'Drunk Trees' and a Deluge of Rain Increase Landslide Risk

The Puget Sound area has been deluged with rain over the last few days, all within an already almost-record-breaking month of precipitation. With increased rain comes increased risk for landslides, and Aspect staff have responded to multiple ones over the last few days. This MyNorthwest article gives an explanation of landslide risks in our region with tips how to spot warning signs.

Aspect Paves the Way for a First-of-its-Kind Affordable Housing Project

Five pieces of land in southeast Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood have sat unused for years. Contamination from a former gas station and dry cleaner has plagued the area’s potential, especially since they sit just two blocks away from the Mount Baker light rail station. However, that’s all changing thanks to an innovative collaboration between the Mt. Baker Housing Association, the City of Seattle, and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Click image for King 5's video on the Mt. Baker Gateway Project

Click image for King 5's video on the Mt. Baker Gateway Project

With the creation of a Redevelopment Opportunity Zone (ROZ), 150 units of affordable housing will soon go up in one of the City’s most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. This ROZ designation—the first-of-its-kind in the state—allows for state money to be used for the environmental cleanup. With this innovative model, these previously undevelopable parcels are on their way to becoming crucially needed affordable housing.

Aspect's Jessica Smith and Dave Cook at the site of the Mt. Baker Gateway project.

Aspect's Jessica Smith and Dave Cook at the site of the Mt. Baker Gateway project.

Aspect has been leading the environmental strategy with Mt. Baker Housing’s legal advisor, Seattle law firm, Perkins Coie. Like any complex urban brownfield project, progress requires a unique strategy, buy-in of stakeholders, and a demonstration of a win-win. The environmental cleanup consulting that Aspect is providing will set the stage for remedial cleanup of petroleum and solvent-contaminated soil and groundwater. The cleanup action will do more than benefit the parcels, it will improve environmental quality of this part of the neighborhood. Groundbreaking is estimated for 2019.

Look out for future project updates and milestones as we play our part in realizing the vision of this community and stakeholders for affordable, sustainable, and healthy housing in Seattle.

Meet John Knutson and Bill Rice

Principal Water Resources Engineer John Knutson and Senior Water Resources Scientist/Hydrologist Bill Rice are two members of Aspect’s new stormwater engineering team in our Yakima office. We asked these five questions to get to know them better…

John Knutson

John Knutson and family at the Wallowa Lake Tram

John Knutson and family at the Wallowa Lake Tram

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I’ve lived in the northwest all my life. For most of my childhood, I lived in the very small southeast Alaskan town of Craig (pop. of maybe 200). Craig is on Prince of Wales Island. When I lived there it was the epitome of rural Alaska--isolated, wild, scenic, and…no television. When not in school, I spent my days roaming the islands and enjoying all the outdoor activities that Alaska offered. When I was a teen my family moved to Wallowa County in northeast Oregon, where I went to high school in Enterprise (pop. 2,000). Life in Wallowa County was a slightly different version of life in Alaska--rural, scenic, lots of wilderness, lots of outdoor activity, just a few more people. Wallowa County is referred to as the Swiss Alps of Oregon and if you’ve never been there, I’d highly recommend a trip to Joseph (bronze art mecca), Wallowa Lake (beautiful glacially formed lake nestled below 9,000- and 10,000-foot mountains), and Eagle Cap Wilderness. While at Wallowa Lake, consider taking the European style tram up 3,700 vertical feet to the top of Mt. Howard (Elev. 8,150 ft.). 

After high school, I attended a community college then transferred to Oregon State University where I received a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Bioresource Engineering, both with an emphasis in environmental and water resource engineering. I worked as a water resource consultant and stormwater researcher in Portland for seven years before moving to the Yakima area in 2000 to take a job as Yakima County’s first Surface Water Manager. I went back into consulting in 2005.

2.    What inspired you to pursue water resources (define this as you’d like)? What made you curious about it? Almost every activity I loved while growing up revolved around water and wild places. Once in college, I naturally migrated towards environmental courses focused on restoring, protecting, and responsibly managing water resources and related ecosystems. I studied topics such as the transport and fate of pollutants in the environment, hazardous waste remediation, ecology, toxicology, hydrology, hydrogeology, atmospheric science, etc. At the same time, I really started noticing firsthand the degradation of ecosystems and aquatic resources by a whole suite of land uses, and I decided my career should involve doing something about it. 

