Introduction & Background

When a property transaction occurs involving timber forest, it’s typical that the property will have limited access and be located in rural areas. Sierra Piedmont had the opportunity to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on multiple timber tracts located in rural South Carolina. The client was operating under a very tight timeline for completion of a transaction involving these tracts. The tracts covered more than 6,900 acres, were comprised of six tracts in nine legal parcels, and were located in three different counties.



Timber Production Company



Construction Materials Manufacturing



South Carolina



Phase I ESA

Statement of Problem

A property review and ESA needed be performed rapidly over a large geographic area.

Strategy & Solution

The goal of this effort was to provide the client with an essential ESA under critical time constraints. The fastest method (aerial reconnaissance) was not practical for the actual observation of ground conditions and minimal cost for the survey. Sierra instead recommended a ground survey for both observational accuracy and cost control. This was preferable due to the large tracts involved (rather than multiple small tracts) and the proximity of the tracts to each other.

Sierra arranged to visit each of the six tracts with a timber representative via off-road vehicle. The vehicle contained an onboard notebook computer containing geographic data for each parcel.

  • The parcels were visited via accessible roads and trails using a four wheel drive truck
  • Visual observations were made and field notes recorded on a topographic map
  • Closer examination was made of potential locations for contaminant impact (i.e., hunting camps, former structures)
  • Parcel conditions were photo documented


By choosing the “ground option” for conducting this ESA, Sierra successfully identified ground features rapidly and at a lower cost than using an aerial flyover option. Most importantly, Sierra delivered the ESA report to meet the deadline required.