Protecting Nature's Balance: The Vital Role of Protected Species Surveys in Environmental Projects

At Hollaway Environmental + Communications Services, protected species surveys are a necessary factor in ensuring that our client’s project(s) will not interfere with the ecological processes of the proposed project area. The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed by Congress in 1973, aims to prevent the extinction of native flora and fauna in the United States.

Hollaway’s skilled biologists work as trusted advisors, conducting various biological surveys to maintain our responsibility with respect to the ESA. These surveys highlight the importance of a particular project area’s natural resources and how the natural balance of these resources could be potentially offset if disturbed. In some cases, if critical habitat is identified, the ESA prohibits any activities that could potentially harm protected species unless a permit is granted from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Each project requires a unique perspective as each environment’s ecological system operates differently. Typically, threatened and endangered species habitat assessments are the baseline for Hollaway’s inquisitive determination for potentially broadening the surveys. The surveys consist of biologists conducting extensive desktop analyses and performing field work, which allows an all-around opportunity for current (in-real-time) results to align with the associated ecological patterns of the project area’s surroundings. Habitats that are identified during a field survey could receive additional protocoled investigation to further substantiate the impact determinations, including (but not limited to) stream assessments, migratory bird surveys and freshwater mussel surveys.

Stream assessments are conducted to evaluate the aquatic status, biological presence, and quality of the stream’s conditions. Understanding a stream system’s health is important because it offers beneficial information about the environment’s ecosystem and dependence on the water source.

Migratory bird surveys are conducted to identify and analyze flock activities and active nests that would help improve the quality of the species’ population and habitat.



Freshwater mussel surveys are conducted to determine the absence or presence of freshwater mussels within or adjacent to the project area and what impact they may or may not face from proposed construction activities.


Conducting protected species surveys is just one of the many services that Hollaway has to offer!

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Taffeta Burleson


Taffeta Burleson supports the Hollaway Environmental + Communications Services team as an Associate Environmental Scientist. She has gained experience in a wide range of environmental services during her time with HECS, including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, wetland delineations, and threatened and endangered species assessments. She supports an array of projects including mitigation, transportation, and municipal infrastructure. She brings with her a strong skillset in field research, data analysis, and GIS mapping.

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