Paleontological Survey and Excavation


Any kind of ground disturbance has the potential to negatively impact paleontological resources (fossils). A number of state and federal laws relate to the protection of this natural resource, and project managers are encouraged to seek professional advice early in their projects. Some of the relevant laws include: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); Antiquities Act of 1906; the National natural Landmarks (NNL) Program; Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA); California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); and the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA). The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology also offer standards for the mitigation of adverse impacts on paleontological resources.

STC offers a full range of services related to fossils resources.

Background Investigation and Fossil Yield Potential

STC can help you determine the extent of fossil resources likely to be encountered on any project, large or small. Anytime there is disturbance of sedimentary rocks there is potential to impact fossils. All projects that include digging or trenching need to include a fossil survey and mitigation plan. We can help you create this plan early in the project.

Field Survey

The background investigation may indicate that a survey on the ground is warranted. This survey can explore the land within the entire scope of the project to clarify the fossil yield potential created in the initial research phase, and more fully evaluate the geologic units that will be disturbed during the project. The research and field survey phases help refine the mitigation plan so that resources are best utilized during actual construction. Recommendations might include avoidance, minimizing impacts, or mitigating impacts that cannot be avoided.

Monitoring and Salvage

Salvage of fossil resources prior to ground disturbance might be advised. Or monitoring by a professional paleontologist during ground disturbance in areas identified to have a high fossil potential may be necessary. If so, STC can conduct all field work professionally while being sensitive to our client’s needs for timeliness and cost effectiveness.

Environmental Impact Reports and Statements

STC can also prepare paleontology sections of EIRs and EISs. Let our expertise serve you.