Finding the Balance Between Infrastructure and Habitat Protection

Jane Rozga Project Manager CH2M HILL

Jane Rozga
Project Manager
CH2M HILL

ACEC members are trained to seek creative solutions to problems. We are proud to help clients achieve their vision and thrive when we have the opportunity to bring a vague concept into focus. Some of the toughest challenges we tackle today require balancing human needs for infrastructure with a heart-felt desire to preserve natural habitat.

Projects are in the headlines when a construction project threatens to impact the environment in some manner. What are not in the headlines are the countless projects where ACEC member firms have helped to build consensus between stakeholders with disparate interests so that infrastructure can be improved while protecting the environment.

Problem-solving techniques have historically been used to design cost-effective projects within space and other constraints. We strive for elegant technical solutions that sometimes will last a lifetime. Similar techniques are now applied to craft truly optimal solutions, taking a myriad of environmental impacts into account along with budget, schedule, design criteria, and functional priorities. Modeling and simulation tools support analysis, decision making, and communication of complex issues. Even more critical than the decision technique is the ability to articulate the process and facilitate the participation of stakeholders in identifying and prioritizing criteria, developing and evaluating alternatives, and determining the best possible solutions. Finally, being able to communicate effectively about the process and results is crucial to building the consensus needed to allow important projects to proceed.

All infrastructure projects are obligated to consider environmental impacts. Through awareness of issues and a culture of practical, collaborative approaches to problem-solving, ACEC member firms are prepared to forge the compromises required to accommodate a wide range of stakeholder priorities related to infrastructure. Triple bottom line accounting (economic, environmental, and societal considerations), assessing risks to ecosystems, and designing to allow adaptability in response to climate change are all examples of the evolution of engineering practices to environmental concerns.

As California works to maintain and improve critical infrastructure, including water supply and distribution, water recycling, power supply and transmission, goods and people movement, opportunities to preserve and enhance habitat will be considered. When necessary, mitigation of impacts will be implemented in collaboration with resource agencies. ACEC members want to provide future generations with both the infrastructure and the environmental resources necessary to sustain the quality of life we enjoy in California. If you are involved in the planning of infrastructure, invite ACEC members to the table early to take advantage of all we have to offer in the development of a project.

For more information on California’s water crisis, read ACEC California’s latest issues of Engineering and Surveying Business Review at the link below.  You will find articles about the severe drought that continues to impact the entire state and ACEC California members offer potential solutions to our state’s water woes.

California’s Water Crisis

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