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July 2016

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2017 Environmental Excellence Awards to Recognize
Outstanding Environmental Stewardship

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and streamlining transportation project delivery across the United States. As part of this commitment, FHWA’s biennial Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) program recognizes outstanding initiatives that incorporate environmental stewardship into the project planning and development processes. Specifically, the EEA program honors agencies and individuals that exceed required environmental compliance for transportation projects; facilitate partnerships to promote environmental stewardship; and develop environmentally sensitive transportation innovations. Winning projects in past years have focused on demonstrating advances in environmental justice, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preserving historic and cultural sites, considering ecological issues early in the transportation planning process, and streamlining environmental reviews.

The application period for the next round of the EEAs will open on August 1, 2016 and close on September 15, 2016. As in years past, the 2017 EEAs will promote awareness of the successes that States, agencies, and individuals can achieve by incorporating environmental excellence into their everyday work.

image of the Humpack Bridge Replacement

The Humpack Bridge Replacement and Joyce Street Improvement Projects—a 2015 EEA recipient—helped advance the state of the practice in pedestrian and bicycle accommodations along the I-395 corridor. (courtesy of Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division)

The EEA Program: A History of Excellence

Since 1995, FHWA has used the EEA program to recognize partners, projects, and processes that excel in meeting transportation needs, while protecting and enhancing the environment beyond the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and other environmental provisions.

The most recent cycle of the EEA, completed in 2015, recognized 15 exemplary transportation projects across the Nation. The winners represented some of the best achievements in enhancing and preserving the environment. Summaries of the 2015 EEA recipients are available on the FHWA EEA webpage.

Human Environment

In addition to recognizing transportation projects in Natural Environment and Organization and Process Innovation, the 2015 EEAs recognized exemplary projects in the newly expanded categories of Human Environment:

Nonmotorized and Multimodal Transportation
The Humpback Bridge Replacement and Joyce Street Improvement Projects advanced the state of the practice in pedestrian and bicycle accommodations along the I-395 corridor of Northern Virginia. The projects addressed gaps in the pedestrian and bicycle networks while improving safety for nonmotorized transportation.

Image of the city of Sarasota’s Municipal Auditorium

The project development and environmental study that evaluated the replacement of two intersections along U.S. 41—a 2015 EEA recipient—mitigated the impacts on the city of Sarasota’s cultural and historic resources, including the Municipal Auditorium. (courtesy of H. W. Lochner, Inc.)

Context Sensitive Solutions
The Klyde Warren Park project in Dallas, Texas revitalized the urban area by connecting Uptown Dallas to the Dallas Arts District and downtown while providing significant water and energy cost savings and reducing noise pollution. The project generated over $1 billion in new development and benefits for the region’s residents, business, and environment.

Cultural and Historical Resources
The city of Sarasota, the Florida Department of Transportation, and H.W. Lochner, Inc. advanced the state of the practice in the preservation of cultural and historical resources by replacing two U.S. 41 intersections with roundabouts and bicycle lanes. The design modifications respected the community’s historical landmarks, including the Municipal Auditorium and the Central-Cocoanut Historic District, while simultaneously improving connectivity in Sarasota.

EEA recipients in past years have enjoyed the opportunity to receive national recognition for their noteworthy practices and innovative programs. Recipients have found that the awards attract positive attention to their agencies from the public and from their peers. The EEA program also helps recipients establish a well-deserved degree of credibility as leaders in the field of environmental stewardship.

New in Outreach

2017 EEA Categories

Natural Environment

  • Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience
  • Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Roadside Resource Management and Maintenance
  • Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality

Human Environment

  • Community Considerations in Transportation Improvements
  • Nonmotorized and Multimodal Transportation
  • Demonstrated Advances in Nondiscrimination, Including Environmental Justice
  • Cultural and Historic Resources
  • Context Sensitive Solutions

Organization and Process Innovation

  • Accelerating Project Delivery
  • Collaboration and Partnership
  • Educational and Training Programs
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Environmental Research
  • Programmatic Agreements

For the 2017 cycle, the EEA program will expand its outreach efforts to attract and recognize exemplary applicants from new audiences and outlets:

  • The program has increased its emphasis on recognizing outstanding projects in the Human Environment categories. These categories focus on the impacts of transportation projects on cultural, historical, and community resources.
  • National Transportation Liaisons will play an important role in leveraging their expertise and reach to publicize the awards to resource agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
  • 2017 EEA program awardees will be announced on Earth Day 2017 to highlight the benefits of these projects to the environment, community, and society as a whole.

The FHWA Award and Recognition Programs website offers additional information on past and present award programs that have recognized outstanding efforts in the fields of planning, environment, and realty, including the Ecosystem Initiatives and Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives.

The 2017 EEA Program – Apply Starting August 1

Help spread the word! The nomination period for the 2017 EEA is open August 1 - September 15, 2016.

FHWA will accept nominations for any project, process, group, or individual in the public, private, or non-profit sectors that utilized FHWA funding sources to make an outstanding contribution to transportation and the environment. All award nominations must be submitted through the online submission form on the FHWA Environmental Review Toolkit website (available August 1, 2016). A panel of judges from across the public and private sectors will review the applications and select winning entries in early 2017. Winners will be recognized by FHWA at an awards ceremony in the summer of 2017. Nominations for the 2017 EEA program will be accepted through September 15, 2016, and decisions are anticipated by spring 2017.

Please contact Damaris Santiago, Brenda Kragh, or Connie Hill (information below) for any questions related to the 2017 program or application process.

Contact Information

Damaris Santiago
Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
Federal Highway Administration
Maine Division Office
(202) 366-2034

Brenda Kragh
Office of Human Environment
(202) 366-2064

Connie Hill
Office of Natural Environment
(804) 775-3378

Look What’s New!

  • The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council proposed a rule that would drive greater disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risk data among the government’s supply chain.
  • The Northeast Regional Planning Body—composed of representatives from the six New England States, six federally recognized tribes, nine Federal agencies, and the New England Fishery Management
    Council—released the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan, the Nation’s first draft regional marine plan. The plan promotes the use of integrated ocean data and best practices for more informed decisionmaking about marine resource use and management at all levels of government.
  • FHWA, the FWS, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration completed a programmatic biological opinion that streamlines the consultation process for common surface transportation projects and improves conservation for the endangered Indiana bat and threatened northern long-eared bat.

Successes in Stewardship is a Federal Highway Administration newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining and stewardship practices from around the country. Click here to subscribe, or call (617) 494-3719 for more information.