Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Eco-Logical Webinar
Step 8 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework (IEF): Implement Agreements and Deliver Projects

Thursday, March 27, 2014
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern

Presenter: Keith Greer, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
Presenter: Deborah Wambach, Montana Department of Transportation (DOT)
Presenter: Brian Hasselbach, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Montana
Panelist: Liz O'Donoghue, The Nature Conservancy

PDF Version [2.4 MB]


Table of Contents

Step 8: Implement Agreements and Deliver Projects

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) TransNet Advance Mitigation Program

Interagency Team for Ecological Enhancements for Montana


Step 8: Implement Agreements and Deliver Projects

Slide 1: Eco-Logical Webinar Series: Implement Agreements and Deliver Projects: Step 8 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework

Presenters

  • Brian Hasselbach, FHWA – Montana
  • Deborah Wambach, Montana DOT
  • Keith Greer, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Panelist

  • Elizabeth O'Donoghue, The Nature Conservancy/Regional Advance Mitigation Planning in California

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Image: Collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the report Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects

Slide 2: Integrated Eco-Logical Framework (IEF)

  • Process to guide transportation and resource specialists in the integration of transportation and ecological decisionmaking.
  • Helps identify potential impacts to environmental resources very early in the planning process.

Slide 3: Steps of the IEF (and the Eco-Logical approach)

  1. Build and strengthen collaborative partnerships
  2. Integrate natural environment plans
  3. Create a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF)
  4. Assess effects on conservation objectives
  • Partner
  • Share Data
  • Analyze Effects
  1. Establish and prioritize ecological actions
  2. Develop crediting strategy
  • Identify key sites and actions
  1. Develop programmatic consultation, biological opinion, or permit
  2. Implement agreements, adaptive management, and deliver projects
  3. Update REF
  • Document
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

Slide 4: IEF Step 8: Implementation and Project Delivery

  • Regional Ecosystem Framework
  • Identified Planning and Environmental Priorities
  • Crediting Strategy
  • Programmatic Agreements and Consultations
  • Design and Deliver Transportation Projects
  • Implement Advance Mitigation
  • Adaptive Management and Revision of Processes and Standards

Slide 5: IEF Step 8: Implementation and Project Delivery

This Webinar:

  • Examples of transportation actions that have benefitted from an Eco-Logical approach
  • Insights on implementing an Eco-Logical approach on the regional and statewide scales
  • Presentation: San Diego Association of Governments TransNet Program
  • Presentation: Interagency Team for Ecological Enhancements for Montana (ITEEM)
  • Discussion: Featuring presenters and Regional Advance Mitigation Planning in California (RAMP)

Slide 6: Eco-Logical Webinar Series: Implement Agreements and Deliver Projects: Step 8 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Image: A collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the report Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects

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San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) TransNet Advance Mitigation Program

Slide 7: Environmetal Mitigation Program – March 2014

Image: Mosaic of panels that includes photographs of a snowy owl in flight, hikers traveling up an open slope past a wild bush with small clusters of blue flowers, and a butterfly on a leaf
Images: TransNet and SANDAG logos

Slide 8: Background

  • San Diego County's endangered species “problem”
  • Perception that environmental mitigation delaying infrastructure development
  • Securing biological mitigation sites case-by-case basis – costly and ineffective.
  • San Diego long history of HCP planning

Case Study – State Route 76

Image: Photograph of a small gray bird on a tree branch

Slide 9:

State Route 76

Image: Aerial photograph of the Route 76 project area
Image: Map of the Route 76 project area
Image: Photograph of the construction of a Route 76 project overpass

Slide 10: SR 76

Image: Aerial photograph, dated August 24, 2010, of an area near a section of Route 76. Route 76 is labeled “SR 76” and a large rectangular group of fields is outlined in red. This is an area in which SANDAG worked for over two years to purchase land needed to complete a construction project only to have the landowner change his mind in the end. It represents the costs of doing business without a large scale land acquisition and management plan in place. The corner of the photograph is overlaid with a graphic of a bright red tomato.

Slide 11: (No title)

Large Scale Acquisition and Management
  • Reduced Cost
  • Accelerated Delivery
  • Implement Habitat Plans
  • ↓ Listing of spp

Image: Photograph of a large grassy slope
Image: Photograph of a construction crew working on an overpass of the Route 76 project

Slide 12: TransNet Extension EMP

“The intent is to establish a program to provide for large-scale acquisition and management of critical habitat areas and to create a reliable approach for funding required mitigation for future transportation improvements thereby reducing future costs and accelerating project delivery. This approach would be implemented by obtaining coverage for transportation projects through existing and proposed multiple species conservation plans. (Section D)”

Slide 13: Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act (1991)

Image: County map of Southern California with the area in which SANDAG operates outlined in green. Included is an inset map of the state of California, with the location of the larger map highlighted.

Slide 14: Regional Habitat Preserve Planning Area

Image: Map of SANDAG Regional Habitat Preserve Planning Area, color-coded to show the following area types: Habitat Preserve Planning Area; Natural Habitats; Developed, Disturbed, and Agricultural Land; and Military. The map shows two Military sections: a large section along the northern coast and a smaller section inland and farther south. The map shows more Developed, Disturbed, and Agricultural Land along the coast, more Habitat Preserve Planning areas farther away from the coast, and almost nothing but Natural Habitats beyond that.

