News & Insights

From Start to Finish, Projects Need The Ecological Analysis Advantage

James Bates has been in the economic development field for more than 20 years.

And when he says ‘in the field’ it is almost a literal term. Jim shows up before the project starts and, in most instances, is staring at a vacant piece of property.

“When I first meet with developers I learn about their vision,” Jim said. “They say, ‘can I put this project on this piece of property?’

“I’m there to give them good guidance,” he said. “Is the parcel zoned properly? Is it too steep? Are there slopes? Are there any other issues?’”

By looking at these issues before a developer purchases property, or goes before a planning board, Jim is able to make sure things run a little more smoothly and cost efficiently.

“It’s always good to show up [before the planning board] with a verified review,” he said. “And to know that the project fits in with what the town [has in their planning code].”

Ecological Analysis is based in Middletown, but it covers the entire Hudson Valley, and will go as far as Binghamton and the Canadian border to help projects through the permitting and building process.

The company specializes in wetlands, ecology, planning, stormwater project management, permitting, and aquaculture consulting.

“We do everything the engineers don’t do,” he said. “Wetlands, visual review – we end up doing all those studies.

“I’ve worked for a lot of different companies, both big and small,” Jim said. “From a half-acre project to 2,000 acres.”

That includes backyard pool projects to helping with a 2,500-unit subdivision in the Town of Forestburgh named Lost Lake.

“We are constantly doing projects,” he said.

And Ecological Analysis follows through on its promises, often staying on-site until the project is complete.

“The state [Dept. of Environmental Conservation] always requires someone to monitor a work site,” he said. “From before, during and, for a limited time, after the project is complete.

“We monitor runoff and other issues,” he said.

And when Jim is not in the field or his office, he can sometimes be found at a Planning Board meeting, representing a client.

“We explain the benefits of projects to the planning board,” he said. “It gives credence to the project.”

With both a wetlands and erosion control certification, Jim is well qualified to speak on the environmental impacts of projects.

His company can also author the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) study, which is a standard requirement for most economic development projects.

Sullivan is moving ahead Jim is very optimistic about economic development in Sullivan County and feels many of the pieces are in place to facilitate growth.

Currently the Vice Chairman of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, Jim said, “The Partnership is vital”.

“The Partnership is molding everything together, especially with the corridor study and the work they are doing with many other projects.

“The networking is also getting better, but these things take time,” he said.

“I’ve taught two SEQRA workshops for the Partnership,” he said. “We had over 200 people attend each one from as far away as Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.

“This is an important piece of helping to educate government officials,” he said.