skip to main content
Environmental Review Toolkit

Eco-Logical Webinar
The Eco-Logical Approach in Action: Implementation Updates from Eco-Logical Grant Recipients

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern


  • Michael Lamprecht, FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
  • Steve Williams, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Council
  • David Leopold, Chicago Department of Transportation

PDF Version [2.42 MB]

Table of Contents

Introduction and Overview of Findings in Eco-Logical Implementation

Integrating Green Infrastructure and Regional Transportation Planning

The Cermak/Blue Island Sustainable Streetscape


Upcoming Webinar Topics

Introduction and Overview of Findings in Eco-Logical Implementation

Slide 1: The Eco-Logical Approach in Action: Implementation Updates from Eco-Logical Grant Recipients

April 18, 2012
2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern


  • Michael Lamprecht, Federal Highway Administration
  • Steve Williams, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Council
  • David Leopold, Chicago Department of Transportation
Image: Photograph of a two-lane road carved into the side of a steep mountain within a forested, snow-capped mountain range
Image: Volpe National Transportation Systems Center logo with its tag line: Advancing transportation innovation for the public good
Image: U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) FHWA logo
Image: USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center logo

Slide 2: Eco-Logical Grant Program Overview

Purpose: To apply the goals and principles outlined in the 2006 multi-agency publication Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects

  • A national solicitation for grant application occurred in 2007.
  • Eligible applicants included:
    • Non-profits
    • All levels of government
    • Tribes
    • Colleges/universities
    • Private Entities
  • 15 pilot projects received a total of $1.4 million in grant funding.
  • The projects were required to identify local matching funds.

Slide 3: Range of Eco-Logical Grant Projects

Image: Map of the United States with colored stars to show the locations of Grant Projects: green stars for projects completed in 2011 (Virginia, Texas (2), and Colorado); yellow stars for projects completed prior to 2011 (New Hampshire, North Carolina (2), Illinois, Missouri, Texas (2), Utah, and Oregon); and blue stars for projects still open (New York and Illinois)

Slide 4: Objectives of Eco-Logical Grant Projects

Projects test one or more aspects of the Eco-Logical approach:

  • Build and Strengthen Collaborative Partnerships
  • Identify Management Plans
  • Integrate Plans
  • Assess Effects
  • Establish and Prioritize Opportunities
  • Document Agreements
  • Design Projects Consistent with Regional Ecosystems
  • Balance Predictability and Adaptive Management
Image: Satellite image of the area around a road in Illinois with the immediate road area circled in red. The image has this caption: “Eco-Logical analysis of a road in Illinois; part of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission's Regional Transportation, Ecosystem, and Land-Use Integration Plan.”

Slide 5: Reporting Project Findings and Success

FHWA regularly gathers information from grant recipients to document important lessons about the state of the practice for the Eco-Logical approach via:

  • Interviews
  • Progress reports
  • Questionnaire responses
  • Grant products

The 2010 Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report:

Image: Cover of the 2011 Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report

Slide 6: Eco-Logical Grant Project Findings

Findings from the grant recipients fall under four categories:

  • Implementing Eco-Logical regionally and nationally
  • Integrating Eco-Logical into organizational activities
  • Partnering for interagency collaborations
  • Using data and tools for Eco-Logical projects
Image: Artist rendering of a nature preserve and public trail with this caption: “Vision of a nature preserve and public trail from grant-recipient Envision Utah's Blueprint Jordan River plan.”

Slide 7: Regional and National Implementation

  • Most grant recipients have adopted a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF) and are integrating products into long-range transportation planning and project selection.
  • Approximately half of the recipients have begun or plan to replicate components of their project regionally or nationally.
  • Recipients find that documentation of data analysis processes allows other organizations to replicate at a national scale.
Image: Map with this caption: “Screenshot of the online decisionmaking mapping tool from the Houston-Galveston Area Council's grant project.”