Slide 15: Environmental Mitigation Program Costs

Image: Pie chart that shows the total Environmental Mitigation Program Costs ($850 Million, in 2002 $) which consists of four pie slices grouped in pairs. A lime green $50 million slice and a dark green $150 million slice are labeled “Regional Habitat Conservation Fund.” A light gray $200 million slice (“Local Transportation Project Mitigation”) and a dark gray $450 million slice (“Major Highway & Transit Project Mitigation”) are labeled “Transportation Project Mitigation Fund.”

Slide 16: Memorandum of Agreement: Land Acquisition Evaluation Process

Executed: 2008
Signatories: SANDAG, CALTRANS, USFWS, CDFW

Image: Flowchart of the Land Acquisition Evaluation Process

Slide 17: Biological Mitigation Fund

  • 25 properties
  • 3,334 acres
  • Restoration 157 acres
  • $100 million TransNet funds
  • $17.4 million matching funds

Image: Map of Southern California labeled with numbered locations of the twenty-five TransNet Environmental Mitigation Program Land Acquisitions as of August 2013. The map includes a numbered list that corresponds to the map's numbered locations and lists the location name, the number of acres acquired, and the acquisition year.

Slide 18: Habitat Conservation Fund: Regional Monitoring and Land Management

Image: Photograph, labeled “2007 Poomacha fire,” of a raging fire along a curving highway

Slide 19: Wildfire Recovery

Image: Photograph of a green field is overlaid by four photographs: a Hermes Copper butterfly on a branch, a colorful bird perched on a cactus, a gray bird on a branch, and a coiled snake on a bed of grass

Slide 20: Regional Habitat Conservation Fund

  • Endangered species recovery
  • Wildlife movement studies
  • 70 grants
  • $11.5 million
  • $7.2 million matching funds

Image: Close-up photograph of a mountain lion approaching

Slide 21: Keep San Diego Moving

www.keepsandiegomoving.com/Home.aspx

Image: Screenshot of the Keep San Diego Moving website home page

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Interagency Team for Ecological Enhancements for Montana

Slide 22: Interagency Team for Ecological Enhancements for Montana (ITEEM)

Image: Photograph of an undisturbed pond surrounded by a grassy field and pine trees
Image: Photograph of a dozen people, some with orange safety vests, standing at the end of a boat ramp at the edge of an undisturbed pond

Slide 23: Background

  • Two levels of coordination:
    • Inter-agency Review Team (IRT) – comprised of Director level representation from Corps, EPA, USFWS, Forest Service, FHWA, BLM, state Departments of Fish, Wildlife & Parks; Natural Resources & Conservation; Environmental Quality; and Transportation.
    • ITEEM – comprised of staff level representation from IRT participating agencies.
  • Developed a step-by-step approach for interagency coordination and development of regionally based conservation opportunities within a defined geographic area or corridor.

Slide 24: Pilot Study

  • Implemented and documented each step of the ITEEM application, utilizing the Highway 83 corridor as a case study.
  • Intent of application:
    • Enhance coordination among agencies.
    • Streamline project environmental reviews by including mitigation and inter-agency considerations early in the planning process.
    • Cooperatively consider and prioritize opportunities for conservation on an ecosystem scale.

Slide 25: Successes

  • Successes identified from pilot study:
    • Pooled information – collation of over 300 GIS data layers specific to the region;
    • Strengthened agency trust & relationships by promoting an improved understanding of individual agency's mission and constraints;
    • Identified regionally significant ecosystem-based conservation opportunities from a long-term, broader perspective.
    • Improved sharing of each agency's present and future opportunities for partnering and collaboration.

Slide 26: Opportunities

  • Pilot study identified a number of opportunities to enhance future applications:
    • Mitigation opportunities were conceptual in nature instead of a tangible list of prioritized projects.
    • Issues of scale and timing of process relative to programming of project/effort, funding availability, and interest.
    • Varying levels of commitment and process structure to ensure free-flowing communication within each representative's respective agency.

Slide 27: For more information

Slide 28: What does the future hold for ITEEM?

  • ITEEM is evolving in to a two tiered structure
    • The first tier is comprised of an oversight work group that is responsible for addressing program related issues and identifying & monitoring the implementation of individual applications.
    • The second tier is comprised of the appropriate representatives for the individual applications – this membership will vary and depend on the nature of the application and location of the effort.

Slide 29: We still have a lot of work ahead of us…

  • Pilot study identified a number of “programmatic” issues to address:
    • Need to establish criteria for considering the selection of future ITEEM applications.
    • Establish success criteria early in the application.
    • Establish mechanism for credit and commitment tracking.
    • Identify viable funding opportunities.
    • Maintain an oversight/working group with the opportunity of sub-groups for individual applications.

Slide 30: Next Steps…

  • Establish new structure of ITEEM working group, based on lessons learned from the pilot study.
  • Address structural changes to ITEEM working group.
  • Identify new applications and initiate efforts.
  • Maximize value of ITEEM working group – utilize for other efforts such as development of regional PBA, address new regulatory changes, planning corridor studies, etc.

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