UltraSystems Provides Guidance for CEQA Required Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for Public Agencies
Enacted in 1970, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been the blueprint for disclosing to the public, the environmental impact of urban development. While CEQA has always required agencies to provide mitigation measures for any environmental impacts that a project may have, it wasn’t until 1989 that Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Programs (MMRP) became required to ensure the implementation of recommended mitigation measures. Environmental consulting firms like, UltraSystems Environmental, Inc., (UltraSystems) specialize in the preparation of CEQA documentation and if required, implementation of an MMRP as required by the State of California.
Public Agencies and private clients contract firms like UltraSystems to evaluate the environmental impact of their project. Site assessments are performed and usually an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) or Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are prepared. If either of these reports find that the impact to the environment will be significant, then a MMRP must be specified for CEQA compliance. The team at UltraSystems excels at devising an effective program that meets the needs of the client while also meeting the requirements of CEQA.
All Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Programs must define the agency responsible for compliance, the method for compliance and the timing of compliance. All MMRPs carefully consider the most effective way to mitigate the impacts to the environment through any of the five following actions. First, the impact could be avoided altogether through a change in design or schedule. Second, if this isn’t possible, then the impact may be minimized by limiting the magnitude of the action. If neither of these two are possible, then other actions must be taken to mitigate the project’s impact on the environment. These actions could include rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating or restoring the impacted environment; reducing or eliminating the impact through the preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the project; or finally, compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.
Once it is determined how the impact will be mitigated, then a procedure must be developed with reporting actions that will verify the implementation of the mitigation measures. The reporting and monitoring activities are then communicated to the responsible party (usually the Lead Agency).
Example mitigation measure written by UltraSystems for a recent project.
Mitigation measures can look very different depending on the project and severity of environmental impact. For example, a construction site may be found to have significant levels of noise associated with the project. Mitigation measures in this instance may look as simple as a change in work schedule. However, in the case of burrowing owls at a construction site, the mitigation measure may require postponing the project or relocating the owls to a different location before construction can begin. All of these mitigation measures would require ongoing monitoring and reporting for a specified period of time.
Ultimately, UltraSystems leads clients through early environmental assessments as required by CEQA and develops MMRPs to mitigate environmental impacts from their projects. The expertise provided by UltraSystems is invaluable as it clearly defines the best course of action to minimize delays in a project’s schedule.
UltraSystems, founded in 1994, is a multi-disciplinary, full service environmental consulting and planning firm serving both the public and private sectors. The 30-year-old firm provides expertise in development planning; site selection and analysis; CEQA and NEPA compliance; technical studies, and environmental compliance during construction. UltraSystems Environmental is certified as a WBE, SBE, DBE and WOSB company and is headquartered in Irvine, California.