Valley News -

County hires firm for 'on-call' environmental studies


Last updated 3/12/2019 at 2:15pm

RIVERSIDE - The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 12 approved a three-year, $1 million agreement with a local environmental services firm to step in and assist the Riverside County Transportation & Land Management Agency with complex studies on an "on-call'' basis.

The contract, which is retroactive to 2018 and concludes in 2021, provides for a maximum $350,000 a year in allocations for work done by Riverside-based LSA Associates Inc. Any funds not expended under the retainer will remain available for other needs.

"This on-call contract provides the flexibility needed to engage consultants with specific environmental expertise to address critical project needs in the shortest period of time,'' according to a TLMA statement. "The use of on-call contracts allows the department to deliver projects effectively and efficiently.''

LSA was selected from 11 firms that sought the retainer, according to documents posted to the board's agenda.

TLMA described its environmental staff as a "small core of in-house'' professionals who sometimes require outside help with certifying impact reports that are required under the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System.

One of the key areas where the county has been in need of assistance is the "cultural studies'' component of impact reports, according to the TLMA.

Environmental impact reports, which are generally required anytime a housing development, sports park, strip mine, warehouse or similar facility is in the works, can take years to complete.

The board addressed this nearly a decade ago by establishing a "fast track'' pipeline that permits expedited environmental reviews for qualifying projects, including those with major economic benefits.


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