ICF Environment Water Resources Management

Water Resources Management

ICF International applies decades of environmental experience to help clients meet the challenges of water resources management—protecting, ensuring, and planning for clean, safe water into the future.



ICF integrates natural and social sciences in water resources management. Our experience crosses international borders, and our wide-ranging skills include environmental impact assessment, system operation modeling, conservation analysis, and working with diverse stakeholders.

ICF's policy experts understand the impacts of regulatory change, including the U.S. federal role in water resource management, flood control, ecosystem restoration, water supply and conservation, and water efficiency. In the field, our biologists, engineers, hydrologists, and climate change experts are supported by in-depth knowledge of regulatory developments and how these can help or hinder individual projects.

Our understanding of the larger economic, social, environmental, and political factors driving water supply initiatives allows ICF to assist clients with:

  • Environmental compliance and permitting support
  • Water resources planning and integrated ecosystem management
  • Ecosystem restoration planning and implementation
  • Decision-support tool development and implementation, such as ecosystem, economic, hydrologic, and water quality monitoring
  • Monitoring implementation and construction

Water resources planning can generate controversy, the kind that can derail a project. ICF has proven methods of engaging the public and reconciling comments, employing our proprietary CommentWorks® software.

Clients look to our technical experts for assistance in water resources managment in a changing environment—one where water shortages, rising costs of water treatment infrastructure, climate change, and flooding greatly affect the development of every dam, flood control system, reservoir, or ecosystem.


Featured Resources

  • Integrated and multipurpose water resources planning—ICF provides a full range of environmental services to deal with the complex water management and planning studies that face federal, state, and local agencies, tribes, and other stakeholders, including flood management; water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs; water supply, conservation, and efficiency; watershed management; and ecosystem restoration.
  • Flood management—ICF has experience with projects involving complex flooding conditions requiring consideration of numerous facilities and features influencing flow conditions, including bridges, levees, culverts, interior drainage roadways overtopping, overflow from perched channels, tidal influences, grade-control structures and routing of flows through overbank storage and urbanized areas.
  • Watershed management—ICF uses a focused and practical approach built on a technical understanding of current, past, and potential future conditions. ICF watershed managers understand how to aggregate or discern between the site specific considerations of ecologic restoration, habitat conservation, flood management, or residential development project, while also recognizing how such land uses affect the overall watershed system.
  • Ecosystem restoration planning and implementation—ICF’s expert restoration teams bring more than 20 years of experience in planning, designing, permitting, construction, and monitoring successful watershed management plans and habitat restoration projects. Through practical application of the science and engineering of habitat restoration, we successfully integrate natural, dynamic, physical, and ecological processes to effectively restore self-sustaining and functioning aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
  • Regulatory compliance and strategy support—ICF is expert at understanding the federal, state, and local regulatory landscape. We work with our water clients and stakeholders during planning stages of projects and apply our understanding of regulations, policies, and guidance in order to identify potential issues, anticipate the needs of agency personnel, seek integration/compatibility with other environmental compliance, and streamline the complexities of the permit process.
  • Modeling and decision support tools—ICF provides full services in the fields of hydrology, hydraulics, ecosystem, and water quality analysis, design, management, and monitoring. Working in conjunction with biologists, ecologists, geologists, and geomorphologists, our specialists provide technical capabilities and expertise to determine watershed function and characteristics and relate their importance to key elements of proposed projects. We have also developed integrated ecosystem models, such as the Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment (EDT) model, to assess in-stream habitat potential for salmonid fish species.
  • Water Resource assessment and monitoring—ICF is experienced with all steps of water resource assessments and monitoring, as well as water resources project development, modeling, reoperation, permitting, and environmental mitigation. We formulate and conduct feasibility studies leading into preliminary designs and eventually to final design.
  • Climate change and adaptation—ICF is known for integrating and managing multidisciplinary teams to address climate change issues. Since 1981 our experts have worked with both state and federal agencies and organizations and have looked at the effects of climate change on water resource issues, including water quality, drinking water, water and wastewater infrastructure, sea level rise, water conservation, water and energy efficiency, water science and engineering, water security, and water policy and economics.
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • California Department of Water Resources
  • California State Water Resources Control Board
  • Chelan County Department of Natural Resources, WA
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District, CA
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Northwest Power Planning Council
  • Puget Sound Partnership
  • San Diego County Water Authority
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Tribal Nations
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
    • Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Interior
    • Bureau of Reclamation (USBR)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Water Contractors
  • Water Districts
  • Watershed Councils and Conservancies
  • Project

    South Delta Improvements Program EIR/EIS

    ICF prepared the joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Action Specific Implementation Plan for the South Delta Improvements Program (SDIP), a preferred alternative addressing water supply issues and the first major step in implementing the CALFED Bay-Delta Program.