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I like that the projects I work on--whether stormwater, floodplain, habitat, or water supply related--are focused on moving communities towards a more sustainable state. I enjoy the appreciation that I and my team receive when we help clients (typically cities and counties) successfully implement programs and win-win projects that more effectively manage our resources and restore our environment.

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When I’m not working, I enjoy helping my two boys connect to the outdoors the way I did when I was their age. I live on the edge of the Cascade Mountains west of Yakima and I spend my free time hiking, camping, foraging for wild mushrooms and berries, rockhounding, doing lapidary and silver work, jewelry making, snowmobiling, cooking, and sampling the many great microbrewery products the region has to offer.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? I’d like to go back to southeast Alaska in summer to camp on the islands, watch the orcas, fish for salmon and halibut, and catch fresh Dungeness crab, king crab, and clams. 

Bill Rice

Bill Rice and family at Cherry Harvest

Bill Rice and family at Cherry Harvest

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I’m originally from the Kenmore/Bothell area, but my family moved to the Yakima Valley when I was 11 years old to become apple farmers.

2.    What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it? Growing up in the Yakima Valley, and now as an orchardist myself, I have always been aware of the importance, need, and impacts of water supply; water is the lifeblood of this valley. Early in my career, I spent several years working as a hydrologist and water quality scientist for the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Roza-Sunnyside Irrigation Districts, which fueled my passion for clean water. 

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I enjoy the pace and challenge of our work. I often have the opportunity to help solve complex problems that have impactful and beneficial solutions for individuals, municipalities, and the environment. 

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When I’m not working, I’m still working. I have two amazing, outgoing, and intelligent daughters (12 and 15) that keep me running between their many activities, and it’s a full-time job taking care of my farm. I own 8 acres of Bing cherries, tend to my ever-growing veggie garden, raise several species of trees (oaks are my passion), and have several more acres to keep up with. My girls, wife Heidi, and I are looking forward to adding some peaches, apricots, and plums to the orchard this spring.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? I have always wanted to snorkel the reefs of Belize.

Meet Curtis Nickerson and James Packman

Aspect welcomes Curtis Nickerson and James Packman! Curtis Nickerson joins as Senior Associate Environmental Scientist, specializing in evaluating and designing stormwater and surface water monitoring programs. James joins as Senior Hydrologist focusing on surface water flow/discharge, water quality, sediment quality, and environmental compliance. Both Curtis and James are in Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Curtis Nickerson

Curtis Nickerson

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I grew up in Huntington Beach, in Southern California. My wife and I visited friends in Seattle during a summer road trip in 1992 and decided the summers here were much more tolerable than in Sacramento, where were living while I was in grad school at UC Davis. After graduation, I sent resumes up here and got a couple of offers, so off we moved to the Great Northwest and haven’t looked back since. 

2.    What inspired you to pursue environmental science? What made you curious about it? As a kid, I loved being in the outdoors. I camped and backpacked all the time and was also a bit of an environmental activist. I knew I wanted to pursue an environmental career as far back as sixth grade, although at the time the best I could define it was “as a forest ranger.” I recall that one of my middle-school teachers told me, “You’ll get over it,” but my eighth-grade science teacher was very supportive and inspiring. As a teenager, I wanted to do my part to improve and protect the environment—participating in many conservation projects from habitat restoration in coastal marshes to building watering holes for bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert. In college, I took a resource-policy/environmental education track, but after working in consulting for a couple of years decided to switch to a technical/science field, so I went back to get an MS in Water Science.     

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I enjoy solving problems in new ways, particularly around environmental data collection. I am excited when I can work with my group to tackle challenges using cutting-edge technology that improves data quality and provides great value to our clients.

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  When I’m not working, I’m mostly hanging out with my family – my wife Kim, my son Charlie (17) our dog Sparky and my eldest son Henry (21) when he’s home from college. I am active in Charlie’s Boy Scout Troop, so I get to go on camping trips and other outings regularly with the group. I like to get on my bike, paddle my kayak, and get out fishing when I can, and am trying to do those things more. 

