STATEMENT OF WORK Environmental Assessment for the Red Cliffs/Long Valley Land Exchange in Washington County, Utah

Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "STATEMENT OF WORK Environmental Assessment for the Red Cliffs/Long Valley Land Exchange in Washington County, Utah"


1 I. Introduction STATEMENT OF WORK Environmental Assessment for the Red Cliffs/Long Valley Land Exchange in Washington County, Utah The Bureau of Land Management s (BLM) St. George Field Office (SGFO) requires the assistance of a professional environmental services contractor to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) that discloses the impacts to the human environment that could result from a proposed exchange of federal and non-federal lands in Washington County, UT. This assessment would, in part, fulfill the agency s legal obligations under various federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Here and elsewhere in this Statement of Work (SOW), BLM and the SGFO are used interchangeably, unless otherwise noted. II. Description of the Proposed Action The BLM, Brennan Holdings, LLC (Brennan), and Washington County have entered into an Agreement to Initiate a Land Exchange (ATI) pursuant to Section 206 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1716), as amended. This ATI proposes that acres of federal lands, located southeast of Washington City, UT, be transferred from federal ownership through this exchange. Through the proposed exchange, the BLM would acquire non-federal land held by Brennan that will, by law, be included in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) when it comes under federal ownership. The amount of acreage of non-federal land to be acquired would be determined by the fair market appraised values of the federal and non-federal lands. The BLM anticipates that approximately acres of the larger 788-acre parcel would be acquired by the United States. The acquisition of non-federal land within the NCA would be consistent with the legislative mandates of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Title 1, Subtitle O, at section 1974 (P.L ), as it relates to the conservation and protection of threatened and endangered species. The acquisition of private land inholdings in the Red Cliffs NCA would also further the goals of Washington County s approved Habitat Conservation Plan (1995). It would help to consolidate lands that support populations of the Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agaisizzi), a federallylisted threatened species, under public management within an established multi-jurisdictional reserve (locally known as the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve). Protective management of this 62,000 acre reserve by the respective land managing entities, assisted by Washington County, serves as the key mitigation for the County s Incidental Take Permit (ITP), approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in The ITP allows for growth and development to predictably occur on non-federal lands in tortoise habitat in Washington County, as the take of desert tortoise and adverse modification of critical habitat related to development are mitigated by the protective management of this reserve. The Red Cliffs NCA comprises approximately 70% of the land base of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Page 1 of 6

2 Washington County has agreed to contract with a qualified environmental services contractor to assist BLM to comply the requirements of NEPA, for the proposed land exchange. Through this SOW, Washington County is soliciting quotes from qualified environmental services contractors to complete the tasks and provide the deliverables described below. III. Contract Tasks and Deliverables The Contractor will provide professional services for the following: 1. Project Kick-off Meeting Within 15 days of contract award, the selected Contractor will organize and participate in a project kick-off meeting in St. George, Utah, with staff and management from BLM and representatives from Washington County. The Contractor s Project Manager, BLM s NEPA Project Manager, and Washington County s identified Representative will participate in this meeting. The Contractor will identify all key personnel that will be involved in the preparation of the contract deliverables and their roles and responsibilities. The BLM and Washington County will provide the Contractor with contact information for all of their key personnel that will be involved in this project. During this meeting, the parties will agree upon a project schedule, project coordination protocols, and methods to ensure quality control for all contract tasks and deliverables. The Contractor will prepare minutes for the kick-off meeting that identify the proposed project schedule, project coordination methods, and quality assurance protocols. The minutes will be electronically submitted to the BLM NEPA Project Manager and Washington County s Representative for review and comment within 7 working days of the kick-off meeting. The BLM and Washington County will electronically submit any comments or revisions to the Contractor within 7 working days of receipt of the minutes. The Contractor will make necessary revisions and re-submit the minutes to BLM and Washington County. The approved minutes will be entered by the Contractor into the Administrative Record database. The Contractor is responsible for timely submission of deliverables identified in this SOW. A schedule for due dates for deliverables will be agreed to by BLM, Washington County, and the Contractor during the development of the Project Management Plan. The anticipated timeline for submission of the draft EA is February If a Contractor deliverable is dependent on materials or data to be supplied by BLM, due dates for BLM provision of these materials will be developed as well. If BLM does not meet agreed upon due dates, contractor due dates will be adjusted accordingly. It is not acceptable if a product is turned in to meet a time frame but does not meet the content requirements (and needs) of the task or document. Completion dates for deliverables from the Contractor may be adjusted during the NEPA process, due to delays caused by various factors beyond the control of BLM and Washington County. The Contractor must have the ability to be flexible in dealing with unplanned delays in the schedule due to several factors, including but not limited to: public concern/controversy, scheduling delays created by review and approval from higher levels within the BLM Page 2 of 6