Slide 8: Integrating into Organizational Activities

Key organizational factors that promote implementation include:

  • Understanding and buy-in from senior-level management
  • Effective demonstration of the quantifiable benefits of the Eco-Logical approach

Grant recipients that have integrated the Eco-Logical approach into the day-to-day operations of their organizations have been the most successful.

Image: Satellite image with this caption: “Screenshot from a CDOT website CDOT's that allows the public to report wildlife sightings on I-70”

Slide 9: Interagency Collaborations

  • Partnerships strengthen and promote implementation of Eco-Logical grant products.
  • Partner adoption helps institutionalize the products and related Eco-Logical principles in the region.
  • Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) are valuable. The process has allowed grant recipients to to communicate priorities, strengthen relationships, and refine methodologies.
Image: Project site map with numerous colored lines and this caption: “North Central Texas Council of Governments' recommended roadway projects for a Metropolitan Transit Plan.”

Slide 10: Using Data and Tools

  • Web-based data tools and maps reach a wider audience and help grant recipients connect with implementing agencies.
  • Innovative and flexible methodologies can compensate for a lack of available data.
  • National datasets, supplemented with local or regional data, integrated at a regional level help prioritize mitigation sites.
Image: Project site map with colored areas and this caption: “GIS-based wildlife-connectivity model with conservation lands and connectivity zones from New Hampshire Audubon's grant project.”

Slide 11: Improving Implementation

Resources that promote further implementation:

  • Additional funding
  • Greater staff capacity/resources to work on Eco-Logical
  • Incentives for partner organizations to implement Eco-Logical
  • Improved understanding among partner organizations about Eco-Logical
Image: Aerial photograph of a suburban neighborhood on a lush green peninsula at a riverbend

Slide 12: Signs of Success

Examples of implementation measures include:

  • Formal adoption of approach into transportation planning process
  • Use of plan/products by partners
  • Signed MOU or agreement/interagency working group
  • Publication/dissemination of:
    • Analytical tool
    • Data
    • Priority maps
    • Report or publication
  • Use of project products or tool in project selection
  • Receipt of additional grants

Slide 13: Resources

Eco-Logical Grant Program:

The 2010 Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report:

Image: Photograph of a country dirt road lined on both sides with calf-length green grass and tall trees

Integrating Green Infrastructure and Regional Transportation Planning

Slide 14: Eco-logical: Integrating Green Infrastructure & Regional Transportation Planning

Stephen Williams, Executive Director
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Charlottesville, Virginia

Images: A series of maps of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District overlaid on top of each other and labeled “VANLA Cores Classes 1 and 2,” VCLNA Watershed Integrity,” “Essential Habitat of Tier 1 and 2 Species,” “NWI Wetlands 200 ft Buffer,” “Cold Water Streams (Trout Streams) and NHD Streams and Rivers,” and “Important Bird Areas.”

Slide 15: Thomas Jefferson Region

  • Central Virginia
  • 50% Urban — 50% Rural
  • Blue Ridge Mtns & Piedmont
Image: Map of the State of Virginia with the Thomas Jefferson Region colored gold. The region is also blown up as a topographical map with major cities and roadways labeled.

Slide 16: Project Purposes

Use FHWA Eco-Logical Model to develop reproducible model for small MPOs/regional governments to:

  • Develop simple, transparent, collaborative approach to analyzing ecosystem value
  • Integrate ecosystem value into transportation project prioritization
  • Use ecosystem value to identify lowest ecosystem impact road alignment
  • Integrate ecosystem value into other planning activities

Slide 17: Project Deliverables

  1. Regional Ecological Framework — combines diverse ecosystem data
  2. Integrated Regional Map — integrates ecosystem data with transportation projects
  3. Prioritized Transportation Projects — based on Integrated Regional Map
  4. Least Environmental Impact Road Alignment
Image: Flow diagram that shows two rectangular boxes (“Regional Ecological Framework” and “Transportation Plans (State, MPO, local)”) with a plus sign between them and within a dotted red line box. The dotted red line box has three orange arrows that point to three other boxes (“Integrated Regional Map,” Prioritized Transportation Projects,” and “Least Environmental Impact Road Alignment”).