5.    Where would your dream house be located? Since this is a dream, I’d like my house to be on a remote high country lake, next to the ocean but not too far from a vibrant city – not asking too much, right?

James Packman

James Packman

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I grew up in the Detroit area - Motor City! It was a childhood filled with fast cars, Rock and Roll, arcade video games at the mall, skiing on small icy hills, and the Tigers winning the World Series in 1984. But Detroit is in the flat Midwest and I yearned for the mountains after several trips “out west” to ski and visit relatives and friends.

I moved to the Pacific Northwest to go to a small liberal arts college, the Evergreen State College. Despite its bubble-like culture in the woods outside of Olympia, Evergreen was a great place to learn. I earned a B.A in English and a B.S. in Geology and Ecology. It was just a couple hours drive to the mountains and I never looked back at the Midwest. I moved to Seattle and continued my studies at the University of Washington, where I earned an M.S. in Forest Engineering with an emphasis on hydrology. I’ve also lived, for short periods, in Colorado at 10,000 feet and in two cities in Israel, one in the coastal plain on the shores of the Mediterranean and the other in the mountains of the Galilee in the north.

2.    What inspired you to pursue hydrology? What made you curious about it?
My interest in hydrology and natural sciences in general was first sparked by the creek flowing through the backyard of my childhood home. Almost daily, my friends and I would walk the creek down to the pond in the neighborhood. We would have stick-floating races, get down and dirty with the crawfish, crawl through culverts, and imagine ourselves explorers of the wild. We walked this creek year-round, even when frozen or partially frozen, which often resulted in cold wet feet. Being so close to the creek, groundwater flooding occurred often and our basement would flood during heavy rains. The sump pump in the basement attuned me to how the water got there and helped make the connection in my mind between the rising creek, the eroded banks, the rise and fall of the water table, and our flooded basement.

The other big water influence for me was sailing with my family on the Great Lakes. We sailed for day-trips on Lake St. Clair and weeks-long summertime trips throughout Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Later when I was in grad school visiting Michigan and sailing with my parents, I tried to explain Froude numbers to them. My Dad just laughed and told me to pay attention to where I was steering as I was pinching, sailing too close to the wind, and the sail was luffing. As a former quartermaster in the Navy, he didn’t need to understand Froude numbers to know how to sail fast.

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I often get asked by friends or visitors to Seattle “how’s the water?”. As a scientist, my response to questions is usually another question, so I ask “which water?”. As an essential component of life that is an inherently unstable molecule, I am amazed by the incredible diversity of where water is found, the various forms it takes, its power and fragility, how it can be both a salvation and a danger, and the myriad ways that small actions can have profound effects on natural waters.

What motivates me about working as a hydrologist are the problems to be solved. We know how to clean up dirty water (for the most part), how to make drinkable water from the oceans, how to collect and deliver water efficiently, how to predict rain, and how to conserve and make the most of every drop. But doing all of these things well is an ongoing challenge and can almost always be improved. Through my work, I feel fulfilled knowing that I’ve contributed, however big or small, to the mindful management, conservation, and sustainability of our use of water and impact on it.

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I’m a firm believer in the “work to live” maxim and not the other way around. It’s one of the shared values at Aspect that drew me here. Some of the most enjoyable things I do when I’m not working are:

  • Piano. I’m a classical pianist and love music.
  • Skiing winter, hiking summer, yoga all year.
  • Shabbat. It’s the Hebrew word for Sabbath and refers to a weekly day of rest. It’s a great way to have some down time and recharge after a busy week.
  • Family and friends. Spending time with my partner, Andrew, our friends in Seattle and elsewhere, and our parents and siblings and their children. We are close with our nine nieces and nephews, who live in Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Chicago. 

