HDR Species Monitoring App, Mekong Delta Study Earn NAEP Accolades

The National Association of Environmental Professionals has honored HDR's work with two awards. NAEP awarded HDR the Environmental Excellence Award in Best Available Technology for its work on the Seward Highway Milepost 75-90 Reconstruction Project. HDR's environmental study for the Mekong Delta earned NAEP's Environmental Excellence Award in Environmental Stewardship.

The Best Available Technology honor resulted from HDR's custom application to monitor an endangered species and marine mammals during construction of 15 miles of Alaska's scenic Seward Highway, an infrastructure project for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

HDR staff built the app, integrating GPS and Geographic Information Systems technology to track endangered beluga whales. With a few simple data inputs, the app automatically calculates whale locations in real time. Certified Protective Species Observers monitored movements and advised underwater drilling crews when a whale pod's proximity warranted temporary drilling shutdown. This allowed crews to comply with Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection acts during geotechnical sampling drilling at eight bridges.

HDR's Bonnie Easley-Appleyard, marine biologist, and Mike Davis, GIS lead, worked together to create the marine mammal monitoring app, which eliminated the need for a lengthy permitting process that could have delayed construction for a year or more.

HDR received the Environmental Stewardship award for its work on the Mekong Delta, which is home to more than 17 million people and known for its high biodiversity. HDR's team partnered with DHI of Denmark to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of 11 proposed hydropower projects along the river. Six resource areas were assessed: fisheries, biodiversity, navigation, agriculture, livelihood and economics. The study concluded that construction and operation of the hydropower facilities could cause long-lasting damage to the floodplains and aquatic life, negatively impacting millions of residents as well as the local economy.

The impact assessment approach was based on internationally recognized standards and accepted practices and principles. The study was of international significance because multiple countries share the Mekong River resources, including Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.

About HDR

For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans 10,000 employees, in more than 225 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.