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Environmental Planning

Ricondo has provided airport and aviation environmental planning services since its inception in 1989, including documentation preparation and processing to obtain federal environmental approvals of projects in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including state and local environmental analyses and documentation, noise compatibility planning, air quality assessments, and conformity demonstrations. Ricondo has completed environmental planning projects for numerous airports, including those serving Boston, Chicago, Denver, El Paso, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. Ricondo was also selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Organization to provide as-needed environmental assessment services related to the implementation of improvements to the National Airspace System.

In addition to our core group of environmental planning professionals, additional staff members contribute to environmental planning projects and support other Ricondo technical projects. The types of services offered by the environmental planning staff include the following.

  • NEPA Processing and State and Local Environmental Processing – Ricondo successfully and expeditiously completes environmental impact statements and reports (EISs/EIRs), environmental assessments (EAs), and documented categorical exclusions in accordance with NEPA for projects at airports of all sizes throughout the United States, and in support of FAA actions, including airspace route and procedural changes. NEPA processing is conducted as prescribed in FAA Order 1050.1E, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, and FAA Order 5050.4B, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Instructions for Airport Actions. Ricondo prepares a wide range of environmental documents for state and local approval, particularly those in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), such as Initial Studies, Negative Declarations, and EIRs. Every EIS and EA or state environmental document prepared by Ricondo has received a favorable federal finding and has withstood any and all challenges, thereby allowing airport development to proceed as planned.
  • EIS Coordination for Airport Sponsors – The FAA is responsible for preparing EISs for airport projects and managing the EIS consultant. Ricondo assists airport operators throughout the EIS process by providing strategic guidance, preparing planning and other project-related documentation requested by the FAA, and reviewing and providing comments on draft EIS documentation. Our knowledge of the EIS process, our relationships with FAA staff, and our capabilities in airport planning have proven invaluable to our clients.
  • Noise Analyses – Ricondo staff has significant experience applying the FAA's Integrated Noise Model (INM) and the Noise Integrated Routing System (NIRS) in preparing single airport and regional aircraft noise analyses in support of federal and state environmental processing, noise compatibility planning, and other specialized noise studies. Our analyses include cumulative noise exposure metrics (e.g., day-night average sound level [DNL] and Community Noise Equivalent Level [CNEL]), as well as supplemental noise metrics (e.g., time-above, number of events above a threshold noise level, and single event noise levels). As needed, analyses also include comparisons with measured noise levels to calibrate the model and validate the modeled results. Ricondo has historically assisted in the evolution of the INM through participation in the FAA's Design Review Group. Ricondo currently participates in the Design Review Group for development of the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT).
  • Noise Compatibility Planning – Ricondo has successfully conducted comprehensive airport noise and land use compatibility studies under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 150, Airport Noise Compatibility Planning, to evaluate aircraft noise exposure, identify incompatible land uses that may be exposed to significant levels of aircraft noise, and identify appropriate noise abatement and mitigation measures. Noise abatement and mitigation measures approved by the FAA under the Part 150 Program are eligible for federal funding and for the use of passenger facility charge revenue for implementation. In addition to the INM, Ricondo uses geographic information system applications to identify the areas and land uses in the nearby communities that would be most affected by aircraft noise, assess the benefits of potential noise abatement measures, and identify noise mitigation boundaries.
  • Air Quality Analyses/Conformity Analyses/Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program Applications – Ricondo prepares air quality analyses related to airport projects and FAA actions, many of which are in nonattainment areas for certain air pollutants, such as ozone and carbon monoxide. Ricondo analyzes air quality consistent with the requirements of NEPA, CEQA, and other state and local environmental regulations and guidance; assesses operational emissions and dispersion from aircraft operations, ground service equipment, and airport service and access vehicles; assesses emission reductions as required for VALE Program applications; and assesses construction emissions associated with development projects. Ricondo has historically assisted in the evolution of the Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System (EDMS) through participation in the FAA's Design Review Group. Ricondo currently participates in the Design Review Group for development of the AEDT, which combines emissions, fuel burn, and noise analysis capabilities into one system.
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