5.    What five people would be your dream dinner party guests? 

  1. Felix Mendelssohn, one of the great classical composers. He died too young at the age of 38. 
  2. Mordechai, the hero in the Book of Esther, the Purim story. We could use his political savvy as much today as ever.
  3. Richard Feynman, the late theoretical physicist. His boundless curiosity about the natural world is an ongoing inspiration.
  4. My great-great-great grandparents. What was their life like in eastern Europe, what is the family tree before that, and what made them immigrate to America?
  5. My partner, Andrew. We are each other’s bashert (Yiddish for soulmate).


Aspect Honored with ACEC Award for Port Angeles Landfill Project

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) honored Aspect’s Port Angeles Landfill Stabilization Project in both Washington and Oregon at the organizations’ annual Engineering Excellence Awards.

The Port Angeles Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Slope Stabilization received a Grand award at the ACEC Oregon’s awards program in Portland, with Aspect’s Pete Stroud and Mark Swank in attendance. ACEC Washington recognized the project as a whole with a Silver Award for Social Economic and Sustainable Design Considerations at its Awards Gala in Bellevue.

Aspect was part of a large multidisciplinary team supporting the City of Port Angeles with environmental and geotechnical services on the $17 million project that moved 400,000 cubic yards of refuse away from a 140-foot bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca while building Washington’s tallest reinforced soil slope. Slope construction was completed in 2016, and we will continue support with groundwater quality and seawall fluid reporting, landfill gas system evaluation/optimization, and monitoring of the MSE slope and landfill cover.

Aspect also played a role in several other projects honored by ACEC Washington. We served as lead geotechnical engineer on the Lodge Creek Culvert Replacement for Kittitas County, which received the Silver Award for Successful Fulfillment of Client/Owner Needs. The University Link Extension, which Aspect led the design team on exploration, engineering geology, and hydrogeology to build Sound Transit’s light rail tunnel from Capitol Hill to the University of Washington, received a Gold Award for Transportation. We also were the lead geotechnical engineer on two Best in State Bronze Award-winning projects: NW Bucklin Hill Bridge & Estuary Enhancement in Kitsap County and the Dungeness River Railroad Trestle Replacement for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

The Seattle and Oregon editions of the Daily Journal of Commerce have an overview of this year’s AECE Washington and ACEC Oregon winners. 

Dan Haller Speaking on the Policy Implications of Climate Change on Water Supply Management, January 26th

Aspect’s Principal Water Resource Engineer, Dan Haller, will be discussing climate impacts to water on January 26th in Stevenson, Washington.  As future food production and processing systems in the region are expected to be challenged by water supply, the conference aims to create a dialogue among the communities that use and value the regions water supply and water quality. Dan will join a group of water resource experts to discuss policy implications of climate change on water supply management. Learn more about projected climate impacts on water accessibility in the Pacific Northwest and the sustainable management decisions HERE.

Curtis Nickerson Presenting on Stormwater Monitoring Tips and Trip-Ups at Oregon ACEC

Aspect’s Senior Associate Environmental Scientist Curtis Nickerson will be presenting at Oregon’s ACEC Environmental Water Resources Group (EWRG) on January 25 at the Hawthorne Lucky Lab Brew Pub in Portland. Curtis will talk about lessons learned in his 20 years of chasing storms. He will pass along tips for anticipating trips-ups during sampling and discuss monitoring site selection; innovative instrumentation and methods for monitoring at difficult locations; field procedures and QA/QC activities for flow metering; and water sampling and sediment monitoring.

Know Your Source: Exploring Hydrogeology’s Role in Water Rights Transfers

Check out the January issue of The Water Report, where Aspect’s Associate Hydrogeologist Tyson Carlson explains the key role hydrogeologic evaluation plays in successful water rights transfers. The article revolves around the “same source” concept and how understanding the hydrogeologic system of a site will help you manage risk, expand transfer options, and bring more certainty to regulatory approval.

Read the article here.

This article is reprinted with permission from The Water Report. A review copy of The Water Report is available to anyone, upon request, at www.thewaterreport.com.

