In Virginia, Chesterfield County’s Brown & Williamson Conservation Area is a 265-acre undeveloped parcel along the banks of the James River in the historic Bermuda Hundred section of the county. In preparation for the Parks and Recreation Department’s planned upgrades to transform the parcel into a recreational amenity, Schnabel conducted National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) screening.

The NEPA study was a prerequisite to obtaining National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund grant monies, which partially funded the project. Its purpose was to identify and evaluate the potential environmental and cultural effects of the project, and to help guide siting and design decisions to protect important cultural and historic resources.

Our first task was a site visit to assess conditions. Next, we contacted various state and regulatory agencies to request scoping comments on the proposed project. Our screening revealed five historic resources on the site, including remnants of the Bermuda Hundred Settlement, one of the first permanent English settlements in Virginia. We also identified one protected species and two endangered species. Based on these and other findings, the NEPA screening concluded that short-term cumulative impacts were likely to occur during construction.

The scope of our services also included additional coordination with state agencies, managing a Phase 1 archaeological survey and flora survey by certified inspectors, analyzing project alternatives, and assisting the county with mitigation strategies and techniques to address minor impacts for each affected environment.