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Environmental Agency Seeks Help With Assessment

The 50-year-old commission is working with a major state department on improving communication across California.

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A key state environmental watchdog is seeking assistance from vendors in an area that should be a familiar one for vendors.

The state agency, established in 1972 and made permanent four years later, is charged with planning and regulating land and water use in the state’s coastal zones and is an independent, quasi-judicial state agency, according to its website. Its policies address issues including landform alteration, terrestrial and marine habitat protection, development design and water quality.

In a request for proposal (RFP) released July 28, the California Coastal Commission calls for “Environmental Services for Broadband Middle Mile Network.” Among the takeaways:

  • The commission wants to hear from “outside” vendors that can provide “environmental analysis services for the Broadband Middle-Mile Network project.” The project involves “installation of 10,000 miles of broadband infrastructure throughout the state to expand service to unserved and underserved areas ... .” The new infrastructure must be placed in State Highway System right of way owned and operated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Of that 10,000 miles of infrastructure, about 900 of it falls within the coastal zone where Caltrans must “obtain coastal development permits from the commission” and potentially also work with local jurisdictions. With certain project components exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the commission wants a qualified, experienced vendor to do a “CEQA-equivalent environmental analysis” focusing on Coastal Act-protected resources.
  • The project’s schedule is a “highly compressed timeline for permitting and construction” as a result of “state and federal funding availability.” The April 3 scope of work completion date is designed to give the commission enough time to do the coastal development permit review process and hold public hearings if needed. The contract will be aimed at helping staff analyze the “potential coastal resource impacts and Coastal Act consistency issues presented by the project,” by creating an inventory and GIS layers of existing resource information, identifying information gaps and other tasks. Project involves a “CEQA-equivalent environmental analysis of coastal resources,” including a gap analysis of unavailable environmental information; mapping of all such information in GIS format; and preparation of a final report with a “detailed summary of confirmed or potentially present coastal resources and environmental hazards” near the project.
  • Respondents must provide three references for work done in the last five years that is “similar to the scope of work to be performed in this contract.” The contractor ultimately chosen will serve as the prime contractor; and in addition to identifying all personnel who will work under this award, the contractor must also identify subs if applicable. Deliverables include conducting a kickoff meeting and regular meetings thereafter with commission and Caltrans staff; reviewing literature and conducting research as needed; doing a gap analysis of “remaining critical unavailable environmental information” and informing the commission; and conducting field studies to supplement information gaps.
  • Contract term will be about six months, approximately from Oct. 3 or on approval by the California Department of General Services to April 3, 2023. The commission will have the option to renew for another six months with the same terms and conditions. That option expires April 4, 2023. The contract’s anticipated total amount is $700,000-$900,000. Questions are due by 5 p.m. Friday; answers will come Aug. 15. Responses are due by 2 p.m. Aug. 22 and a public proposal opening is set for 10 a.m. Aug. 23. A notice of intent to award is expected Aug. 29, and an award date is expected Sept. 6.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.