Examples of Same Source Part of a Common Flow Regime

Examples of Same Source Part of a Common Flow Regime

Tim Flynn Presenting on Adapting Water Supplies After One of Biggest Dam Removals in US History

Aspect’s Principal Hydrogeologist Tim Flynn will be presenting on adapting water supplies post-Condit Dam removal on January 26 at the ACEC Oregon’s ACEC/SW WA Public Agency Liaison meeting. Aspect has been helping the City of White Salmon for over a decade to improve municipal water supplies. Tim will discuss the progression of water rights affecting the Dam and the City; the ongoing development of source alternatives to reduce demand on local surface waters; and the use of Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) to reduce surface water diversions during critical low flow periods. Learn more and register here.

Dave Cook Helping Future Professionals Build Great Resumes on January 10

Aspect’s Principal Geologist Dave Cook will man the “Resume Review” station at the University of Washington’s College of Engineering Career Fair Prep Night on January 10. Dave will be giving out free advice to hopeful future professionals on what to do and, most importantly, what not to do when engineering an inviting resume for the working world. Learn more HERE.

Meet Na Hyung Choi and Allan Covell

Aspect is excited to welcome Na Hyung Choi and Allan Covell! Staff Geologist Na Hyung recently completed her MS in Geology at Oregon State University. Her graduate work focused on geomorphology and structural geology of faulted alluvial fan complexes through field assessments, remote sensing, and numerical modeling.  She joins Aspect's Bainbridge office, where she has been busy with steep slope reconnaissance and subsurface investigations for our geotechnical group. Alan joins Aspect's Yakima office as an engineering designer. Allan brings over 15 years of experience as an engineering drafter/designer and will be engaged in water resources, geotechnical, and environmental projects at Aspect. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Na Hyung Choi

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and spent my childhood there, but I did most of my schooling in Georgia (the state). Then I moved to Corvallis, Oregon, for graduate school and lived there for 3 years before moving to Washington to join Aspect.

2.    What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it? 
I am a little bit surprised how things turned out. I remember from middle school the disdain I felt toward my younger brother’s mineral collection because it seemed so nerdy! But gradually I became aware of my appreciation for the outdoors and my enjoyment for learning why things look and act like they do. When I learned that a geology degree at the University of Georgia required a 6-week field course in Colorado, I was sold. Also, being in the South, I liked how I could delve into topics like evolution, climate change, and resource exploration that many found/find controversial. 

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
I like being able to picture the processes that formed a landscape when I look around, and I can’t imagine exploring the world any other way now. At work, I enjoy applying my geological background to urgent questions by putting my foot on the ground and probing what’s around and underneath. I like seeing concrete reasons and results of my work, and it’s exciting to be able to say, “Hey, I helped build that!” or “Hey, I helped make this house a safer place to live!” I thrive when I’m constantly learning new things, and I’m very happy to be doing just that every day at Aspect.

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
I love to cook. I read cookbooks for fun, watch a lot of cooking videos, and sometimes fantasize about taking a week off just to try a bunch of recipes. I love being in the mountains and try to go hiking every weekend. I also enjoy trying to rock climb, playing violin, visiting the local animal shelter to pet cats (and dogs), and goofing off with my partner, Phillip.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
I’ve been wanting to visit Japan for a long time, largely for their food.

Allan Covell

1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
I’m born and raised in the Yakima Valley, currently living in Selah. I’ve lived in the Tri-Cities, Ellensburg, Spokane, and Puyallup, but have always felt more at home in Yakima area. I like being near the mountains and sagebrush, surrounded by all the orchards, vineyards, and hops. It makes all the seasons very distinct and beautiful.

2.    What inspired you to pursue Engineering? What made you curious about it? 
My father is a Civil Engineer, so I was exposed to his type of work from an early age. He would take me to his office and various construction projects that he was working on. I was curious about it because I like to know how things were designed and built. I especially liked looking at drawings and maps.

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
’ve always liked drawing, and CAD software means I can do it faster and better than I used to by hand way back in high school and at my first job. Since Autodesk has been improving Civil3D, drawing cool things in 3D has gotten a lot easier and more accurate. I’m excited to see where this software is headed over the next few years.

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I enjoy spending time with my family, especially watching my kids learn and play sports. I also do some running (road and trail) when I have time and play coed volleyball on a city league team.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
I’d love to go back to Cancun, Mexico for a second honeymoon. It’s been over 15 years since I was there and I’d like to see if my memory matches reality. Plus, I’d love to bring my kids along so they can experience a foreign country (Canada doesn’t count), some high humidity heat, and gorgeous white sand beaches.

