LJA Engineering | Insights 2018 | Public Infrastructure

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we build civilization




LJA ON THE MOVE LJA continues to accelerate. We are now home to 750 people in 28 offices, performing hundreds of services in six sectors/markets. LJA expanded our offerings state-wide to include Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI), Environmental, and Water Planning and Resource Development in the last year. We also continue to add great companies to our family; Berg-Oliver in Houston and Arlington; Precision Aerial Compliance Solutions in Conroe; and, Horizon Environmental Services in Austin. We continue to grow our capabilities and geographic reach even farther, unveiling more websites, welcoming new staff, and observing the kickoff of major projects.

Thank you! Our success in 2018 is a direct reflection on you, the employees and clients of LJA. Without you, we would not be who we are or where we are. Thank you for your support and years of trust. We look forward to the next milestone, building civilization, and creating better lives for staff, clients, and communities.

Calvin Ladner, PE President and CEO LJA Engineering

Our success is a direct reflection on you, the employees and clients of LJA.

CONTENTS | Headliners


PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE 01 Traffic or Flooding? 03 Lynchburg Ferry Hurricane Harvey

Emergency Repair

06 I-610 Expansion 07 Looking Forward – TAG on the Move

08 LJA Adds National Expert

to Public Works Division

09 We Manage Life’s Most

Precious Resource

11 Harris County and City of Houston

Floodplain Regulation Update





13 On the Ground in Sienna Plantation

18 Clean Water Act:

14 Spring Economic Forecast 15 Technology and Community

The Importance of February 2020

SURVEYING 19 First Use of LiDAR for Flood Surveys 20 Get to Know our Drone Services


Like others in our region, LJA has been busy with post Hurricane Harvey issues by helping our clients recover and rebuild their communities and also distributing aid to help our employees most directly harmed by the storm. Few in the region were not affected by Harvey in some way, and we cannot forget the flooding we endured. We have included articles in this newsletter highlighting some specific Harvey related information and projects. I was a little surprised when the 2018 Kinder Houston Area Survey stated “traffic” was still identified as the biggest problem for the area, out polling “flooding” in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties by more than a 2 to 1 margin. These three counties were chosen for the Kinder survey since they are the most populous in the region. This is the 6th year in a row that traffic has led the poll. To read the entire survey, go to: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4444500Houston-Area-Survey-2018-Kinder-Institute-for. html?embed=true&responsive=false&sidebar=false I initially thought flooding would come out first because of the widespread impact and publicity of Harvey, but Texans are a resilient group. We are recovering, which means we are back at work and enjoying the trials and tribulations of Houston traffic. In the LJA Public Infrastructure newsletter following this one, I will address our flooding concerns as plans should be better scoped when federal, state, and local fund appropriations become defined. I encourage all in Harris County to vote for the flood control bond on August 25. First the good news: Since traffic and flooding were the two biggest issues identified in the survey, LJA has the planning and engineering talent and resources to improve both. The bad news is these capital improvements will require a lot of money which is always a limiting issue. Our existing infrastructure is getting old, and we need to maintain it. Poorly maintained facilities are also expensive to repair.


Additional infrastructure is needed because Texas has 1,500 new people a day moving into our state and is projected to add 15 million new residents over the next 25 years. So let’s take a look at federal and state funding for our traffic and transportation concerns and see what is being done or contemplated to help with the Kinder survey number one concern.

TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION FUNDING FEDERAL On the federal side, Texas is still a donor state. This means for every dollar we collect for the federal gas tax we only get 90 cents. Texas currently receives about $3.5 billion/ year, but we sent more than $500 million in 2016 taxes to the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) account that we didn’t get back. The HTF is funded by the federal gas/diesel tax we all pay at the pump, and it has not increased in 26 years. The fund currently spends a lot more that it collects. Congress has been patching the fund with general revenue since 2008 including a large $70 billion transfer in 2016. The HTF is projected to become insolvent in 2021 when the last of the general revenue is gone. Lawmakers could close the imbalance by raising the gas tax 9 cents a gallon and indexing it to inflation, but politically I don’t see that happening.

