Maine Programmatic Consultation on Atlantic Salmon -
Expediting Project Delivery and Improving Partnerships
May 9, 2017
Table of Contents
Maine Atlantic Salmon Programmatic Consultation
Slide 1: Maine Programmatic Consultation on Atlantic Salmon - Expediting Project Delivery and Improving Partnerships
Eco-Logical Webinar Series
- Cassandra Chase, Federal Highway Administration - Maine Division
- Patrick Dockens, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Eric Ham, Maine Department of Transportation
- Glenn Smith, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- David Williams, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
Learn more about Eco-Logical at the FHWA website.
Image: Collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects report
Slide 2: What is Eco-Logical?
- An ecosystem methodology for planning and developing infrastructure projects
- Developed by eight Federal agency partners and four State DOTs
- Collaboration between transportation, resource, and regulatory agencies to integrate their plans and identify environmental priorities across an ecosystem
Images: Logos of the following U.S. agencies: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service (NPS), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
Slide 3: The Integrated Eco-Logical Framework
- Build and strengthen collaborative partnerships
- Integrate natural environment plans
- Create a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF)
- Assess effects on conservation objectives
- Establish and prioritize ecological actions
- Develop crediting strategy
Identify key sites and actions
- Develop programmatic consultation, biological opinion, or permit
- Implement agreements, adaptive management, and deliver projects
- Update REF
Slide 4: Maine’s Work
- Prioritized Atlantic salmon habitat recovery watersheds throughout the State
- Completed the Atlantic Salmon Programmatic Consultation
- Is creating the Atlantic salmon-specific ILF program
- Developed and implemented monitoring protocols
Image: Photo of a person’s hand touching the head of an adult Atlantic salmon underwater
Maine Atlantic Salmon Programmatic Consultation
Slide 5: Maine Atlantic Salmon Programmatic Consultation
Image: Photo of an Atlantic salmon underwater
Slide 6: Maine Atlantic Salmon Programmatic Consultation
- Endangered Species Act Interagency Consultation
- Atlantic Salmon in Maine
- What is a Programmatic Consultation?
- Why a Programmatic Consultation?
- Who was involved?
- BA Development
- Consultation Period
- BO Development
- Lessons Learned
Slide 7: Endangered Species Act Interagency Consultation
- The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) requires all federal agencies to aid in the recovery of listed species.
- Interagency consultation is completed under Section 7 of the ESA
50 CFR 402
Image: Reproduction of the cover of the March 1998 Endangered Species Consultation Handbook
Slide 8: Endangered Species Act Interagency Consultation
- Informal consultation = NLAA species or CH
- USFWS has a processing goal of 30 days
- Formal consultation = LAA species or CH
- USFWS has a statutory deadline of 135 days
Image: Artist’s rendition of three Atlantic salmon underwater
Slide 9: Terms and Acronyms
- BA = Biological Assessment
- BO = Biological Opinion
- CH = Critical Habitat
- GOM DPS = Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment
- ATS = Atlantic salmon
- LAA = Likely to Adversely Affect
- NLAA = Not Likely to Adversely Affect
Slide 10: Atlantic Salmon in Maine
- 2000 - GOM DPS of ATS listed under the ESA
- 2009 - GOM DPS of ATS was expanded and ATS CH was designated
- Population continues to decline.
Image: Reproduction of an Atlantic Salmon Life Cycle Monthly Gantt Chart
Slide 11: Atlantic Salmon in Maine
Image: Line graph titled “Adult Atlantic Salmon Returning to GOM DPS Spawning Rivers 2001-2015” shows that the majority of salmon spawn in the Penobscot River
Slide 12: Atlantic Salmon in Maine
- ATS and its CH range covers approx. 2/3 of the state of Maine.
- From 2009-2016, MaineDOT had 30-40 projects per year that required ESA consultation (approx. 90% were federally-funded)
Image: Color-coded map of Maine showing the Atlantic Salmon Critical Habitat and the Atlantic Salmon DPS
Slide 13: What is a Programmatic Consultation?
- Addresses repetitive and predictable project activities and effects
- Can cover informal and formal consultation
- Issues incidental take for a defined program of actions annually, instead of on an individual, project-level basis.
Slide 14: Why a Programmatic Consultation?
- Streamlining and predictability
- 92% of projects had missed consultation approval timeline targets
- Formal consultations averaged 220 days
- Supports delivery of a large volume of critical MaineDOT projects (particularly, bridge and culvert)
- Incorporates conservation benefit at a program scale
Slide 15: Who was involved?
