|Environmental Review Toolkit|
|NEPA and Project
|Section 4(f)||Water, Wetlands,
|Accelerating Project Delivery|
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This document was funded by the FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty's Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP).
Table of Contents
In 2006, leaders from eight Federal agencies signed the interagency document EcoLogical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects. Eco-Logical is a document that outlines a shared vision of how to develop infrastructure projects in ways that are more sensitive to terrestrial and aquatic habitats, promoting advanced mitigation and early consideration of critical environmental resources.
The eight Eco-Logical signatory agencies are:
Since signing the document, the eight agencies have continued to collaborate on efforts to promote the principles embodied in the Eco-Logical document. In January 2011, FHWA published the first Eco-Logical Successes document. The document featured at least one of each signatory agency's strategic environmental programs, projects, and efforts that are either directly related to or share the vision set forth in Eco-Logical and identified potential joint projects and opportunities for collaboration among the agencies. This, the second edition of Eco-Logical Successes, focuses on two agency programs: BLM's Landscape Approach and USFWS's Strategic Habitat Conservation Framework and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and provides a more in-depth discussion of these two programs and their linkages to Eco-Logical.
Bureau of Land Management's Landscape Approach
In 2010, BLM initiated seven Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (areas in green), and has proposed five additional (areas in purple).
The Bureau of Land Management is developing a landscape approach for assessing and managing public lands and natural resources. A landscape approach to natural resource management enables BLM managers and its partners to examine the environmental conditions, trends, and challenges from a broader landscape perspective, and to use scientific research to inform, focus, and coordinate management efforts on the ground.
BLM's Landscape Approach consists of the following components:
Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs)
REAs synthesize existing information about the ecological conditions, trends, and natural and human influences within an ecoregion. An ecoregion is a large area of land and water defined by climate, geology, and species rather than by political boundaries. REAs identify and map key opportunities for resource conservation, restoration, and development and establish baseline ecological data to gauge the effect of future management actions. REAs contain valuable science-based information that can benefit all landowners and managers in an ecoregion.
Developing an REA involves a broad cross-section of Federal and State managers and technical specialists from within the ecoregion. These stakeholders collaborate on a series of tasks, which include:
Once drafted, the REA will undergo a science peer review process overseen by the U.S. Geological Survey. All of the information, data, and models developed through the REAs will be available to partner agencies.
The information contained in the REAs is used to develop Ecoregional Directions, which outline the key management priorities for public lands within an ecoregion, and identify the priority areas for conservation and development on BLM-managed lands. Ecoregional Directions will be used to help focus and coordinate priority landscape-level management activities across BLM field offices.
BLM field offices and partner organizations will be responsible for putting the management strategies identified in the Ecoregional Direction into action on the ground. Activities will be implemented through existing place-based collaborations or new, formal partnerships may be developed.
Management plans and practices identified through the REAs and Ecoregional Directions will be flexible in order to address evolving research and monitoring. In support of its goal of adaptive management, BLM is modernizing its monitoring and mapping program to manage the information required. BLM seeks to standardize its data collection and retrieval systems so that information can be easily accessed, shared, and analyzed.
Seven REAs are currently underway; several are expected to be finalized in spring 2012; several additional REAs were initiated in 2011. BLM is focusing on conducting REAs for ecoregions with a high percentage of BLM-owned land and facing significant natural resource management issues. For example, in the southwestern United States tremendous interest exists in developing renewable energy. The data and analysis included in the REAs for these ecoregions will help officials identify lands where renewable energy development and infrastructure are most appropriate.
For more information on BLM's Landscape Approach please contact:
BLM's Landscape Approach Supports Eco-Logical Concepts
The Eco-Logical framework includes three aspects: integrated planning, mitigation options, and performance measurement.
BLM's Landscape Approach embodies this recommended method.
Integrated Planning: Through its Rapid Ecoregional Assessments BLM works with partners to identify, synthesize, and analyze data to identify key opportunities for resource conservation.
Mitigation Options: Ecoregional Directions outlines key management priorities and practices within an ecoregion.
Performance Measurement: BLM will monitor the success of the management practices outlined in Ecoregional Directions. BLM will utilize the data collected to evaluate and refine implementation actions.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service