The Trump infrastructure plan counts more on so-called “new” money, private investment capital, and cuts to the HTF. The plan calls for the federal government to invest $200 billion over the next decade to leverage as much as $1.5  trillion in state and private infrastructure spending. The catch for state and local officials is that most of this “new” money would come from the state or city’s own pockets, either by borrowing, taxing, tolling, or cutting budgets. I do not think that will work well for Texas.

Last I heard, our Proposition 1 and Proposition 7 money was not “new” enough to count.

Texas. We are still a vibrant

Congress and the President have not reconciled their

growing state with an excellent economy and low cost of

differences yet. On the positive front, infrastructure funding

living. TxDOT’s 10 year Unified Transportation Program will

is a bi-partisan effort as every congressman can go home

spend $70 Billion and includes hundreds of projects across

and boast about what they did for their hometown.

the state to improve mobility. We are headed in the right direction, but we can also do better. Another $1 billion of


transportation money annually will get us a US 290 project

Texas has made great strides for increasing state highway

that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We will also work in the

funding with over 80% voting in favor of two recent

next legislative session to keep tolling in the tool box to be

constitutional amendments. Proposition 1 passed in 2014

able to utilize it for the right project.

and dedicates a portion of oil and natural gas production taxes (Rainy Day Fund) to highways after a certain threshold

When we have another 15 million Texans, we won’t be

is met. Proposition 7 passed in 2015 and takes certain sales

able to keep widening our highways forever. Mass transit

tax money and transfers it to the highway fund. For the 18/19

expansion needs to be discussed,

biennium, these total $5.42 Billion. Added funding from

but that is for another day.

ending diversions from the state gas tax further increased

In the Kinder survey, 60% of

state transportation funding by $650 Million per year. As

Harris County respondents

sales tax and oil/gas revenue increase, these funds should

said an improved mass transit

increase from their current $3.31 Billion a year average. In the

system is “very important” to

near future, legislatures will have to vote to extend funding

the future of Houston while 50%

for both of these propositions.

in Montgomery County and 56% in Fort Bend also agree

So what do we need from the state? A committee made up

with that statement. Funding for

of business leaders provided an independent assessment of

mass transit is always a tough

the state’s transportation infrastructure and mobility needs


from 2011 to 2035. They determined that in order to maintain current congestion levels, Texas needs an additional

I encourage everyone to ask

$4.6 to $5 Billion per year, so we still are behind over $1.3

their elected leaders about

Billion a year. To put that number in perspective, that is the

these issues and the need to

cost of the US 290 improvements alone. In addition, the

improve our infrastructure. Feel

needs number didn’t figure on the state turning away from

free to contact me if you have

developing future toll facilities which has been voiced by

comments or questions.

some in the current state leadership. I know some of the above is not encouraging, but we have to remember there is a reason everyone wants to move to

Jeff Collins, PE, PMP, EVP Director of Public Infrastructure 02


LYNCHBURG FERRY HURRICANE HARVEY EMERGENCY REPAIR by Dan Copps, PE, Vice President Lynchburg Ferry is a system located in

available budget allocated through the

specifically on the water infrastructure

Baytown, Texas moving vehicles and

Federal Ferry Boat Program.

(collapse of some structures and

pedestrians across the Houston ship


structural instability of others).

channel. It has been operated by Harris

A few weeks into the project (August

County (HC) Precinct 2 continuously

25–30), Hurricane Harvey hit the

The LJA team was lead by Dan Copps

since 1888. In July 2017, LJA signed a

Houston area with unprecedented

and composed of eight PEs, two EITs,

contract with HC Precinct 2 and the

record rainfall. The high volume and

and two CAD designers, all from three

Harris County Engineering Department

velocity of water coming through the

different LJA divisions (Transportation,

(HCED) to provide Phase I pre-design

project site had significant impact to

Midstream, and Coastal) and located

engineering services for the repair

the facility. Recorded scour on the

in three different offices. This team

and upgrading of the Lynchburg Ferry

North Landing, located the closest to

only had four days to prepare a mock


the San Jacinto River, exceeded 25FT

“bid” repair package. Contractors then

with water flow velocities in excess

had three days to prepare their bid,

LJA was tasked to investigate

of 11 ft/sec. Following the event, HC

and LJA had one day to review and

rehabilitation/reconstruction options

Precinct 2 and HCED inspected the

make award recommendations for the

of the ferry terminal structures to meet

facility and found several damages,

emergency repairs.




