Over the past 20 years, Benchmark scientists have developed excellent working relationships with many state and federal agency representatives regarding management of Threatened and Endangered Species (TES). Benchmark routinely works with scientists and engineers from EPA, NMFS, NOAA, USACE, USFWS, TGLO, TCEQ, TPWD, TSU, and TXDOT to develop unique TES avoidance approaches.
Benchmark currently holds valid permits to handle many of the listed species in the State of Texas.
Habitat Mapping and Utilization Studies
Benchmark searches Federal and State listed Threatened and Endangered Species databases to evaluate for potential occurrences at each site based on species ecology, habitat occurrence, and known sightings of listed organisms. Benchmark scientists routinely classify and map habitats to identify areas where TES species are likely to occur.
The goal of these studies is to categorize and map habitat by using a variety of characteristics including: soil type, moisture level, and vegetative cover. These studies lay the framework for more detailed population density and species diversity studies to evaluate wildlife utilization and TES presence.
Benchmark scientists have conducted biodiversity studies to support stream classification, special use permits, site clean-up, and mitigation projects. Benchmark scientists have conducted and designed special studies involving mark/recapture, sonic tagging, trapping, netting, and stratified random sample collection. Studies are conducted according to federal and state agency standards.
TES Relocation Services
Benchmark routinely conducts TES relocation efforts prior to the start of construction projects. Scientists travel to an area that will be disturbed by humans. The scientists then identify and capture any TES species that may be in the area. The TES species are then relocated nearby to similar habitats.
Recent relocation efforts have been centered on the Houston Toad, Texas Horned Lizard, and other various listed reptiles species.
TES Monitoring During Construction
Benchmark personnel provide support during drilling and pipeline construction projects for avoidance of listed species. Initial site visits are conducted to survey areas proposed to be disturbed in order to relocate listed organisms that may be present.
Additional avoidance steps include barricading the workspace with silt fencing and other methods to prevent organisms from entering the site. Benchmark personnel monitor the site prior to work being conducted each day and relocate organism should the project pose a threat.