As the aftershocks of Kathryn Schulz’s article The Really Big One in The New Yorker continue to reverberate across western Washington, Aspect is fielding questions from concerned family members, friends, and clients. Will everything west of I-5 really be “toast”? Should I be worried about a landslide on the hill in my backyard? Is my house going to hold up against a 9.0 quake?Read More
More than 30 members of Aspect’s technical staff participated in a regional geology workshop. The workshop was led by Puget Lowland geology guru Kathy Troost of the University of Washington and Troost Geosciences. Friday morning was devoted to lectures and discussion of the geology of the area, and in the afternoon participants got their hands dirty practicing identifying and classifying samples of local soils. Saturday, Ms. Troost led the group to the classic field locations for regional geology: Alki Point, Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park, Herrings’s House Park on the Duwamish, Discovery Park, and ended with an overview at Kerry Park on Queen Anne.
Dan Haller is speaking at a water rights seminar for the Appraisal Institute in Seattle on Friday, June 5th. Dan shares information with appraisers and realtors on the ins-and-outs of water rights, factors that influence their value, and how they can be transferred.
Jared Bean – a Senior Staff Hydrogeologist with Aspect – along with co-authors from the University of Montana and the USGS, recently published a study, “Multi-scale hydrogeomorphic influences on bull trout (Salvelinus conluentus) spawning habitat,” in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Read more about Jared’s study and the importance of protecting and enhancing existing high quality bull trout habitat HERE.
Owen Reese, an Associate Water Resources Engineer with Aspect, authored a guest post for the Miller Nash Graham & Dunn blog, Science Law and the Environment. Click below to see what Ecology’s efforts to update the Water Quality Assessment for Fresh Water means for NPDES permit holders.
This month one of Aspect’s environmental projects moves one step closer to realizing its redevelopment vision.
The Port of Bellingham Commission is preparing to sign a master development agreement (MDA) with Dublin-based Harcourt Developments at the end of March. The agreement will allow Harcourt to start work on the first 18.8-acre piece of a contaminated Bellingham waterfront site that was formerly home to a Georgia-Pacific pulp and tissue mill.
In close collaboration with the Port of Bellingham and Ecology, Aspect’s technical and regulatory strategies have contributed to speeding the cleanup in conjunction with redevelopment of the Brownfield site. Over the next year, we will be designing and overseeing the cleanup action planned for this portion of the site.
Pending Commission approval, the MDA represents a major milestone for the Port, the City of Bellingham, and the Bellingham community where Aspect has set roots with a new office.
For an interdisciplinary WWU course focused on the Science and Management of Contaminated sites (SMoCS), Aspect’s Steve Germiat gave budding environmental consultants a “real life” experience in the MTCA cleanup process.
Steve first joined the class and Ecology staff on a rainy Saturday morning at an industrial waterfront site, viewing and discussing Aspect’s K-C Everett Mill RI/FS project that the class is using as a case study. The following month, dry in a warm classroom, Steve walked the students through the MTCA cleanup process in general, while introducing soil and groundwater sampling methods, data analysis/presentation, and remedial technology options.
In addition to the exciting scientific and technological challenges of environmental remediation, Steve addressed the more mundane nuts and bolts of a consultant’s role and the skills and attributes that enable a consultant to excel.
In collaboration with Washington State Department of Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program, WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment (Huxley) offers undergraduate students a course series in the Science and Management of Contaminated sites (SMoCS). The SMoCS series includes three courses that build knowledge of the contaminated site cleanup process in Washington State with an emphasis on how scientific investigations are conducted, use of the technical documents associated with cleanups, the roles of different parties in cleanup decisions, and enhanced professional skills. For more information on the program visit http://faculty.wwu.edu/harperr3/SMoCS.shtml.
As hydrogeologists, we understand the variable and sometimes finite nature of groundwater sources and importance to promote water storage opportunities in the State. We study storage alternatives – including Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) – to help our clients meet municipal and industrial water supply needs. In assessing the feasibility of ASR with Washington clients, we have experienced firsthand the challenges and uncertainties in designing, permitting, and funding projects.
Casual conversation after an OCR advisory group meeting led Senator Jim Honeyford, (R-Sunnyside), to turn to Aspect’s Tim Flynn for technical insight in drafting a senate bill designed to help streamline the ASR permitting process. Tim testified to Committee on behalf of SB5018 in late January. He has since been collaborating with the Department of Ecology to clarify the technical and regulatory issues and streamline the ASR permitting process.
Aspect’s Dan Haller will join state Ecology and Fish and Wildlife folks in a panel discussion on mitigation strategies at an upcoming Water Rights Transfers Seminar. Designed to provide practical information of vital interest to most water right holders, the annual seminar is being held November 13 and 14 in Seattle. For the complete agenda and registration information see http://www.theseminargroup.net/seminar.lasso?seminar=14.wamWA
Once again, Aspect celebrated summer by combining our three loves - steak, lobster, and yard games. Those of us in our Seattle office battled ferry lines and Seahawks football traffic to meet at beautiful Bainbridge Island’s Fay Bainbridge Park.