The Story of Washington State's Water Future

Aspect Consulting partnered with Washington State University, the University of Utah, and Ecology’s Office of Columbia River to develop the 2016 Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast.  From climate change to crop change, from municipal growth to hydropower demand, from water banking to declining groundwater, this report tells the story of how Washington is changing in response to a myriad of physical, economic, and legal challenges facing the State.  Over 2 years in the making, the report represents a comprehensive look at where Washington is going in the next 20 years and beyond.

Aspect Welcomes Our New Stormwater Team and Services for Municipal Clients!

Aspect is thrilled to announce our hiring of a municipal water quality services team, formed by 11 new staff, highly regarded for stormwater engineering, planning, and monitoring solutions for public agencies across the Pacific Northwest and the Western US.

In bringing aboard the  new members—seven stormwater and surface water quality scientists led by Senior Associate Environmental Scientist Curtis Nickerson and four stormwater planning and engineering experts led by Principal Water Resources Engineer John Knutson—Aspect broadens its existing stormwater engineering and planning for industrial clients to offer a wider range of stormwater services to municipal clients.

Aspect’s stormwater practice lead, Owen Reese, explains, “This is a natural addition to our existing expertise in industrial stormwater management, born of the recognition that municipalities constantly face the challenge of efficiently maintaining compliance with increasingly complex stormwater regulations. Curtis and John’s teams are experts in doing all of this, with a long history of providing strategic advice to cities, counties, and public agencies.” 

Joining Aspect’s Seattle office, Senior Associate Environmental Scientist Curtis Nickerson leads a group recognized by clients and technical peers as industry leaders in stormwater and surface water monitoring and evaluation, with a background serving clients such as the Port of Seattle, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Seattle Public Utilities, City of Puyallup, and King and Snohomish Counties. Curtis’ team includes Associate Water Resources Scientist Heidi Wachter, Senior Hydrologists James Packman and Bryan Berkompas, Project Environmental Scientist Brad Kwasnowski, Staff Water Resources Specialist Rebecca Powell, and Staff Water Resources Engineer Brian Hite. This group has over 10 years of experience working together and specialize in storm response monitoring, programmatic National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit compliance, and using statistical approaches to help clients determine best practices for cleaning and maintaining drainage systems.

“Aspect is a great fit for our team. As water quality regulations become more mature, we’re seeing public agencies tasked with being more flexible and strategic in how they monitor and communicate the data. Aspect’s existing data management and technology group advances our monitoring team’s ability to communicate, analyze, and manage water quality results. This will help us deliver even better water quality programs for clients,” Curtis said.

Aspect’s new stormwater engineering team in Yakima is led by Principal Water Resources Engineer John Knutson, with his longtime staff of Senior Water Resources Scientist/Hydrologist Bill Rice, Project Water Resources Engineer Erik Pruneda, and Senior Staff Water Resources Technician Will Guyton.  John’s team has particular expertise in municipal stormwater planning, utility development, compliance training, and design, including extensive low impact development (LID) experience. They also provide a wide range of Underground Injection Control (UIC) compliance and design services, along with stream restoration and floodplain management. John and his team has worked for clients such as the Cities of Ellensburg, Kennewick, Pullman, Moscow, Spokane, and Tumwater; Asotin, Kittitas, Grant, Stevens, and Yakima Counties; and WSDOT. 

John notes that, “Local stormwater programs are always evolving in response to regulatory changes. Our role is to help communities comply while ensuring programs are efficient, effective, and tailored to their unique issues and needs. We excel in this arena, and are excited to help Aspect become one of the few truly full service stormwater firms in the Northwest.”  

With the addition of these new team members, Aspect’s stormwater group builds upon its established practice with an expanded capacity to provide services for industrial and municipal clients, including:

  • Comprehensive planning;
  • Stormwater utility formation;
  • NPDES Phase I/II and UIC compliance program development and implementation support;
  • Development of standards and design manuals;
  • System inventory and mapping; storm response monitoring and water quality evaluations;
  • Stormwater BMP effectiveness assessments;
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling;
  • Data collection for hydrologic and water quality model calibration/validation;
  • Data quality management system development;
  • CIP development;
  • Design of both conventional and LID BMPs; and
  • Programmatic NPDES compliance assessments and strategy development.

