Session 12: California Perspectives

c) California High Speed Rail Mitigation

Friday, May 12
9:20 AM - 10:50 AM
Location: Room 311/312

The following is a submittal by the California HighSpeed Rail Authority (Authority) to present at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference in Sacramento, CA, May 9-12, 2017. The Authority, based in Sacramento, seeks to convey to interested conference attendees, supporters, and sponsors its work to mitigate for impacts to species, habitats, and resources across California’s planned high speed rail (HSR) 520-mile phase 1 system.

Drawing from new federal policy directives and California’s own longstanding commitment to merging conservation and development planning at relevant scales, the Authority is seeking to identify impacts from high-speed rail development, and to mitigate for those effects from a regional perspective. The Authority seeks to convey how we mitigate the impacts of large and linear infrastructure that goes through a diverse landscape, with dramatic changes in sensitive ecotypes, the presence and use of ecosystem services, elevation gradients, land use and ownership, population density, cultural history, and political and social identity.

To manage such an investment, the Authority has developed new ways of doing business likely of interest to conference attendees, including programs to analyze and respond to impacts at relevant scales (multiple regional mitigation efforts across the state); new techniques to understand and convey impacts (effects to wildlife connectivity from a large linear project); and efforts to break traditional molds for mitigating and permitting (work to achieve advanced mitigation); all while navigating new policy and regulatory frameworks (California’s AB 2087; Presidential Memorandum; new federal policies and rules).

To facilitate Records of Decisions for eight project sections within Phase 1 System (end of 2017) and corresponding permits (early 2018), the Authority has been working and coordinating with a multitude of state and federal resource agencies, and, at the time of the conference, the Authority plans to be making early decisions on mitigation investments and determining future mitigation needs.

As such, the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference allows the Authority an opportunity to convey to mitigation providers the needs and expectations in fulfilling high-speed rail’s mitigation obligations, and contribute to a larger mitigation community conversation about alternative ways of doing business and new opportunities. The Authority sees the event as a great opportunity to convey project information to interested parties, and have a discussion of new mitigation methods and techniques to support the building of the Nation’s first high speed rail.

Mark McLoughlin

Director of Environmental Services
California High Speed Rail Authority

Mark McLoughlin is the Director of Environmental Services for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) and has 25 years of experience and expertise in construction operations, development, project management and environmental regulatory compliance. As a former Senior Technical Specialist for ICF International, McLoughlin provided leadership and oversight of regional consultants handling permitting and mitigation planning for the high-speed rail project.
McLoughlin worked for Teichert, Inc. where he coordinated and obtained land use entitlements and permits for several projects including a 4,000 acre project known as New Brighton, and a 45,000 square-foot office building in Sacramento. He was also a program manager and environmental scientist for ICF International (Jones & Stokes). There, he oversaw a team of approximately 100 employees, who handled construction, demolition and restoration operations for several large projects, including the Irvine Company, the 1900-acre Bickford Ranch Community and Golf Course in Placer County, the San Francisco International Airport and Beale Air Force Base.

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