• Would you like to restore native plants to your property?

    By:Triad Engineering

    WV Restoration Planting Tool:

    Would you like to restore native plants to your property?

    native plants, West Virginia

    The West Virginia Restoration Planting Tool matches your property with known native plant communities in West Virginia and predicts plant species that will thrive and provide great habitat for native fauna, including birds & butterflies.

    The tool can be used for wetland and upland habitats.  It requires Microsoft Office Access software and an Internet connection and is available to the public at https://dep.wv.gov/WWE/getinvolved/Pages/Restoration-Planting-Tool.aspx

    This tool is wonderful for private landowners wishing to enhance their property.

    For larger and more complex projects, Triad is able to complete a site restoration or planting plan and can incorporate a creative planting plan into your project or construction stormwater permit. Triad can create planting plans for citizens, community groups, and private industry to address issues including: slope stabilization, construction site reclamation, improving forage production on hillside pastures, address problems associated with concentrated livestock, reclamation of mined lands, streambank stabilization, agro-forestry, wildlife habitat improvement, and others.

    To contact a Triad office closest to your location, visit the contact us page.

  • What’s Your State Soil?

    By:Triad Engineering

    What’s your State Soil?

    Every state has a flag. You can probably recognize your state seal and maybe sing the state song. You may know your state’s motto, official flower, or state animal. But do you know your state soil? Yes, all states have a state soil and as of 1997, Monongahela Silt Loam is the official state soil of West Virginia.

    Monongahela soil profile
    Image Source: https://s.si.edu/3rcYKvy

    This soil type may be the state soil of WV, but Monongahela silt loam was first identified in Greene County, PA in 1921. Named after the Monongahela River, these deep, moderately well drained soils are found on alluvial stream terraces and river valleys not just in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, but throughout Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, and Alabama. This soil derives largely from sandstone and shale which were formed over a millennia ago. It is great crop and pastures soil and considered prime farmland. Monongahela soils can also be used for engineering roads, and buildings. Engineering limitations include structures with basements. These limitations are mainly due to higher clay content in the lower layers, which have the ability to shrink and swell depending on the moisture content of the soil.

    Triad’s geotechnical engineering group has a wealth of knowledge and technology to assist in identifying soils at your project site and overcoming soil limitations with engineering practices. Our in-house drilling fleet and on-site soil testing lab support our geotechnical engineers in providing economical solutions to our clients. No matter if your project includes Monongahela soils, Hazleton (the state soil of PA), Sassafras (the state soil of Maryland), or any soil in between, Triad is here to assist. Our geotechnical group is ready to help plan your project, give us a call!

    Head over to our Contact Us page to reach out to an office closest to your project location.

  • Stream and Wetland Delineation

    By:Triad Engineering

    Wetlands are areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. To be a wetland, an area only needs to be saturated for a portion of the growing season, so wetlands do not always have standing water or even saturated soil present. Wetlands are the transitional land between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water is near the surface. They are not only beautiful and provide recreation, they are important for maintaining wildlife diversity, filtering nutrients, and for flood control. Although they comprise a small percentage of the nation’s total land area, they have a disproportionately higher number of unique plants and animals.


    West Virginia isn’t wildly known for our wetlands, but the Mountain State is home to over 102,000 acres of wetlands! Canaan Valley, Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management Area, and Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area are just a few places to view wetlands in WV. Cranberry Glades Botanical area is home to a high-altitude cluster of boreal-type peat bogs found rarely outside of Canada. You can also spot two native carnivorous plants – the purple pitcher and sundew. Practice social distancing by taking a hike and seeing if you can spot a WV Wetland near you! The WVDEP has published a wonderful guide to wetland plant identification in the Mountain State that can be downloaded at:


    Triad understands that good project planning includes identifying existing resources early in project planning. Our biologists know that a good delineation report not only maps the location and extent of streams and wetlands in your project area, but also determines which features are regulated by the state and federal government. We arewetlandsexperienced in planning to avoid impacts and permitting unavoidable impacts to aquatic habitats. Our environmental team is able to complete site specific wetland restoration and mitigation plans. For questions or assistance on Stream & Wetland Delineations or Clean Water Section 404/401 permitting and mitigation, please contact our Senior Scientist Carol Phillips at cphillips@triadeng.com.

