or industrial, Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. can provide the wetland permitting services to fit your needs.

Offering services in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. can provide for the development of any number of project and application types, including:

  • Requests for Determination of Applicability
  • Notices of Intent
  • Requests for Preliminary Determination
  • Applications to Alter
  • Water Quality Certifications
  • Section 404 Permits

From wetland delineations, to wildlife habitat assessments, to vernal pool certifications, Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. can provide for all your wetland needs.

Professional Representation & Expert Witness Services

Picking the right consultant can be challenging. You want an individual that has experience, extensive practical knowledge, full qualifications, communication skills, and, of course, can understand the needs of your project. That’s why at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc., we provide representation services that are exemplified by a commitment to the highest level of professional acumen and technical competence.

A good consultant knows the in’s and out’s of the application process, as well as the science behind it. A good consultant knows your project firsthand, is able to communicate with you and the authorities to properly present your project goals. That’s why at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc., we take the time and effort necessary to assure that representing you and your project becomes an efficient and powerful tool in the regulatory realm.

EXPERT WITNESS
Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. provides expert witness services and specialist advice in the field of wetland science; embracing the many aspects of the scientific, technical, and procedural details involved with the permitting and compliance of projects. Our clients include homeowners, developers, engineers, land surveyors, and lawyers.

But what exactly should you be looking for? What role should an expert witness play and what attributes should you be looking for?

Simply stated, the role of the expert witness is to provide objective opinions to the court on technical and procedural matters that require specialized knowledge or expertise. To be persuasive, an expert witness must be both experienced and knowledgeable in their field and must also be perceived as independent and objective. Backed up by practical experience, Brandon has a reputation for unambiguous and impartial advice. Should you require this service, please call us at (401) 741-3263 to discuss your situation.

Soil Evaluations

Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. provides soil evaluation services for residential, municipal, and commercial/industrial projects in the state of Rhode Island. Soil evaluators at Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. are trained and licensed to perform soil evaluations in the state of Rhode Island using approved USDA terminology. Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. and can also provide backhoe services required for the evaluation.

Why are soil evaluations so important? Soil evaluations detail the soil properties that determine the seasonal high groundwater table, percolation rate, and other limiting factors that would compromise the proper functioning of a septic system before a system is designed. In other words, it is the evaluation that determines the suitability of the soil for on-site wastewater disposal. This is the first step towards obtaining a permit for a septic system construction. Subsequently, the findings of the soil evaluation guide the designing engineer as to the appropriate septic system design.

Proper soil conditions are essential in order to prevent sewage from either discharging to the ground surface or contaminating ground or surface water resources. For example, many unfortunate people are familiar with a septic system that has “backed up.” This normally happens when the system’s leaching field cannot disperse effluent into the ground as quickly as it is receiving effluent from a house or business. This can lead to contamination of surface waters by overland runoff, not to mention the unpleasant smell the neighbors are complaining about. Conversely, and perhaps more importantly, if a soil is too coarse, like sand, effluent from the leaching field may enter the groundwater before the soil is able to “treat” the effluent. This scenario may lead to contamination of a nearby drinking water well and those who drink from it. Two kinds of contamination include pathogen (fecal coliform) contamination, and/or nitrate (NO3) poisoning, which may lead to “blue baby syndrome” in certain cases. Unfortunately, this type of septic failure is seldom realized since the system appears to be running properly.

You can read more about the soil evaluation process here.