Aspect also provides a wide array of flood and floodplain management services, including flood mitigation planning, modeling, design, and streamflow measurement and instrumentation.

Aspect Presenting on Topics Ranging from Hydrology and Water Rights to Water Supply and Demand Projections at Water Rights Transfers Seminar

Aspect’s Dan Haller and Tyson Carlson will be presenting at The Seminar Group’s 9th annual Water Rights Transfers seminar. On November 9th, Tyson will be presenting during the Hydrology And Water Rights portion of the seminar. He will be discussing approaches used to determine same body of public groundwater; groundwater – surface water continuity; potential impairment and water availability; and mitigation suitability.

The next day, Dan will join a panel to discuss the 2016 Water Supply and Demand Forecast. The group will present on the new supply/demand projections through 2035; water banking inventory; and economic evaluation on how the cost of water is affecting water supply development.

Learn more about the seminar HERE.

Aspect’s Dan Haller to Talk Water Rights at the 2016 Grape and Wine Issues Caucus

Continuing Aspect’s long tradition of supporting wine grape growers in Eastern Washington, on November 9th, Aspect’s Dan Haller will explain what you need to know to navigate water policy – acquiring, changing, and protecting water rights. This 2016 Grape and Wine Issues Caucus is coordinated in partnership with the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and the Washington Wine Institute and will be held at the Yakima Convention Center in Yakima, WA.  Dan's discussion will include:

  • Water rights 101:  how they are created and who has them
  • How to acquire new rights or change existing rights
  • Changing crops and spreading to add new acres
  • Adding wells via changes or Showings of Compliance
  • Protecting water rights from relinquishment
  • How state and local water banking works

Learn more about the caucus HERE. View Full Agenda. 

The Need for Water Banking

A recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling has changed how counties review permit-exempt (household) wells for building permits under the Growth Management Act. This ruling states that counties cannot approve new development using permit-exempt wells if there would be impairment to instream flows or impact to closed water bodies. The Yakima Herald-Republic looks at how the recent Supreme Court ruling affects water rights in Kittitas County.  Aspect’s Dan Haller is quoted on how water banks are currently in place and can work beyond the Yakima Basin. You can read the article here.

Source: SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic

Source: SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic

Aspect President, Tim Flynn, to Guest Lecture at Seattle University Law School

Aspect President, Tim Flynn, has been invited by Michael O’Connell, former partner at Stoel Rives LLP and Adjunct Professor at Seattle University, to guest lecture at Seattle University’s Water Law course this November. Tim is excited to share what he’s learned in the decades of providing water rights and aquifer storage and recovery services to clients throughout Washington’s diverse landscapes.

Dave Cook Speaking on Environmental Ethics at Seattle University on November 7

Principal Geologist Dave Cook will be speaking about environmental ethics to an engineering class at Seattle University on November 7. Dave will cover how to understand an environmental professional’s role when project and land use decisions will ultimately affect others. He’ll cover scenarios that come up during environmental project work that don’t always have a blueprint for how to handle, such as:

  • Dealing with landslide risk – how to notify someone to leave their home?
  • If, how, and when to respond to public and media comments critical of ongoing project work.
  • What dictates when, how and why to report a contaminant release - it isn't always a clear cut case.

He’ll also cover current events including the South Dakota pipeline and Flint Michigan water crisis.

Aspect Moderating and Presenting at AWRA Annual Conference October 26

The Washington Chapter of the American Water Resources Association’s (AWRA) annual state conference takes place on October 26 with the theme of “Rural Domestic and Municipal Water Supply. Associate hydrogeologist and AWRA Board member Tyson Carlson will be moderating this year’s “Lightning Talks.” At one of those talks, project hydrogeologist Andrew Austreng will discuss the City of Othello’s recent work on aquifer storage and recovery (ASR).  

Learn more here.