Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Eco-Logical Webinar
Step 4 of the Integrated Ecological Framework (IEF):
Assessing Effects on Conservation Objectives

Featuring the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)

Monday, May 20, 2013
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern

Presenter: Amy Mangus, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Moderator: Spencer Stevens, FHWA Office of Planning

PDF Version [3.73 MB]


Table of Contents

Step 4: Assessing Effects on Conservation Objectives

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments


Step 4: Assessing Effects on Conservation Objectives

Slide 1: Step 4: Assessing Effects on Conservation Objectives, Featuring the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

Presenter: Amy Mangus, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Moderator: Spencer Stevens, FHWA Office of Planning

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Advancing transportation innovation for the public good

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

Image: Collage of tinted photographs from the covers of Eco-Logical documents: a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a rural road

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
  5. Establish and prioritize ecological actions
  6. Develop crediting strategy
  7. Develop programmatic consultation, biological opinion, or permit
  8. Implement agreements, adaptive management, and deliver projects
  9. Update REF

Slide 4: Elements of Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL)

Image: PEL logo

Image: The graphic shows integrated planning across the top axis, with a horizontal arrow pointing to Transportation Plans and Conservation & Resource Management Information. This is required. The graphic also shows Linking Planning & NEPA on the left side, with a vertical arrow pointing at Transportation Plans (top) and Environmental Analysis Process (bottom).

Slide 5: Integrated Planning

Image: The graphic shows that many systems data get layered together into an integrated approach. These systems include land use, transportation, and other natural resources. The bottom of the graphic reads, “Opportunities to support multiple community goals and improve quality of life.”

Slide 6: Step 4: Assess Effects - Key actions

  • Spatially relate proposed infrastructure to distribution of habitat priorities.
  • Estimate effects of projects early in the planning process before detailed NEPA analysis.
  • Transportation agencies with planning responsibilities can coordinate with resource agencies on data needs and assessment techniques.

Slide 7: Step 4: Assess Effects - Benefits of assessment in integrated planning

Environmental stewardship

  1. An understanding of transportation effects and potential mitigation areas
  2. Identification of agency preferences regarding avoidance, minimization, potential conservation, and restoration investments

Project predictability

  1. Identification and quantification of mitigation needs from anticipated transportation impacts
  2. Take advantage of mitigation opportunities available in the short-term that may no longer be available later, when the project is implemented

Slide 8: Agency Coordination: Data and Information Sharing

  • Data from partner agencies can inform the assessment of proposed projects
  • Basis for early consideration of the effects of alternative transportation solutions on environmental, community, and cultural resources
  • Resource agency outputs relevant to transportation planning include: State Wildlife Action Plans, Watershed Management Plans, and Historic Resource Inventories

Image: An example of a State Wildlife Action Plan – Screenshot of the Securing A Future For Fish and Wildlife: A Conservation Legacy for Iowans document

Image: An example of a Watershed Management Plan – Screenshot of the Taking Care of Our Watershed: A Watershed Plan for the East Souris River Watershed, Manitoba, Canada, January 2006 document

Image: An example of an Historic Resource Inventory – Screenshot of an inventory that calls out different classes of historic resources on a local map with streets and environmental features.

Slide 9: Agency Coordination: Documentation Benefits

  • Synopsis of coordination: level of participation and how you coordinated.
  • Identify transportation agencies involved in the planning study
  • What steps will need to be taken with each agency during NEPA scoping?

Slide 10: Benefits for Mitigation

An assessment of potential impacts of transportation projects can inform future regional mitigation activities.

Environmental mitigation activities are “intended to be regional in scope, and may not necessarily address potential project-level impacts.”
- 23 CFR 450.104

Image: Photograph of a marsh area with grasses in the foreground and hills in the background.

Slide 11: Benefits for Mitigation

Example:
South Carolina DOT – Carolina Bays Ecosystem Initiative

Example:
Mississippi DOT – Deaton Ecological Preserve

Image: Photograph of a lush salt marsh

Image: Photograph of a swamp with numerous thin bare trees

Slide 12: Contact Information

Spencer Stevens
FHWA Office of Planning
202/366-0149
Spencer.stevens@dot.gov

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SEMCOG: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

Most of the slides in this presentation contain a background graphic of a map of the seven SEMCOG counties.

Slide 13: SEMCOG: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

Slide 14: Eco-Logical Step 4: Assess Effects on Conservation Objectives

Amy Mangus, Leader
SEMCOG Plan Policy Group
mangus@semcog.org

Slide 15: SEMCOG

Image: Graphic of a light blue map of Michigan with the seven SEMCOG counties highlighted in a darker blue

Slide 16: Transportation & the Environment

  • Transportation system impacts environment
  • Goals of our process
    • Raise awareness of environmental issues in transportation planning/design
    • Implement environmentally friendly practices in construction/maintenance
    • Document in Regional Transportation Plan

Image: Photograph of a sign posted on the side of a road in the grass just beyond the sidewalk with the words “Rouge River: Main Branch: Ours to Protect” and an image of a large bird in tall reeds

Slide 17: Task Force

  • Federal Highway Administration
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
  • Michigan Departments of Geographic Information, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Transportation
  • Michigan State Historic Preservation Office/State Archeologist
  • Local Road Agencies
  • Environmental Interests

Slide 18: Regional Approach

  • Identify environmentally sensitive resources
  • Analyze possible impacts of transportation projects on resources
  • Recommend mitigation guidelines during all transportation project phases

Slide 19: At What Stage is the Information Used?