  • Project

    Delta Wetlands Place of Use EIR

    ICF prepared a joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and other environmental documents for the State Water Board (state lead agency) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (federal lead agency) on the Delta Wetlands Project, a proposal to store water and develop wetland wildlife habitat on four islands in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta.

  • Project

    EDT Model Support for Yakima Basin Storage Study

    As part of the ongoing studies for the Yakima Basin storage project, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation retained ICF to provide ecosystem diagnosis and treatment (EDT) model support that linked physical models developed by Reclamation and others to EDT parameters.

  • Project

    Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project

    ICF prepared all the environmental permit documents for the largest fish restoration project in North America, which includes dam and water control structure removal, installations, and habitat enhancements on the north and south forks of Battle Creek in Shasta and Tehama Counties.

  • Project

    Big Hanaford Creek Floodplain Wetland Mitigation Project

    To obtain federal and state wetland/stream permits, ICF prepared a stream and 150-acre floodplain wetland habitat mitigation plan.

  • Project

    Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Lower Colorado River Shortage Criteria

    ICF assisted Reclamation in preparing an EIS for proposed Lower Colorado River Shortage Guidelines and coordinated reservoir management strategies to address operations of Lakes Powell and Mead, particularly under low reservoir conditions.

  • Project

    Sacramento River Bank Protection Project (SRBPP)

    ICF developed and is implementing the associated public outreach activities as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for SRBPP.

  • Project

    Stillaguamish Watershed Planning and Outreach

    ICF worked with Snohomish County to support ongoing watershed planning in the Stillaguamish River (WRIA 5) watershed.

  • Project

    Guadalupe River Flood Control Projects

    ICF worked with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento and San Francisco Districts, on three flood protection projects along the Guadalupe River in Santa Clara County, California. The three projects (Upper, Downtown, and Lower Guadalupe River Projects) included flood protection components, habitat restoration components, and fish passage components.

  • Project

    Guadalupe Creek Restoration Project

    ICF was retained by the Santa Clara Valley Water District to provide restoration planning and design, environmental and regulatory compliance, construction oversight, and post-construction monitoring services for the Guadalupe Creek Restoration Project.

  • Climate Ready Estuaries Program

    Climate Ready Estuaries Program

    ICF International supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's first adaptation program, Climate Ready Estuaries. The program has worked with the National Estuary Program since 2007 to assess the vulnerability of estuaries to climate change impacts, to develop and implement adaptation programs in coastal areas, and to educate stakeholders about climate change impacts.

  • Project

    West Sacramento Levee Improvements Program

    ICF assisted with program management counsel, environmental documentation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), environmental permits, public outreach, and mitigation planning for a levee planning effort undertaken by the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency to achieve 200-year compliance for the City of West Sacramento.

  • Project

    Delta Mendota Canal and California Aqueduct Intertie Project EIS

    ICF provided Reclamation with comprehensive services to assist the agency in complying with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for the Delta Mendota Canal (DMC)/California Aqueduct (CA) Intertie project.

  • Project

    Water for Irrigation Streams

    ICF worked closely with the Water for Irrigation Streams (WISE) Project Advisory Committee—a group of 17 stakeholders representing agricultural, irrigation, municipal, environmental, watershed, local, state, and federal interests that are identifying alternative solutions for the project—to implement a comprehensive marketing and public outreach program in support of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

  • Project

    Web-Enabled Database Application and Content Management System

    ICF provided permit streamlining support using a web-enabled database application and content management system for the Dredge Material Management Office (DMMO), which is comprised of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

  • Project

    Fisheries Program Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Support

    ICF provided environmental consulting services on an as-needed basis for projects with Data Management and Analytical Support for Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) Fisheries Program Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation.

  • Project

    Cosumnes, American, Bear, and Yuba Integrated Regional Water Management Plan

    In 2007, ICF conducted analyses in support of developing the Cosumnes, American, Bear, and Yuba Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.

  • Project

    Freeport Regional Water Project EIR/EIS

    ICF prepared all the environmental permits and conducted a comprehensive public outreach program for this large water delivery project (river intake, pipelines, and water treatment plant) to take delivery of water from the American River.

  • Project

    Watershed Assessment and Restoration Action Plan

    ICF completed a watershed assessment and restoration project action plan for the Greater Oregon City Watershed Council.

  • Project

    Assessment of Climate Sensitive Water Programs

    ICF has been working with EPA Office of Research and Development Global Change Research Program since 2002 focusing on water and aquatic resources.

  • Project

    Lower Colorado River Multispecies Conservation Program

    ICF was retained by the steering committee of the Lower Colorado River Multispecies Conservation Program to assist in the preparation of a conservation plan for the Lower Colorado River, a Biological Assessment (BA) for federal activities covered under the Multispecies Conservation Program, and a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for nonfederal activities covered under the Multispecies Conservation Program.

Contact Info

info [at] icfi [dot] com

+1.703.934.3603 or +1.800.532.4783

9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-1207 USA

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