HC Precinct 2 called a meeting with all involved parties. LJA evaluated the damage after Harvey and came up with a plan of action for repair.

HC informed LJA that repair work had to be completed by February 2018 (4 month design and construction period) to meet FHWA emergency relief funding.

Deadline for LJA to have a “mock” bid package prepared, allowing for project to be awarded to a contractor before expiration of the disaster declaration.

The contract was awarded to Russel

result in time savings on construction,

Authority to handle oversight of

Marine on October 9. The detailed

material procurement, coatings, and

this fast-track project. This included

design that followed the preliminary

fabrication. A 24 hour turnaround on

monitoring the project and providing

design had several challenges to

RFI and shop drawing review was

feedback to engineering staff of

overcome. Most important was the

maintained by LJA throughout the

issues and modifications required in

hard completion deadline for the


the field. Pile driving caused some

project. Intermediate deadlines were

soil settlement of the site, requiring

built into the contractor’s contract that

In addition to time constraints, all

a monitoring program to ensure

required LJA to release smaller design

works could not be considered a

no permanent damage occurred

packages on specific milestone dates.

“betterment” of the infrastructure in

to surrounding structures. Weekly

Designs that required procurement of

order to remain eligible for FHWA

progress meetings were required with

long lead items were completed first.

reimbursement. LJA worked closely

HC Precinct 2, HCED, HCTRA, TxDOT,

with HC Precinct 2, HCED, and

FHWA, and Russel Marine to ensure

At every step, LJA investigated

FHWA to go through design details

the project was on schedule and

availability of materials specified in the

and material specification to assure

followed the necessary requirements

design, always trying to incorporate

work followed standards of practice

of the Disaster Relief Program. The

items with short lead times. Special

acceptable by FHWA.

project was successfully completed

details were developed that reduced

on February 14 and the ferry re-

the required construction time.

LJA’s Construction Services provided

opened to the public on March 3. LJA

LJA collaborated closely with the

full-time inspection in combination

is programmed to perform Phase II

contractor and steel fabricator (King

with the Construction Management

design of the project using the original

Fabrication) to identify areas that could

arm of Harris County Toll Road

grant funding.



LJA successfully completed the project.

The ferry was re-opened to the public.


04 05


I-610 EXPANSION by Todd Thurber, PE, Vice President The second most congested highway in Texas (I-610 West Loop) is about to experience a major overhaul. With the price tag of nearly $259 Million, the transformation of I-610 West and I-69 South will improve safety, mobility, and reduce congestion. Currently, these interchanges face high volume onelane traffic on direct connectors and are safety risks. They have no shoulders, low vertical clearances, below-minimum sight distances, and high crash rates in merge areas. The interchanges are also extremely congested during peak hours of the day. LJA has partnered with AIA Engineers, Aguirre and Fields, and AECOM to improve this congestion. Originally three individual projects, these work efforts were combined into one single project to reconstruct the entire interchange, funded through TxDOT’s Texas Clear Lanes initiative. The design for the major construction project is complete and utilities work has begun. Construction and detour activities began in January 2018, and are expected to last approximately six years. In the short-term, Houstonians can expect phased lane closures and night-time and weekend freeway closures during construction.

