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Eco-Logical Technical Assistance Workshop: MaineDOT | April 1-2, 2015

Activity Report

photograph of the MaineDOT peer exchange team

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are jointly leading an effort to develop tools and resources for state DOTs and other agencies that are interested in Implementing Eco-Logical into their programs. This activity report summarizes the discussions held at the MaineDOT Workshop, held in Augusta, Maine, on April 1 and 2, 2015 at MaineDOT.

The discussion at the MaineDOT workshop focused on Step 7 of the Eco-Logical Approach. MaineDOT is currently preparing a Programmatic Biological Assessment for Atlantic salmon and draft Mitigation Instrument. The objective of these agreements is to streamline the permitting process for the construction of culverts and bridges over waters that provide habitat for Atlantic salmon.

Peer Exchange

AASHTO and FHWA facilitated an Eco-Logical workshop with MaineDOT, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources in Augusta, Maine, on April 1st and 2nd. The workshop supports MaineDOT's SHRP2 Eco-Logical award and program, and focused on the development of the Programmatic Biological Assessment for Atlantic salmon and draft Mitigation Instrument. The workshop produced an agreed-upon action plan and schedule to complete these documents.

Eco-Logical flow chart

Workshop Agenda

  • Eco-Logical Overview: Context for approaching Section 7 and Programmatic Agreement
  • MaineDOT Implementing Eco-Logical Project Goals
  • Context for FHWA's role in the process
  • Desired State: Describing the principles of a successful Section 7 process through shared understanding of the Section 7 Process Flow
  • "What Needs Work"? Where are the gaps or challenges in having an effective process? What are the key drivers to fix now?
  • Achieving shared goals and developing an Action Plan for improving Section 7 consultations
  • Review of the Programmatic Agreement
  • Development of an Action Plan

Participants

  • Maine Department of Marine Resources
  • MaineDOT
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Helpful Reference Materials

  • Section 7 process flow chart
  • Programmatic Biological Assessment for the State of Maine Department of Transportation for the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Salmon and Designated Critical Habitat
  • IN LIEU FEE PROGRAM INSTRUMENT: Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program

Topics of Discussion

  • Review of the current state of the Programmatic Agreement
  • Discussion of the goals and principles necessary for an effective agreement, understanding the challenges to getting to success
  • Review of the Section 7 flow chart to define each step of the process and identify if all required actions are included
  • Discussion of how to plan a schedule and manage time constraints with competing priorities
  • Discussion of the activities to be conducted to circulate a Programmatic Agreement for review and approval with schedule commitments for all parties

Next Steps

The next steps for each of the attending agencies were to work on their assigned activities in the Action Plan and report the status at a conference call on June 1, 2015. The call was held and the activities were discussed. An in-person meeting is scheduled for July 29, 2015 in Maine to continue to update the team with the status of the Action Plan activities.

Need to request technical assistance for your Eco-Logical program? Please submit a request.

 

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