    For more information about Triad Engineering and the services we offer, visit the what we do section of our website.

  • Pennsylvania Fill Policy Change

    By:Triad Engineering

    By: Carol Phillips
    Senior Environmental Scientist, Triad Engineering, Inc.

    soil samplingThe PADEP new Management of Fill Policy took effect on January 1, 2020 and applies to fill placed outside of a project area. The policy does not apply to fill used within the same project area or right-of-way. The policy has impacts on most earth-moving projects. The new policy provides procedures for determining whether fill is “clean fill” or “regulated fill” as well as guidance on how fill can be utilized. To determine if fill is “clean fill”, environmental due diligence must be completed. The due diligence can be fulfilled by completing a Phase I ESA or testing of the fill material. If testing is completed, a Sampling Plan must be completed, and samples must be analyzed and compared to standards tied to the Act 2 criteria. Triad can complete the environmental due diligence necessary under the new Management of Fill Policy and can assist in navigating reporting and permitting with the PADEP. A link to the new policy is below.


    PADEP has proposed changes to Chapter 105 regarding permits and permit waivers. Triad can complete stream & wetland delineations for your project and navigate the Chapter 105 permitting process for your project. Links to the proposed rulemaking and the PADEP presentation below.



  • True North Survey

    By:Triad Engineering

    By: Cyndi Powell and Jon Taylor

    Triad survey was tasked with the unique challenge of establishing a True North survey control monument for a project at the Frederick Regional Airport. This was not your average survey request. The last time anyone within Triad could remember providing a True North bearing on a survey project was nearly 25 years ago.

    Triad was providing construction materials testing and inspection services and survey services in support of the contractor for Phase III Obstruction Removal at Frederick Airport. The scope of the project included relocating the glide slope antenna and automated weather observing system (AWOS). Relocating the AWOS tower required stakeout and construction of a True North monument which is used to align the wind sensor mounted to the tower. The monument was to be established relative to the center of the AWOS tower.

    To establish a True North bearing was essentially a foreign task to our survey staff. To tackle this problem, we did a fair amount of research into methodologies we could employ to  complete the task with a high level of accuracy.defining true north

    Each region of the earth has a grid system that is used to process survey data. This grid system has a “grid North” coordinate. To arrive at a True North bearing, our team had to determine the convergence angle of declination from the “grid North” so that all lines of longitude would be aligned to True North or geodetic North.

    One of the methods we first explored was based on solar observations. We enjoyed the opportunity to stay up all night turning angles to Polaris, but quickly discovered this method was going to be overly time consuming and costly.

    true north vs grid north vs magnetic north

    Our next course of action was to tap into our industry contacts and resources with the National Geodetic Survey (NGS). NGS has valuable and readily available resources to help determine the calculations for a True North survey bearing. We tested three different methodologies offered by NGS and each method yielded the same result giving us confidence in the final product.


    The first method we tested used NGS’s Coordinate Conversion and Transformation Tool (NCAT). Using NCAT, we entered positional data specific to the relocated AWOS tower and the resulting output included a convergence angle for the AWOS tower’s latitudinal and longitudinal position. Next, we struck ‘grid north’ line from the AWOS tower, turned the convergence angle provided from NCAT, and extended that line to the desired distance.

    Another NGS tool we used was a program entitled FORWARD. This program allowed us to enter the latitude and longitude of the AWOS tower and specify the geodetic azimuth and distance we needed to travel. The resulting output was the latitude and longitude of the true north monument to be set.

    Triad survey technician

    Using both methods, we obtained identical coordinates for the true north monument.

    As a final check, we verified that the tower and true north monument coordinates had the exact same longitude using NCAT and AutoCADD.

    With our field data and calculations in place and confirmed, we staked out and installed a physical concrete monument with a brass plate marking the True North bearing in relation to the newly relocated AWOS tower.

    survey monument

    This was a unique challenge for our survey team. In the end, we learned about available resources and developed a new skill set to help us solve these types of problems in the future.

    For more information on our services or questions, please visit the Contact Us page.