- Maine Department of Transportation
- Federal Highway Administration
- Maine Division Office
- Resource Center
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Maine Field Office
- Regional Office (Region 5)
- Maine Turnpike Authority
Images: Logos of the following agencies: Federal Highway DOT, USACE, U.S. FWS, MaineDOT, the Maine Turnpike, and the Maine Turnpike Authority
Slide 16: BA Development
- 2012 - Education and outreach
- 2013 - FHWA SHRP2 Eco-Logical Implementation Grant & workshop
- 2013 - MaineDOT internal Section 7 process review
- 2013-2016 - Interagency meetings, schedule development, multiple BA drafts, USFWS turnover
- Meanwhile, the backlog of transportation projects GREW
Image: Photo of an interagency meeting in a conference room
Slide 17: BA Development
- In June 2016, the programmatic BA was submitted and consultation was initiated with USFWS.
Image: Photo of a tall stack of paper-stuffed files
Slide 18: This is when we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Image: Photo of the interior of a dark train tunnel with bright light at the far end of the tunnel
Slide 19: BA Development
- The programmatic BA proposed a range of transportation activities required for the construction, preservation and maintenance of the State transportation system in Maine.
- The proposal of AMMs avoided adverse effects on a large portion of those actions but others resulted in unavoidable adverse effects to ATS and/or its designated CH.
Slide 20: Consultation Period
- Issues to work out during consultation
- Stream crossing design for fish passage was still undecided
- Monitoring protocols for multiple aspects of the programmatic had to be jointly developed
- In-lieu fee program for ATS was underway, but separate from the programmatic development
Slide 21: BO Development
- FHWA WA DIV/Resource Center stepped into a leadership role to facilitate the draft BO development.
- FHWA and MaineDOT authored* the draft BO and managed the BO schedule, including close coordination with USFWS and USACE.
*Likely unprecedented in the transportation sector.
- Began BO development in September 2016. BO was issued FOUR MONTHS later! Record timing.
Slide 22: BO Development
Image: Reproduction of an Annual General Construction Activity Project Numbers table
Slide 23: BO Development
- 5. Effects of the Action
- 5.1 Effects of the Action on Atlantic salmon
- 5.1.1 Elevated Turbidity/Sediment Transport
- 5.1.2 Underwater Noise
- 5.1.3 Temporary Migration/Movement Barrier
- 5.1.4 Fish Handling, Relocation, and Entrapment
- 5.1.5 Impingement/Entrainment
- 5.1.6 Water Quality Impact (pollutants)
- 5.1.7 Habitat Alteration
- 5.1.8 Permanent Migration/Movement Barrier
- 5.1.9 Summary of Effects to Atlantic Salmon
- 5.2 Effects of the Action on Atlantic salmon Critical Habitat
- 5.2.1 Insignificant and Discountable Effects
- 5.2.2 Effects to the Physical and Biological Features of Spawning and Rearing (SR)
- 5.2.3 Effects to the Physical and Biological Features of Migration (M)
Slide 24: BO Development
- BO Components
- Adaptive Management
- Incidental Take Statement
- Hydroacoustic Monitoring, Turbidity Monitoring and Post-Project Monitoring
- Avoidance and Minimization Measures
Slide 25: BO Development
- Programmatic BO signed on January 23, 2017!!!
Images: Photo of five people jumping for joy, silhouetted against the setting sun; and a graphic of an Atlantic salmon, a curly ribbon of water, and a stack of paper, with the words “Blood, Sweat, and Tiers | January 23, 2017”
Slide 26: Implementation
- February 2017 - MaineDOT website developed to house current documents for viewing
- March 2017 - User’s Guide Version 1.0 developed
- April 2017 - User’s Guide Training held
- Summer/Fall 2017 - In-lieu fee mitigation instrument implemented
Slide 27: Benefits
- Benefits for USFWS
- Produces visible conservation benefits to the species
- Builds trust between agencies
- Informal reviews - 2 weeks (was 1 month)
- Formal reviews - 1 month (was 135 days)
- Can spend more time on highly sensitive projects
Slide 28: Benefits
- Benefits for MaineDOT
- Improved consultation processing times = expedited project delivery
- 4 projects have been submitted under the programmatic for consistency review to date. <1 week to complete review vs. up to 220 days!
- Increased predictability
- MaineDOT, FHWA, USACE can complete designs knowing there will be predictable results.
- Improved relationships!
Image: Icon of a man rasing his fist in front of a large green checkmark
Slide 29: Improved Relationships!
Image: Group photo of eight MaineDOT members and six individual photos of other MaineDOT members
Slide 30: Challenges
- Stream crossing design
- Applying new design standards to projects far along in the process is complicated
- MaineDOT is training designers to complete habitat connectivity design
- New internal training and processes must be created to ensure design is occurring efficiently and properly
Slide 31: Lessons Learned
- Need to prioritize and focus multiple resources
- Important to capitalize on the strengths of your team
- Critical to have support from management
- Communication between agencies is essential
- Flexibility is important for all involved
Slide 32: Resources
Slide 33: Contact Information
FHWA Maine Division
USFWS Maine Field Office
FHWA WA Division/Resource Center
USACE Maine Field Office
USFWS Region 5
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