Slide 18: Regional Ecological Framework

Integrate Ecosystem Data:

  1. Convert Ecosystem Data to Raster Format (Spatial Analyst)
  2. Steering Committee Established Ranking System
  3. “Score” Rasters Using Ranks Established in Previous Step
  4. Aggregate All Datasets to Create a Weighted Raster of Ecosystem Value
Image: A smaller version of the six overlaid Thomas Jefferson Planning District maps from Slide 14
Image: A drawing of four rectangular grids. The bottom grid is colored green and sits atop a solid black base. The three other (white) grids float above the green grid, each above the previous one with equal distances between them. There is a red arrow that starts at the green grid and points straight up. The arrow pierces the same corresponding grid cell in each of the three white grids. These pierced cells are colored pink.

Slide 19: Regional Ecological Framework

Shows Relative Ecosystem Value

Image: Map of the Charlottesville area, color-coded by concentration of resources, from a low of 2 to a high of 52.

Slide 20: Overlay Transportation Plans with Regional Ecosystem Framework

Image: Map of the Charlottesville area with some roads colored purple, some roads colored orange, and with this title: “A. All Recommended Projects for TJPD (400+)”
Image: Map of the Charlottesville area with many roads colored turquoise, some roads colored orange, and with this title: “B. Projects with Potential to Cause Environmental Impacts (60)”

Slide 21: Prioritize Transportation Project with Least Ecosystem Impacts

  1. Buffer projects to create impact zone
  2. Aggregate values within impact zone to identify ecosystem impact
  3. Normalize values to allow comparison of transportation projects
  4. Prioritize projects based on lowest ecosystem impact
Image: Map of the Charlottesville area with some roads colored by Regional Ecological Framework Conflict Score range: blue (2.9 - 3.7), dark green (3.7 - 5), light green (5 - 6.4), gold (6.4 - 8.1), and red (8.1 - 44.8). The majority of road segments are light green, one large segment is gold, two small segements are red, and two small segments are blue.

Slide 22: Lowest Ecosystem Impact Road Alignment

Use “Least Cost” Tool in ESRI Spatial Analyst

Image: Map of a section of Route 29 in Charlottesville with areas colored in various shades of green
Image: Map of the same section of Route 29 in Charlottesville with a black line that traces the Least Environmental Cost Alignment Path

Slide 23: Other Opportunities for Integrated Planning

  • Identifying Mitigation Priorities
  • Comprehensive Plans
    • Let REF inform land use decisions, conservation planning
  • Meeting Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load requirements
    • Restoration focuses on impaired streams
    • Take credit for transportation mitigation projects at no cost to the locality
  • Nutrient Trading — identify potential stormwater impact mitigation sites

Slide 24: Contact Information:

Stephen Williams, Executive Director
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Phone: 434.979-7310 x110

The Cermak/Blue Island Sustainable Streetscape

Slide 25: The Cermak/Blue Island Sustainable Streetscape

FHWA Ecological Webinar
David Leopold, Program Manager
CDOT Streetscape and Sustainable Design Program

Image: CDOT logo

Slide 26: The Cermak/Blue Island Streetscape

Ecological Approach: A project-specific mitigation effort to demonstrate how sustainable infrastructure can support the urban ecosystem

Image: Closeup satellite map of Chicago's S. Blue Island Avenue/W. Cermak Road area with streets labeled and the mitigation area outlined in red

Slide 27: Old Fashioned and New Fashioned Sustainability

Image: This slide has a background image of the street in the mitigation area
Image: Line graphic of a scale balancing two large rectangles, which are labeled “Accommodate the needs of ALL users in a limited amount of space” and “Minimize impact on land, air and water resources”