In the future, our communities can expect improved safety, mobility, and a decrease in congestion. 05 06


LOOKING FORWARD - TAG ON THE MOVE by Andrea French, Executive Director, TAG Houston

www.taghouston.org As the last drops of Hurricane Harvey’s days of devastation slammed the Houston region, infrastructure experts quickly compiled lists of critical repairs and projects. At the ready, leaders emerged with requests for aid and funding to fix damaged infrastructure and build new transportation systems to plan and prepare for the future. The Transportation Advocacy Group (TAG) has led much of the dialogue surrounding our region’s mobility needs prior to and after Harvey’s impact. Continuously working to keep our region moving forward, TAG’s biggest challenge remains in gathering widespread support for funding these critical needs – both the political will and the public sentiment has to be strong for the passage of impactful legislation. TAG is led by Co-chairs Dr. Carol Lewis of TSU and Jeff Collins, Executive Vice President of LJA. For the last few years, TAG has focused on developing a vision for what the core of our region needs to accommodate our growing population and maintain our national and global competitiveness – moving people and moving goods must be priorities for a resilient region. TAG’s MotionMAP, updated and released annually, outlines these needs and delineates the estimated costs by mode with input from Houston’s leading transportation agencies including: TxDOT, METRO, PortHouston, the Gulf Coast Rail District, HCTRA, The City of Houston, and BikeHouston. TAG’s MotionMAP reveals projects not included on current financially constrained plans, yet necessary for our region’s vitality. TAG’s next venture includes an aggressive educational campaign aimed at providing Houston’s residents with a better understanding of why we need to invest in our infrastructure, how we can make this investment, and how this will shape the future of our quality of life, economic vitality, and everyday movement. TAG is committed to being bold and visionary as we take our advocacy to the next level. Stay tuned!



LJA ADDS NATIONAL EXPERT TO PUBLIC WORKS DIVISION He is a leading technical expert who developed new techniques of analyzing and solving water resources challenges. An eminent practitioner, he has served on many boards, committees, and workgroups to craft policy, implement new regulations, and develop solutions to complex environmental impacts of public works projects. Instrumental in founding ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI), his work and teaching in the areas of water resources and oceanography demonstrate an overall understanding and high level of expertise in water quality, stream gaging, storm/floods-runoff, tidal effect, and freshwater inflow requirements to river and bay systems. In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Espey’s work has been instrumental in evaluation of waterways across Texas and the United William H. Espey, PE, PhD, D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE has joined LJA in the Public Works Division as Director of Water Resources. With 60 years of experience in water management and coastal engineering, his distinguished career and reputation provide a strong complement to LJA’s own capacity and capabilities. He is a registered engineer in four states and a founding Diplomat of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. Dr. Espey is nationally recognized as having contributed notable advancements in urban watershed analysis, stormwater management, and hydraulic modeling.

States, including the Texas Bay System, Mississippi River System, Louisiana, and Illinois (Lake Michigan System). He holds appointments to several committees, including the Lake Michigan Diversion Technical Committee as mandated by the modified Supreme Court decree of 1980, for which he was the committee’s first chair, a role that he continues to this day. He also serves on the independent Technical Review panel for the USACE/FEMA Joint Texas Coastal Hurricane Surge Project and is chair of the Basin and Bay Expert Science Team (BBEST) mandated by Texas Senate Bill 3.

“It is an honor to welcome Dr. Espey to the LJA family. His expertise is a perfect addition to our already strong water resource teams in Texas and provides us with additional opportunities throughout the United States.” -Allen Sims, VP Water Resources



WE MANAGE LIFE’S MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE. If it involves H2O, we have the experts to collect, control, convey, channel, and construct it. With over 125 personnel dedicated to water resources, LJA covers Texas with comprehensive services for both public and private clients. We are led by Allen Sims, PE, Dr. John Grounds III, PE, PhD, D.WRE, CFM, and Dr. William Espey PE, PhD, D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, all highly respected locally, regionally, and nationally for their significant impacts in keeping people safe, communities strong, and environments protected. Water is the most significant resource we have, and LJA is continuously leading the way to ensure its safety and stewardship, now and for future generations.

Flood Control and Drainage Movement, conveyance, and quality of water is adeptly addressed by our flood control and drainage team offering initial feasibility studies and master planning, along with detailed design and construction administration services for regional detention ponds, subdivision drainage, channel improvements, and hydraulic structures.


Water Rights At LJA, we are experienced in assisting out clients with water rights analysis, permitting, and defense. Water rights in Texas can be difficult to navigate, but LJA is the ability to shepherd our clients through the process. We are also available to review new water right applications or amendments to ensure our clients’ existing rights are not negatively impacted by another user.