3 organizational structure; and federal government shutdown periods. When lengthy delays are anticipated, Washington County s Representative will issue a Stop Work order to the Contractor; Washington County will not incur additional contract costs when the Contractor is authorized to resume work under this contract. 2. Environmental Assessment (EA) The Contractor will prepare an EA that can also serve as a Biological Assessment for consultations with US Fish and Wildlife Service (service) under Section 7 of the ESA. The EA will conduct an analysis of the impacts to the human environment that could result from the transfer of the Long Valley tract of federal lands into private ownership and the acquisition of an undetermined amount of non-federal land into federal ownership. The analysis will rely on existing inventory data compiled by BLM or other sources. The Contractor will not be required to conduct any field investigations, but may be required to obtain relevant data from online websites and readily available published sources, where these data are not provided by BLM. The Contractor may be required to collect, compile, and/or analyze some new data and information (e.g. web information on socio-economics), but would not be required to conduct on-the-ground field inventories. The EA will follow the format shown in the BLM Utah NEPA Guidebook (2010) (copy available upon request), except where additional sections maybe required so that the EA also serves as the Biological Assessment for this project. The Contractor will electronically submit an internal review EA, including all maps and graphics, to BLM and Washington County for a review and comment period. The internal review EA will be prepared by a technical writer/editor and include accurate and complete data and analyses. The BLM and Washington County will review this document within 30 days of receipt, unless otherwise specified in the project schedule, and provide written comments back to the Contractor. Based upon the number or complexity of revisions needed, BLM and Washington County will retain the option to require the Contractor to submit multiple internal review drafts, until they are both satisfied that the EA is technically accurate and legally sufficient to meet its NEPA and ESA requirements. The Contractor, upon receipt of BLM or Washington County s comments, will generally have up to 30 days to respond (unless otherwise specified) with the necessary written revisions. Quality Standards: The EA must be prepared by a qualified technical writer/editor, with contents and analyses that are legally defensible and satisfy requirements of NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Guidance (40 CFR ); and the most recent version of the Utah NEPA Guide Book (2010). The impact analyses in the EA will include identification and analysis of impacts for those resource values identified on the ID Team Checklists provided by BLM and identified through public scoping that must be carried forward for detailed analysis. The characterization of impacts will include descriptions of impact duration, intensity, and context. Findings resulting from consultations between BLM and the Service will be included in the EA. Findings based on consultations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act among BLM, the Utah State Historic Preservation Officer, federally-recognized American Tribes, and other Interested Page 3 of 6

