Global Solutions for People, Programs and Process
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Power Plant Research Program
Location: Annapolis, MD
Year: 1974 - present
Scope: Environmental Studies; Chemical Sampling and Analysis; Preliminary Site; Assessment; Mitigation/Ecosystem Restoration; Multi-agency Regulatory Review; Project Assessment Reports
Versar has provided support to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) since 1974. For nearly 45 years, Versar has been evaluating the effects of power generation and transmission facilities on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and conducting research relating to power generation and transmission. Versar supports the state in preparing site assessments and Project Assessment Reports (PAR - similar to federal Environmental Assessments) as part of state licensing for proposed facilities; in regulatory proceedings before the Maryland Public Service Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); by supporting permitting and permit renewal processes (e.g., National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, 404 wetlands, water quality certification, water appropriations); and in assessing the ecological effects of existing and proposed facilities. Versar conducts a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic field surveys, laboratory studies, statistical analyses, and modeling efforts.
One specific project example was collection of benthic community habitat data in the State's Atlantic Ocean waters in preparation for potential offshore wind energy development. PPRP partnered with DNR's Chesapeake and Coastal Service (CCS) with Versar. The team identified nearshore benthic mapping and biological inventory surveys as a high priority because little is known about nearshore benthic habitats off Maryland's Atlantic coast. The project combined the data collected from a comprehensive sonar mapping survey conducted by Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) in Maryland’s ocean waters north of the Ocean City Inlet with benthic invertebrate and fish data collected by Versar to develop spatially explicit characterizations of coastal habitats and associated living resources.