Hydrology & Hydraulics Long-term drainage must consider social, economic, environmental, and aesthetic concerns while managing stormwater runoff to reduce the risks of flooding. Our hydrology and hydraulics team works internally with LJA project managers to provide drainage analyses and design for our land development clients.

River Authorities

Public Works

Water Transmission

We stand ready to assist Texas river authorities with large open channel freshwater conveyance systems, pump station design, custody transfer metering, regulatory permitting/ compliance, operational plan development, and water rights management. We understand the complexities serving industrial, municipal, and agricultural customers all from the same open channel system to best meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Our experience includes general engineering consultation, studies, capital improvement planning, program/construction management, and public/private partnerships. We solve the most vexing challenges for water and wastewater lines and treatment plants, pump stations, stormwater collection systems, roadways, recreation facilities, and other municipal development.

LJA has analyzed, designed, and managed the construction of water supply canals and pump stations to transport raw river water to industrial and municipal clients for processes, cooling, and treatment to provide potable drinking water. Once treated, we have designed the transmission lines to distribute the water from plant to the tap.


Disaster Recovery

Long Range Planning

Successful recovery from natural and other disasters begins with good preparation and planning. LJA provides communities and agencies with the knowledge and experience to help identify needs, prepare in advance, respond to real-time conditions, and follow through during post-disaster recovery. We also work with public and private water authority clients to maximize the benefits of river and navigation channels while protecting natural resource functions and values.

Comfort, prosperity, and life itself depend directly on the availability of a fresh, safe, and reliable water source. LJA staff is experienced in evaluating and developing long range plans to ensure adequate resources for today and for future generations. We use state approved methods for forecasting water availability and reliability in conjunction with analysis of future population growth, industrial expansions, environmental protection, and recreational benefits.

Environmental Site Assessments

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans

Vast knowledge of our local regions and a wealth of in-house resources allow us to respond quickly to each client’s needs. Site assessments are conducted by environmental scientists in accordance with the most current ASTM International standards to ensure that our clients get the most accurate evaluation of their property.

To comply with Phase 1 and Phase 2 MS4 permits, our Certified Professionals in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) give us the expertise to develop stormwater pollution prevention plans that comply with the Construction General Permit. Our CPESCs ensure that structural controls incorporated into each SWP3 are effective and cost-efficient.

Drainage Master Planning and Design • • • •

Flood Control Studies

Water Availability Modeling

Surface Water Supply Reliability Analysis

Dam Breach Analysis

Bridge & Hydraulic Structure Capacity and Scour Analyses

Permitting and Compliance • • •

LJA Surveying utilizes high-end, drone LiDAR to provide the laser assessment for our clients. Deploying one of the few drones in the country capable of this type of survey, this provides a first look of its kind at the drainage systems to evaluate current conditions and consider improvements for future preventive measures. Our cutting-edge systems are setting a new industry standard for accuracy and efficiency.

Emergency Response Plans

Hazard Mitigation Plans and Monitoring

Environmental GIS/CADD Mapping

Coastal Infrastructure

Disaster Recovery and Restoration

Grant Funding Application and Program Management

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure We use our far-reaching and comprehensive experience to produce countless SPCC plans for a variety of facilities. SPCC plans are developed in accordance with current 40 CFR regulations, so clients receive a plan that is compliant and protects the natural resources in their community.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Drone LiDAR

Conveyance Channels Pump Stations Detention/Retention Facilities Flood Plain Delineations and Hazard Area Mapping

• • • •

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program (PDM) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Texas Water Development Board (TWDB)

Feasibility Studies and Design Reports

Construction Management



HARRIS COUNTY AND CITY OF HOUSTON FLOOD by John Grounds, III, PhD, PE, CFM, D.WRE, Vice President, Director of Water Resources

After Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston has adopted changes to Chapter 19 Flood Plain Ordinance to become effective September 1, 2018. This ordinance increases the regulatory area from the 100- to the 500-year floodplain, or the “Houston Special Flood Hazard Area.� Finished floors elevations for new residential structures will increase from the 100-year + 1-foot to the 500-year + 2-feet. Fill mitigations requirements will increase from the 100- to 500-year water surface elevation. Structural fill can be used except in floodways and coastal zones. These requirements have been summarized by the City of Houston in the table below. There are many other conditions (critical buildings, schools, floodway, coastal zones, overland flow zones, and flood proofing) for consideration that only apply to City of Houston. Please refer to the regulations or consult with LJA for the many conditions outside the scope of this summary.