Slide 28: Project Sustainable Goals

Stormwater Management Divert 80% of the typical average annual rainfall and at least 2/3 of rainwater falling within catchment area into stormwater best management practices.
Water Efficiency Eliminate use of potable water for irrigation, specify native or climate adapted, drought tolerant plants for all landscape material.
Transportation Improve bus stops with signage, shelters and lighting where possible, promote cycling with new bike lanes, improve pedestrian mobility with accessible sidewalks.
Energy Efficiency Reduce energy use by min. 40% below a typical streetscape baseline, use reflective surfaces on roads/sidewalks, use dark sky-friendly fixtures. Min. 40% of total materials will be extracted, harvested, recovered, and/or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
Recycling Recycle at least 90% of construction waste based on LEED NC criteria, Post/Pre-Consumer recycled content must be min. 10% of total materials value.
Urban Heat Island, Air Quality Reduce ambient summer temperatures on streets and sidewalks through use of high albedo pavements, roadway coatings, landscaping, and permeable pavements. Require ultra low sulfur diesel and anti-idling.
Education, Beauty & Community Provide public outreach materials/self-guided tour brochure to highlight innovative, sustainable design features of streetscape. Create places that celebrate community, provide gathering space, allow for interaction and observation of people and the natural world.
Commissioning Model Stormwater BMP's in Infoworks to analyze and refine design. Monitor stormwater BMP's to ensure predicted performance and determine maintenance practices.

Slide 29: Integrated Design: Blue Island Cross Section

Image: Drawing of a cross section showing the mitigation proposal for S. Blue Island Avenue. Arrows point to the roadway and are labeled “Permeable Pavement for Stormwater Management,” “Photocatalytic for Air Quality,” and “Bike/Parking Lane.” A fourth arrow points to the streetlight that is overhanging the roadway and is labeled “High SRI for Lighting and UHI.”

Slide 30: No Title

Image: Photograph of the street during construction

Slide 31: Integrated Design: Cermak Road

Image: Photograph of the street during construction, labeled “Infiltration Planters,” showing a new sidewalk and curbing with large rectangular sections filled with small stones
Image: Photograph of the street during construction, labeled “Bioswale,” showing a wide shallow trench covered in dark plastic and filled in with white rocks

Slide 32: Ecological Process and Grant Scope

Image: Graphic of the cover of the Eco-Logical document, with two arrows pointing to rectangles labeled “Sustainable Streetscape Education Materials” and “Sustainable Streetscape Design Manual”
Image: CDOT logo

Slide 33: Education: Informational Kiosks with Interpretive Graphics, Lightpole Identifiers, and Walking Tour

Image: Photograph of the street, post-construction, with a dotted line pointing from an information pole to two enlarged informational graphics

Slide 34: Commissioning-Sustainable Design Manual

  • Design, Construction, and Commissioning Performance Report
  • Details the Implementation of Sustainable Goals, Including Ideas Not Selected.
  • Living Document to Include Construction and Commissioning Reports
Image: Copies of two pages from the Commissioning-Sustainable Design Manual showing text, pie charts, and a horizontal bar graph

Slide 35: Stay In Touch




Image: Twitter and FaceBook logos
Image: CDOT logo


Slide 36: Questions?

Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission:

Chicago Department of Transportation:

Eco-Logical Grant Program:

The 2010 Eco-Logical Grant Program Annual Report:

Upcoming Webinar Topics

Slide 37: Upcoming Eco-Logical Webinar Topics

May 2012: The Use of Regional Ecosystem Frameworks (REFs) for Transportation Planning at Regional, State, and National Scales

  • Wetland Planning and Assessments: Applications for Transportation Siting and Mitigation
  • Linking Transportation and Ecosystems in an Urban Environment: Stormwater Developments and Case Studies
  • Green Infrastructure: Eco-Logical Concepts in Infrastructure Planning
  • Technical Assistance to Connect Eco-Logical Knowledge with Transportation Plans and Projects
  • Land Trusts as Mitigation Partnership Opportunities

Eco-Logical Webinar Series:

Back to Top

For questions or feedback on this subject, please contact Mike Ruth at 202-366-9509.