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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Subject: INFORMATION: Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives Criteria Date: October 6, 2003
From: James M. Shrouds
Director, Office of Natural and Human Environment
Reply to: HEPN-30
To: Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

In 2002, FHWA identified three performance objectives for the Environmental Vital Few Goal and selected strategies to attain them. One of these objectives is to increase ecosystem and habitat conservation. Specifically, the Agency is to identify and promote by September 30, 2007, a minimum of 30 exemplary ecosystem initiatives in at least 20 States or Federal Lands Highway Divisions. The FHWA selected this objective as the Agency's hallmark demonstration of environmental stewardship. To date, eight initiatives have been selected across the country. In another document, which we will issue in the near future, we will provide detail and website information on these eight existing initiatives. At least 22 more efforts are to be identified over the next 4 years. To aid in identifying and selecting the additional initiatives, my office has prepared the attached criteria that we will use to judge the merits of initiatives submitted to us for consideration and selection in the future. The criteria should also be useful to field offices in promoting stewardship initiatives with their State DOTs. We developed the criteria document with great support from a large number of FHWA offices and the Division Administrator Advisory Board. We greatly appreciate the many constructive comments and suggestions we received during the development and review phase.

During the course of criteria development, we received several suggestions that we make the submission of examples from the States and the selection of the new initiatives a scheduled process during each year. We agree. Consequently, I am asking that information on any potential ecosystem initiative the States wish to submit to my office for possible selection during 2004, be sent through and with the approval of the division office to HEPN-30 by April 1, 2004. My staff will form a review team that will review all the submissions we receive and make final selections by July 30, 2004. In each subsequent year we will follow the same general procedure and schedule. We have developed the attached information sheet that can be used to provide a basic description of each recommendation. It should be used to demonstrate how the proposed initiative meets the selection criteria in whole or in part. Email submissions are encouraged. In reviewing the submissions, the review team may gather additional information through discussions with the initiative contacts and possibly site visits.

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cc: Directors of Field Services
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