Current vs. Future Approved

http://www.houstontx.gov/council/committees/tti/20180212/floodplain-revisions.pdf Additions may be required to elevate fully if it causes a Substantial Improvement.


DPLAIN REGULATION UPDATE Harris County has already passed updated floodplain regulations that became effective on January 1, 2018. These regulations are enforced within the unincorporated areas of Harris County. These regulatory changes are summarized on the HCPID “Cheat Sheet” below. Although these changes may appear to be similar, Harris County does not require floodplain fill mitigation above the 100year water surface elevation where the City of Houston may require fill mitigation up to the 500-year elevation. The types of allowable foundations, elevations in floodways, conveyance analysis criteria, and other scenarios differ between these two entities and are different from all other cities in Harris County and the surrounding counties. For assistance in the interpretation, implementation, and permitting of your projects within the 500-year floodplain, contact your floodplain experts at LJA.

HCPID “Cheat Sheet”




ON THE GROUND IN SIENNA PLANTATION by Amanda Carriage, PE, CFM, Senior Project Manager Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented weather event that had significant historical impact to the entire Southeast Texas region, including Sienna Plantation. Harvey produced an excess of 38” of rainfall over five days within the Sienna Plantation Development. On August 25th, 26th, and 27th over 19” of rain fell which exceeded the internal drainage capacity. The Brazos River reached flood stage around mid afternoon on August 27th, therefore the gates at the outfall structure had to be closed and the pumps turned on. Once the gates were closed, Sienna Plantation received an additional 16” of rainfall over the next two days. This amount of rainfall is over twice the amount required for current design standards.

During this historic event, several employees of LJA were in Sienna Plantation offering assistance to the operator as well as the residents. LJA ordered and had delivered temporary pumps to be placed along the levee to help provide relief for the system. Employees were on the ground monitoring the pump stations at both the North and South station, inspecting the levee to ensure no failures as the Brazos River continued to rise and collected data hourly on this record breaking storm. The District Engineer was heavily involved in the daily OEM conference calls and provided vital information to the county to aid in the decision making process regarding voluntary and mandatory evacuations.


LAND DEVELOPMENT | Leading and Learning

SPRING ECONOMIC FORECAST by Karina Moreno, External Communications Manager Each year LJA offers our clients invaluable industry insight

This spring we welcomed Dr. Mark G. Dotzour, a highly

and understanding of economic issues, business solutions

regarded economist who previously served for nearly two

and property trends in Texas at our semi-annual Economic

decades as chief economist of the Real Estate Center at

Forecasts. We invite our private and public clients, partners,

Texas A&M University, to speak to over 250 elected officials,

and developers, located in the Gulf Coast region of Texas to

major land developers and builders, financial advisors, and

attend each Spring and Fall. Reaching capacity crowds, the

local legal counsel whose practices are affected by the state

event showcases top analysts, current data and research,

of the economy.

and future-casting on a range of topics that appeal to all sectors of industry from land development, banking, and

Dr. Dotzour gave an informative, yet entertaining,

energy to real estate.

perspective on job growth, interest rates and inflation, residential and commercial real estate markets, and the energy industry in our region. His presentation also included an international focus on Europe, China, Japan, and the Middle East and their impact on business conditions in the U.S. while touching lightly on how the president and regional politicians are likely to impact business decisions. This event provides a “tool kit� of knowledge to help our clients make good investment and business decisions based upon the current and projected economic climate and is a great networking opportunity for those alike.