4 Parties will be summarized in the EA. The BLM will have sole authority to determine if the EA meets technical adequacy and legal sufficiency requirements. Deliverables: (1) Microsoft Word versions of the internal review, preliminary, and final EA, including all maps, graphics, and photographs, and formatted to follow BLM-Utah NEPA Guidebook requirements; and (2) a 508 compliant PDF of the approved preliminary and final EA for on-line posting through eplanning. 3. Public Comments on the EA At the end of the public comment period, the Contractor will compile and categorize all comments that are received electronically, by fax, or mailed/delivered to BLM, assist with the preparation of comment responses, and any required revisions to the EA, including the incorporation of new information, analyses, and consultations with applicable federal and/or state and local governmental agencies with legal or regulatory oversight. The Contractor will include all public comments received in the Administrative Record database. 4. Administrative Record The Contractor will be responsible for creating and maintaining a searchable database that includes all documents that are part of the Administrative Record. Contractor shall ensure that all hard copies documents are scanned and all documents are in PDF format for inclusion in this database. An index of these documents will also be provided. IV. Government Furnished Materials The attached Exchange Feasibility Analysis provides a description of the proposed exchange, including parcel descriptions and accompanying maps; discussion on planning consistency and the anticipated future use of the federal and non-federal land following the exchange; and a preliminary review of resources based on information available to the BLM. Following award of the contract, the BLM will provide the Contractor with an Interdisciplinary Team Checklist, identifying resource values to be addressed in the EA for the public lands of the Long Valley exchange tract. Anticipated resource and land use issues related to the Long Valley exchange tract include potential, future development-related adverse effects to National Register of Historic Places-eligible prehistoric and historic period sites, Special Status Species and habitats, erodible soils and native vegetation, livestock grazing, and motorized recreation in the Sand Mountain Special Recreation Management Area. The BLM will also provide an Interdisciplinary Team Checklist that identifies the known resource values on the non-federal land that would be acquired into federal ownership within the Red Cliffs NCA. This checklist will be prepared using existing data that is available to BLM, as no field investigations will be conducted by BLM or Washington County related to the proposed acquisition of the non-federal lands. The BLM will also provide Contractor with all comments received during the 45-day public comment period provided for in the September 1, 2015 publication and mailing of the Notice of Page 4 of 6

5 Exchange Proposal, to be considered in the EA as appropriate. The EA will be completed using currently available information from various sources, including relevant websites, published materials, technical reports, and other, non-proprietary data housed at the St. George Field Office. The BLM NEPA Project Manager will be the first contact for this information. The ID Team Checklists will determine the resource values and land uses that are carried forward for detailed analysis in the EA. The cultural resource, wildlife, or other resource data from technical reports provided by BLM will be incorporated into the analysis; sensitive data, such as the location of cultural resources, will not be made available to the public. The BLM will perform all GIS work and prepare cartographic products for this NEPA process, including the production of maps for the scoping meeting and the EA. The completion of this work, and the needed interaction between BLM GIS specialist and the Contractor, will be coordinated by the BLM NEPA Project Manager and will be determined at the project kickoff meeting. The BLM will provide an initial mailing list for scoping as an Excel database spreadsheet. V. Proposal Submission and Content: All bids must be submitted to Washington County by no later than 9:00 AM, November 16, All bids must be accompanied by a detailed work plan which shall contain, at a minimum, the following information: 1) Outline of the planned procedure for completing the EA, including the identification of all employees or sub-contracted employees that will be completing various tasks. 2) Estimated schedule for completion of tasks identified in the SOW. 3) Job cost, including an itemized break down of the costs associated with each task. 4) Quality assurance/quality control used in the review of the EA prior to its submittal to Washington County and the BLM for review and comment. 5) Résumés and qualifications of Contractor and all personnel or sub-contractors conducting any component EA. Bid packages should be submitted to: Washington County Commission Office 197 East Tabernacle St. George, Utah VI. Method and Schedule for Payment: Upon receipt and approval of the final EA, Washington County will authorize payment for the contract, unless another form of payment plan has been proposed and approved at the time of the contract award. VII. Contractor Qualifications and Evaluation Factors: Page 5 of 6

6 1. Technical Qualifications Contractor must demonstrate a professional working knowledge of NEPA, CEQ Guidance, and all federal laws and regulations that apply to the proposed action. The Contractor must also demonstrate that it has adequate project management and technical staffing and organizational capacity to perform the tasks and provide the deliverables required under this contract within the established period of performance. 2. Past Performance Contractor must demonstrate successful past performance in the preparation of NEPA analyses of similar scope and complexity. Evaluation factors will include the quality of the technical writing and the legal sufficiency of prior NEPA analyses prepared by the Contractor. The Contractor will submit an example of an EA of similar scope and complexity that it has completed within the past 3 years, as part of its response to this Request for Quotes. 3. Cost Contract bid price will be considered as one factor in evaluating Quotes. Attachment: 1 Exchange Feasibility Analysis with Parcel Maps Page 6 of 6