  • Prior to project selection
  • Potential impacts after receiving list of projects

Slide 20: What This Process is Not

  • Not a project level analysis
    • Complementary processes already in place to analyze impacts in detail
  • Not a determining factor in project selection
    • Impacts do not necessarily indicate project should not be implemented

Slide 21: Environmentally Sensitive Resources

  • Water resources
  • Wetlands
  • Groundwater Resources
  • Floodplains
  • Woodlands
  • Historic Sites
  • Cemeteries
  • Historic Bridges
  • Heritage Routes & Natural Beauty Roads
  • Historic Bridges
  • Nonmotorized Facilities

Slide 22: Impact Analysis

  • Buffer analysis around transportation projects
    • 250 feet - ¼ mile
  • Determine which resources in proximity to environmentally sensitive resources

Slide 23: Table 21 – Area of Influence

Environmental Resource Project Type
Bridges Congestion Capacity Congestion Non-Capacity Nonmotorized Pavement Rail Study
Lakes and Streams 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Designated Trout Lakes/Streams & Natural Rivers 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Wetlands 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Flood Prone Areas 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Wellhead Protection Areas 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Sinkholes 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Trees 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile 250' ¼ mile ¼ mile ¼ mile
Parks and Recreation Areas 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'
Historic Sites 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'
Cemeteries 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'
Heritage Routes & Natural Beauty Roads 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'
Historic Bridges 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'
Nonmotorized Facilities 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250' 250'

Slide 24: Sample Buffer Analysis

Image: Buffer analysis of a street grid with patches of land in green and a yellow buffer around selected streets. Areas of patches that intersect with the buffer are colored in red.

Slide 25: Projects Included in the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan

Image: Map of the seven counties of SEMCOG color-coded to highlight many of the projects included in SEMCOG's 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. Red is for Traffic Operations and Safety projects, orange is for Bridge projects, blue is for Pavement projects, green is for Capacity projects, turquoise is for Transit projects, and magenta is for Enhancement projects.

Slide 26: Possible Project Impacts

Project Type (Total Number of Projects Planned) Number of Projects Potentially Impacting Resources
Water Resources1 Wetlands Flood Prone Areas Groundwater Resources2 Trees Parks & Recreation Areas Historic Sites Cemeteries Heritage Routes & Natural Beauty Roads Historic Bridges Nonmotorized Facilities
Bridge (47 projects) 30 18 23 1 47 14 1 0 0 3 11
Congestion - Capacity (109 projects) 91 89 60 6 108 26 7 5 6 1 17
Congestion - Non-Capacity (10 projects) 5 8 4 0 10 1 0 0 0 0 0
Nonmotorized (8 projects) 1 3 1 1 8 4 1 0 0 0 4
Pavement (283 projects) 228 193 121 33 283 74 32 17 24 1 51
Rail (0 projects) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Study (14 projects) 13 12 5 4 14 4 0 1 1 0 5

1 Water resources consist of lakes and streams, designated trout lakes/streams, and Natural Rivers.
2 Groundwater resources consist of wellhead protection areas and sinkholes.
Source: SEMCOG

Slide 27: Mitigation Guidelines

  • Practices to be considered during all project phases
    • Planning/design
    • Construction/maintenance
  • Overall guidelines applying to all projects
  • Resource specific guidelines

Image: Screenshot of the cover of the January 2007 Integrating Environmental Issues in the Transportation Process: Guidelines for Road and Transit Agencies report

Slide 28: Getting the Word Out

  • Educational Opportunities
  • Information to project selection group
  • Continued analysis in 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
  • Online mapping tool

Slide 29: SEMCOG Transportation Data Map

Image: Screenshot of the Environmental Sensitivity layer of SEMCOG's interactive Transportation Data Map for the Ann Arbor area

Slide 30: SEMCOG Transportation Data Map

Image: Screenshot of the Bridges layer of SEMCOG's interactive Transportation Data Map for a section of the Huron River near Gallup Park in Ann Arbor

Slide 31: Next Steps

  • Adding additional data
  • Implementing agencies
  • Advanced assessment such as Monroe County Conservation Planning

Slide 32: Eco-Logical Step 4: Assess Effects on Conservation Objectives

Amy Mangus, Leader
SEMCOG Plan Policy Group
mangus@semcog.org

Slide 33: 2013-2017 Five Year Transportation Program Projects and Unfunded Pavement Needs

Image: Map of SEMCOG's Wayne and Monroe Counties color-coded to show 2013-2017 Five Year Transportation Projects and Unfunded Pavement Needs. 5-Year Bridge Projects are marked by magenta circles and 5-Year Road Projects are marked by yellow lines. Sections are also color-coded for estimated remaining service life: Category I sections (0-2 years) are highlighted in red and Category II sections (3-7 years) are highlighted in blue.

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