Our GIS their pr advanc throug teachin and im of per techn

Christian Arredondo, GIS Application Developer, live coded his presentation “Angular Routing� at a recent ngHouston meeting. ngHouston is a group dedicated to discussing the latest trends and topics in the Angular software framework and is comprised of passionate developers from all skill levels and backgrounds. LJA GIS focuses on building applications for managing spatial data, in particular, allowing maps to seamlessly integrate with data that is rapidly changing. This provides clients with a powerful and practical, user-friendly tool for managing a wide range of their projects and information. The applications are custom-made to specifications, address immediate problems, and are designed with the end-user in mind. If you require web solutions to manage project data and wish to engage your business processes in a quick and efficient manner, LJA GIS can help. For more information on LJA GIS, please visit: https://www.lja.com/gis/ To watch Christian in action: https://lnkd.in/eCtdWAB


team maintains remier edge by cing expertise gh ongoing ng, training, mplementation ripheral web nologies.


The EPA and Corps sent the draft rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on June 15, 2018. The OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has 90 days to review the proposed rule with other government agencies, but the rulemaking agency or agencies can extend that review indefinitely. The EPA and Corps have not released the document sent to the OMB. The proposed WOTUS rule is anticipated to be published in the Federal Register by August and a Final Rule by November 2019.



CLEAN WATER ACT: THE IMPORTANCE OF FEBRUARY 2020 by Susan Alford, REM Jurisdictional Waters of the United States (WOTUS),

Beginning in July 2017, the EPA and the USACE initiated

which includes wetlands, are regulated by the Clean

the formal notice to begin the two-step APA process

Water Act (CWA) under the authority of the United

intended to review and revise the Final WOTUS Rule

States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the

(Congressional Federal Register (CFR § 37053 (2015))

United States Environmental Protection Agency

as directed in Presidential Executive Order 13778.

(EPA). On June 29, 2015, the USEPA and the USACE

On January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court held that a U.S.

(agencies) published a final rule defining the scope

Court of Appeal does not have original jurisdiction to

of waters protected under the CWA known as the

review challenges to the 2015 Rule.

Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” (Final Rule) in the Congressional

The Federal Register (83 FR 5200) published on

Federal Register (CFR § 37053 (2015)). This

February 6, 2018 provides the effective date of a Final

Final Rule drastically expanded the limits of

WOTUS Rule. The notice follows the January 22, 2018

jurisdictional waters.

Supreme Court decision lifting the STAY on the rule in Texas. A Final WOTUS Rule, to be determined by formal

The 2015 Final Rule has seen an ON, then

rule-making process, will become effective on February

OFF, then ON-Again history of the last few

6, 2020 according to 83 FR 5200 “Definition of Waters

years. The 2015 Rule became effective

of the United States” - Addition of an Applicability

on August 28, 2015. Immediately the U.S.

Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule. With this process, the

District Court for the District of North

agencies intend to maintain the status quo by adding

Dakota enjoined the applicability of the

an applicability date to the 2015 Rule and thus providing

2015 Rule in the 13 States challenging the

continuity and regulatory certainty for regulated entities,

2015 Rule in that court. In response to

the States and Tribes, and the public while the agencies

petitions filed by eighteen (18) separate

continue to consider possible revisions to the 2015 Rule.

states, including Texas, the U.S. Court

The new Final Rule will be published for public comment sometime in 2019.

of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued


a nationwide Order of Stay for the

The manner wetlands and waters (including mapped

2015 Rule on October 9, 2015 pending

and unmapped tributaries) are to be evaluated is

completion of judicial review (Sixth

STATUS QUO until the effective date of February 6,

Circuit I.O.P. 32.1(b)). Petitioners

2020. This gives you 2 short years to work under the

contended that the Final Rule

current defined rules to get projects assessed, fully

expands the regulatory jurisdiction

documented using the Corps of Engineers manual that

originally defined in the CWA

they contain non-jurisdictional areas, potentially verified

by the Supreme Court without

by the agency (if appropriate for the project), and

satisfying the requirements of

graded/cleared to avoid potential negative and

the Administrative Procedures

expensive changes.

Act (APA).


