James O. Neighbors, Planning Specialist, M&E Consultants


Bachelor of Science, Agronomy, TexasTechUniversity

Master of Science, Range Management, TexasA&MUniversity

Years Experience:

M&E Consultants:Since 2004

NRCS: 36 years

Specialized Training:

NRCS watershed planning procedures and report writing, Watershed Rehab Planning, Watershed Plans and Supplements, Watershed Project Agreements, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documents, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Documents, NRCS Practice Standards and Specifications, HEL Determinations.

Experience and Qualifications:

Watershed Planning Specialist- M&E Consultants (2004-Present)

Provide planning assistance in the rehabilitation of aging dams. Assistance in preparing Final Plan Supplements and Environmental Assessments for sixFloodwater RetardingStructuresand two MultiplePurpose Structures for local Sponsors and NRCS in Arkansas. Assistance in preparing Plan Supplement and Environmental Assessment for watershed planning for local Sponsors and NRCS in Arkansas. Provide assistance in preparing Environmental Assessments for one MultiplePurpose Structure for local Sponsors in Oklahoma. Prepare FONSI and Notice of FONSI for publication in the Federal Register. Prepare information and assist in holding Public meeting to obtain public input regarding the rehabilitation of aging dams in Arkansas.

Watershed Resource Conservationist – NRCS (1992-2004)

Provided NRCS with statewide agronomic support in over 20 watershed planning, assessment and evaluations of the Texas Watershed Program. Principal writer for all watershed and rehab plans for Texas. Developed Plan of Work for watershed projects in Texas. Developed Finding of No Significant Impacts for all Environmental Assessments. Prepared Environmental Fact Sheets. Filed necessary documents to EPA to meet NEPA guidelines for project completion. Coordinated Inter Agency review for Watershed Plans and Supplements. Prepared and submitted documents to TCEQ for Notice of Intent for all watershed construction projects in Texas. Provided NEPA training to NRCS employees of Texas.

Major Water Resources Tasks performed for NRCS in Texas (1992-2004)

  • Principal writer in preparing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Attoyac Bayou Watershed, Multiple-Purpose Structure No. 23A. Construction is currently in progress.
  • Principal writer of an interdisciplinary/interagency team that prepared the Biological Evaluation of UDSA programs (NRCS, Farm Service Agency, and Rural Development) on the Edwards Aquifer endangered and threatened species. This was high profile project on a regional and national basis for UDSA.
  • Coordinated evaluation, review and approval of the Final Supplemental Watershed Plan & Environmental Assessment for rehabilitation of East Fork Above Lavon FRS No. 3C. Construction has been completed.
  • Coordinated evaluation, review and approval of the Final Supplemental Watershed Plan & Environmental Assessment for rehabilitation of East Fork Above Lavon FRS No. 3D, 3E and 5A. Construction is in progress.
  • Principal writer of Environmental Assessments for Rehabilitation of two separate Floodwater retarding structures. Process included all steps necessary for authorization from the NRCS Chief.
  • Principal writer in preparing the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Water Conservation Plan and EIS that required OMB review and concurrence.
  • Principal writer in preparing the Environmental Assessment for Elm Fork Watershed Multiple-Purpose Structure No. 19. Construction is currently in progress.
  • Principal writer in preparing the Environmental Assessment for Salado Creek Watershed Floodwater Retarding Structure No. 15R. Construction has been completed.
  • Project Management and principal writer in preparing the Natural Resource Plan for Gonsolus Creek Watershed.
  • Principal writer for 12 watershed plan supplements, assessments, and evaluations.
  • Prepared documents necessary for closeout of six completed authorized watersheds.
  • Prepared review documents for inter-agency review of eight existing floodwater retarding structures for the Rehabilitation program.
  • Prepared documents for obtaining individual 404 permits and Nation wide permits obtained from the Ft. Worth, Galveston and Tulsa Districts of the US Corp of Engineers.
  • Prepared new and revised Operation and Maintenance Agreements for authorized watersheds.
  • Prepared Project Agreements for 5 watersheds that obligated over six million dollars.
  • Coordinated Watershed budgets for FY 2003-2004 Watershed program in Texas.
  • Responsible for Filing NOIs with EPA and TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) for all water resource projects in Texas.

Area Agronomist/Area Resource Conservationist (1979-1992)

Provided agronomic leadership to three NRCS Areas (54 counties) of West Texas. Area Agronomist for NRCS in Central Texas (8 counties). Responsible for vegetation establishment and maintenance for newly constructed floodwater retarding structures in central Texas Area. Developed conservation plan practices used in the implementation of the 1985 Farm Bill. Provided training for Highly Erodible Land determinations made in conjunction with 1985 Farm Bill implementation. Developed and revised standards and specifications used in implementation of the conservation program in central and west Texas. Provided leadership in the data collection for the National Resource Inventory in both Central and West Texas. Provided training in conservation planning and application to NRCS new employees.

Soil Conservationist – NRCS Environmental Assessment Team (1975-1979)

Provided agronomic support for developing and submitting documents for Environmental Assessments for Watersheds developed prepared prior to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

Soil Conservationist/Range Conservationist (1968-1975)

Provided conservation planning assistance and conservation practice application to local farmers and ranchers in West and South Texas. Provided Range Management assistance to local ranchers in two counties of South Texas.