What Is an Environmental Management Project?

Helen Akers

An environmental management project is designed to improve or correct existing infrastructure. The project is often an attempt to prevent further damage to environmental resources, correct previous damage, or upgrade existing facilities. These types of projects often involve a combination of construction and clean-up activity and take several months to years to complete. Government authorities may be involved with an environmental management project in terms of funding and operation.

Wetland restoration is one type of environmental management project.
Wetland restoration is one type of environmental management project.

Natural resources, such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and wetlands can become endangered due to human activity. For example, the draining of the Florida Everglades in the United States for railroad expansion, development of modern transportation infrastructure, and residential developments has resulted in a number of severe environmental impacts. In cooperation with local and national governments, a large scale environmental management project has been implemented over several years to restore the natural flow of the rivers and tributaries that are connected to the Everglades.

The mudfish is on the endangered species list in some parts of the world.
The mudfish is on the endangered species list in some parts of the world.

Nuclear power plants that must be demolished or cleaned up are another example of an environmental management project. Before a clean-up can occur, an assessment usually needs to be conducted. Project managers and surveyors determine what type of work needs to be done, the extent of work that needs to be completed, an estimated cost of the project and a rough timeline of when the necessary tasks will be completed. An environmental management project is considered to be sensitive since there could be some sort of short or long-term damage to natural resources and surrounding populations if work tasks are not carried out appropriately.

Many environmental management projects take up to five years to complete. Some may be performed as sub-projects of a larger effort that takes ten or more years. Each leg or stage of the project is defined in the initial assessment.

Cooperation from several sources is usually necessary in order to complete an environmental management project. Direct involvement typically comes from private and government construction contractors, who not only help to assess the current level of damage, but also recommend solutions to prevent further damage. Engineering firms are usually involved in these types of projects, since they might require that building facilities to be torn down or dams, pulleys and infrastructure to be rearranged.

Some national governments may have a separate department that oversees environmental management projects. They typically coordinate projects that the national government has a direct interest in. The department or government agency might have a certain amount of funding allocated towards environmental interests. Projects could be approved based on impact potential, severity, and projected costs.

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