In addition to the 150lbs of lobster and the endless tri-tip steak, our crew brought four homemade cornhole sets and Kubb, a classic Scandinavian yard game. Beanbags were flying through the air until sundown. Last, and certainly not least, there was a pony!
Aspect welcomes project scientist Jason McCormick to our Yakima Office team!
Bringing a wealth of water rights and project management experience from his most recent position with Washington Water Trust (WWT), Jason’s water rights knowledge will further deepen our growing water practice.
Prior to WWT, Jason worked with Dan Haller at Ecology in the Office of Columbia River where he was involved in the Kennewick Irrigation District pump exchange, City of Roslyn, Quad Cities, permit writing, and GIS mapping of approximately 1,200 Columbia River surface and ground water rights.
Jason is a native of eastern Washington with roots in the towns of Brewster, Tonasket, Yakima, and Zillah. He graduated cum laude from CWU with a BA in Geography and Land Studies and a focus on water resources and physical geography.
A true Northwesterner, Jason spends his off hours pursuing steelhead and salmon with a fishing rod in hand, hunting, hiking, and backpacking with his family.
For the fifth year, Aspect hosted a group at the Seattle Sounders annual 'friendly' match with Europe's top teams. This year it was the Tottenham Hotspur FC. The Aspect fun started with an extra friendly spread of snacks in our Pioneer Square office located in the shadows of the soccer pitch. We then enjoyed the game where the Sounders made it an exciting match by twice taking the lead. The Hotspurs, using two penalty kicks, salvaged a 3-3 tie.
As a recent sponsor of ASFPM (Association of State Floodplain Managers) national conference held in Seattle, Aspect had the opportunity to join 1200 national floodplain managers to learn about pilot improvements in flood risk management and national policy. The conference theme “Making Room for Floods and Fish” perfectly encapsulated floodplain management’s twin goals of habitat restoration/preservation and infrastructure rehabilitation/preservation.
Grounded in geotechnical principles, Aspect’s geotechnical practice specializes in floodplain management support and the associated infrastructure – such as culverts, roads, pipelines and bridges – that local flooding most impacts.
The Aspect sponsored Vuelta Grande water project in Guatemala was completed last week with water lines installed to approximately 40 homes. For homes located at higher elevation above the water line several additional taps were installed and community pilas built.
Aspect funded this project through making, donating, and giving each other items and experiences. See our previous post about the project.
For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala, visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water
View From Second and Jackson
43 families in the small mountain village of Vuelta Grande in northwest Guatemala will turn a tap and have water pour from a faucet in their home for the first time. In the spirit of holiday giving, Aspect funded both the pipeline from a spring source into the village, and pipes and spigots in each home.
At the annual company holiday party, staff contributed to the project by buying raffle tickets for themselves or as a thank you to a fellow worker. Lucky raffle winners went home with Aspect staff-made gifts and experiences including mountain cabin weekends, a waffle breakfast at work, private yoga instruction, knit caps, bicycle tours of Skagit Valley or Vashon Island, a watercolor painting or an oil change.
For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water
Moving a water right from permit to certificate is the final step in the water right permitting process. Certification secures the water right for a needed water supply. With increasing demand for limited water resources, the surety certification provides can be critical.
To make the process quicker and more efficient, the Washington State Department of Ecology established the Certified Water Right Examiners (CWRE) program. Beginning August 2013, CWRE are authorized to conduct proof examinations for water users to support Ecology decision-making on issuance of water rights certificates.
Four Aspect staff were among the first to be certified as CWRE by Ecology. Tyson Carlson, Dan Haller, Bill Sullivan and Breean Zimmerman are qualified to conduct the proof examinations needed to receive a certificated water right for permitted use. With CWREs in our Seattle, Wenatchee and Yakima locations, Aspect is available to support water right permittees across the state.
For more information on Ecology’s CWRE program visit:
Workdays Aspect is focused on environmental restoration and protection of our region’s earth and water. But our environmental and community engagement doesn’t end Friday at 5. Environmental stewardship permeates our off-hours –- as it did on a recent Saturday when Aspect staff shouldered shovels and pitchforks for a Duwamish Alive!-sponsored Earth Day project at T-107 / Herring’s House Parks.
Joining 95+ fellow volunteers from Women in Environment (WIE), Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and other groups, Aspect helped remove sod and spread mulch to prepare park areas for the installation of native plants. The two lower Duwamish shoreline areas provide public access at one of the last oxbows remaining from the original river. The historic marsh/channel previously had been filled and developed as an industrial site, but restoration in the early 2000s removed industrial debris and contaminated soil, and restored intertidal habitat.
The 13,000 square feet (sf) of invasive plants removed, 8,000 sf mulched, and 125 native plants installed for Earth Day by Aspect and others will help maintain this section of the restored river for years. The 13 bug bites, 8 blisters, 4 bruises and 2 sore backs on Aspect staff healed in days.