Jurisdictional Determination – Harlan County

Jurisdictional Determinations are conducted by BSC personnel in support of the requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to identify “waters of the U.S.” as identified by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Field surveys for the determination were conducted in accordance with the 1987 USACE Wetlands Delineation Manual (USACE, 1987) and the Final Regional Supplement for the Piedmont and Eastern Mountains Region (USACE, 2012). BSC investigators also evaluate the potential for federal jurisdiction under Section 404 of the CWA over aquatic features in the study area based on USACE revised guidance published December 2, 2008.

Kentucky contains seven Level III ecoregions. These ecoregions were defined by similarities in geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. The proposed project area is located within the Central Appalachians ecoregion (69) which drains 23,698 square miles. Specifically, the project is within the Level IV ecoregion 69e (Cumberland Mountain Thrust Block) which encompasses 1,083 square miles. The topography in this area is characterized as highly dissected, hilly and mountainous plateau with steep ridges, very narrow ridge tops, narrow valleys, and deep coves. 69e contains elevations ranging from approximately 980’- 4,139’ in Kentucky and contains streams with high gradients, waterfalls, many riffles, few pools, and cobble or boulder substrates (Woods et al., 2002).


Section 404 CWA Jurisdicitonal Determination
Jurisdictional Determination

Stream Mitigation

Stream Restoration
Stream Restoration

Stream mitigation including stream restoration design and construction monitoring services. Whether it is a baseline study or full stream restoration design plan our team regularly performs these tasks to help our clients meet their project goals. Using Rosgen and standard survey trained stream restoration specialists, we provide our clients with longitudinal profiles, plan-views, cross-sections, pebble counts, and Rosgen stream assessments. Using existing stream conditions or reference streams, we are able to provide detailed stream channel information for these types of projects.

Using our EcoDrones (UAV, sUAS, drones) we can assist in stream or wetland mitigation or bond releases or pre, post, and during construction monitoring, baseline assessments by providing video, still images, or 3D modeling of sites. Capturing low-elevation data we can create or provide highly accurate DEM (digital elevation models or elevation point clouds) data to our clients to work with. This technology allows us to capture millions of points, exponentially greater than traditional survey methods. This method is also safer than putting a traditional airplane into the sky. Using the latest available technology we aim to save our clients time and money in the field and in the office and can deploy EcoDrones very quickly to complete projects.

Clean Water Act

Our team of stream and wetland scientists can assist with Clean Water Act permitting and compliance with agencies such as the  Corps of Engineers. We can provide jurisdictional determinations for your property, tract of land, or project site. Once a very simple concept, is now a complex process. Located in Lexington, Kentucky we regularly consult with various Corps of Engineers Districts and can help facilitate your project. Can you tell which of these features below are considered jurisdictional?

Jurisdictional Determination Clean Water Act

Jurisdictional Determination Clean Water Act

Jurisdictional Determination Clean Water Act

Jurisdictional Determination Clean Water Act

Biological Systems Consultants performs ecological and environmental studies for Clean Water Act compliance, monitors and assesses water quality, provides hydrological modeling, and develops project alternatives such as watershed management plans that provide a balance of business objectives with agency requirements. Biological Systems Consultants also conducts wetland determinations and delineations, collecting information on vegetation, hydrology, and soils to accurately locate and define the boundaries of wetlands. Based on the results, we develop wetland mitigation strategies and to offset wetland impacts. We provide a full suite of stream and wetland mitigation services.

Biological Systems Consultants prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and supporting studies for a proposed coal mine operation in Whitley County, KY.

The EA assessed the potential ecological impacts from the proposed mine site on endangered species, streams and wetlands, and archaeological resources on this site. These assessments provided the needed scientific documents to allow for permitting of the NPDES, Corps of Engineers, and SMCRA permits required to begin the operation. This project was found to provide an overall “lift” to the aquatic resources on this site which had been disturbed by pre-SMCRA mining. Our client was able to restore miles of abandoned highwalls and thousands of feet of streams that had been previously impacted. Natural rock and log vanes were used to provide stream habitat for macroinvertebrates and other aquatic life.

Ecological Assessments for Stream Mitigation