SURVEYING | Laser Assessment

FIRST USE OF LIDAR FOR FLOOD SURVEYS by Scott McGowan Precision Aerial Compliance Solutions, LLC (Precision Aerial) in partnership with The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency (WJPA) has provided drone LiDAR surveying for portions of The Woodlands drainage system in response to Hurricane Harvey. “The WJPA, on behalf of the Municipal Utility Districts it represents, is taking proactive steps now to help improve drainage during future rainstorms,” said James M. Stinson, PE, general manager for the WJPA. The WJPA is the central management agency for the ten Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) that serve The Woodlands in Montgomery County. To evaluate current conditions along portions of Panther Creek and Spring Creek, Precision Aerial utilized high-end, drone LiDAR to provide the laser assessment. Deploying one of the few drones in the country capable of this type of survey, this was the first look of its kind at the drainage systems to evaluate current conditions and consider improvements for future preventive measures.

“This was the first use of drone LiDAR by a city or local governmental agency for a drainage survey in Texas and possibly in the whole country,” said Scott McGowan, President, Precision Aerial.

LJA SURVEYING IS READY FOR WHAT’S NEXT! The same technology in self-driving cars is used in our drones for high-definition mapping and photogrammetry! It’s called LiDAR. Want to know more? 19


“We are uniquely qualified to provide this service not only because of our experience, but we operate one of the few drones in the country capable of performing this type of scanning. Our cutting-edge LiDAR systems are setting a new industry standard for accuracy and efficiency, and it is something very special.” Precision Aerial, a Conroe-based aerial data collection and inspection service company, is a member of the LJA Surveying family.

SURVEYING | Soaring to New Heights

GET TO KNOW OUR DRONE SERVICES From design surveys for project site data to construction and bridges, LJA Surveying has the expertise and technology to capture the quality data you need using the latest UAS technology and instrumentation.


Methane Detection

The use of aerial footage, photos, and data from UASs is

Methane leaks can be detected safely with UAS outfitted

changing the way construction companies acquire their

with specialized cameras. Our thermographers are trained

survey data. By using our proprietary ground control

and certified to perform this type of work.

points, aerial data collection methods, and Trimble’s R10 RTK GNSS system, we can produce highly accurate map data in any format requested. Other aerial data such as

Wind Turbines As the energy industry continues its commitment to

infrastructure inspections, thermal imagery of machinery

the production of renewable energy sources and the

to prevent costly break downs, and publicity photos and

increased deployment of wind turbines, there will also be

videos can all be used to a company’s advantage.

an increased need for them to be inspected regularly for

Oil and Gas Every year pipelines are subject to leaks and explosions from defects previously undetected. Companies must now allocate significant resources to address failing infrastructure. UASs provide a revolutionary method of

damage or outages. Our UAS teams can safely and quickly provide wind farm owners/operators with a cost-effective and safe method for inspecting wind turbine units.

Bridge and Infrastructure Traditionally these inspections and surveys were

capturing the necessary data required while creating

performed by individuals on scaffolding or on rope/cable

dramatic savings over traditional methods.

deployment. This process is slow, costly, and dangerous.

Thermal Imagery Our certified thermographers provide clients with both qualitative and quantitative data depending upon the desired deliverable or protocol. This capability can be rapidly deployed on-site or to a larger area utilizing rotary or fixed wing UASs.

LiDAR UASs with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provide survey-grade laser mapping and photogrammetry with accuracies down to a few centimeters. This efficiency allows the creation of 3D models to be used in planning, design, measurement, and decision making throughout a project’s life cycle, including construction and owner occupation. The demand for UASs with LiDAR is growing quickly, and their quality and usage will continue to expand as the technology develops. Using LiDAR is very cost effective compared to traditional methods.

We can provide HD video or thermal data collected by specialized UAVs.

Licensed Pilots We hire only FAA certified pilots to fly our UAS. Granted FAA Section 333 Exemption #13787 We have Section 333 Exemption from the FAA to conduct commercial UAS flights in the USA. Credentialed through NUASCP in USA and Canada One of only 8 companies to pass the rigorous testing and vetting process sponsored by Texas A&M University, TEEX, Lone Star Center for Excellence, FAA, and NASA. We were specifically recognized for “setting a new standard in safety and professionalism.” Fully Insured We are fully insured for your sake and ours. 20