Expert Approved by State and Federal Agencies to Identify Endangered Habitat; Assists Developers in Achieving Environmental Compliance within Narrow Two-Month Window
Lancaster, Pa. – RETTEW, a multidiscipline engineering, planning, land development, environmental consulting and surveying firm, recently welcomed Jeremy T. Hite as a full-time, qualified bog turtle surveyor. Hite’s experience and credentials have earned him state and federal agency approval to assist land developers, planners, transportation agencies, municipalities and private land owners with meeting environmental compliance regulations for preserving and protecting bog turtle habitats. The most stringent of these regulations require parties to have a certified bog turtle surveyor complete all Phase II surveys within only a two-month window between April 15 and June 15 each year.
“Jeremy’s expertise greatly benefits individuals and business owners who are lining up their 2008 construction projects by allowing them to achieve environmental compliance regarding bog turtles,” said Mark P. Lauriello, PE, president, RETTEW. “We’re glad to have him on board.”
Bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) can be found in wetlands throughout southcentral and eastern Pennsylvania, as well as in other states, and are on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (FBC) list of endangered species and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) list of threatened species. Bog turtle habitats are located in 15 Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Delaware, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill and York.
Since state and federal law prohibits land development activity from disturbing or impacting bog turtle habitats, anyone planning land development activity on parcels containing wetlands in these counties must comply with strict guidelines and regulations. Specifically, a qualified bog turtle surveyor must conduct an initial (Phase I) survey of the wetlands. If the survey detects potential bog turtle habitat, the qualified surveyor must then visually confirm the presence or absence of any bog turtles on the property by completing a Phase II survey between April 15 and June 15, when the turtles are above ground and active. Otherwise, the land development project must halt until the Phase II survey can be completed during the next April-June timeframe the following year.
If the Phase II survey uncovers bog turtles, the qualified bog turtle surveyor serves as a liaison between the developer and federal/state agencies to achieve environmental compliance by ensuring no adverse effects to habitat. If the Phase II survey does not uncover bog turtles, the qualified bog turtle surveyor works with state and federal agencies to expedite the project by obtaining required environmental permits.
With nearly eight years of experience working with bog turtle habitats, Hite earned placement on FBC’s and FWS’s list of qualified bog turtle surveyors by proving his expertise through hands-on work at the Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center and with senior bog turtle experts. He has consulted with dozens of clients ranging from large-scale commercial and residential developers to smaller townships and private land owners. Hite has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and is a member of the Wildlife Society, Pennsylvania chapter.
To learn more about state and federal requirements surrounding bog turtle habitats or to schedule a consultation, contact RETTEW at 1-800-RETTEW-5.
Established in 1969, RETTEW is a full-service firm providing engineering, land development, planning, surveying and environmental consulting services. With 250 employees, RETTEW has offices located in Camp Hill, Chambersburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster, Nazareth, and Schuylkill Haven, Pa.; and Liberty and Margaretville, N.Y.