Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Eco-Logical Webinar
Step 9 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework (IEF): Updating the REF and Ecological Data

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern

Presenter: William Ostrum, Federal Highway Administration
Presenter: Meredith Dang, Houston-Galveston Area Council

PDF Version [3.9 MB]


Table of Contents

Step 9: Updating the REF and Ecological Data

Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)


Step 9: Updating the REF and Ecological Data

Slide 1: Eco-Logical Webinar Series: Updating the REF and Ecological Data: Step 9 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework

Presenters

  • William Ostrum, Federal Highway Administration
  • Meredith Dang, Houston-Galveston Area Council

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: Steps to Ensure Optimal Webinar Connection

This webinar broadcasts audio over the phone line and through the web room, which can strain some internet connections. To prevent audio skipping or webinar delay we recommend participants:

  • Close all background programs
  • Use a wired internet connection, if possible
  • Do not use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), if possible
  • Mute their webroom audio (toggle is located at the top of webroom screen) and use phone audio only

Slide 3: Eco-Logical Updates

  • Annual Report describing projects by Implementing Eco-Logical funding recipients (late fall 2014)
  • Starter Kit and Practitioners Handbook (fall 2014)
  • On-Call Technical Assistance Team (fall 2014)
  • SHRP2 C40A Eco-Plan data tool is undergoing open testing (Eco Plan, Eco-Plan Advanced)

Slide 4: Step 9: Updating the REF

This Webinar:

  • An example of an agency that is updating its REF for new data and needs
  • Discussion of actions and strategies that can help keep the REF relevant in decisionmaking
  • Presentation: Federal Highway Administration
  • Presentation: Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)
  • Discussion: FHWA/H-GAC

Slide 5: 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 6: 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 7: Step 9: Updating the REF

Image: Graphic of the “Ecosystem Approach” as a cycle diagram illustrating the three steps: Integrated Planning, Mitigation Options, and Performance Measurement

Slide 8: Potential Update Actions

  • Expand REF geography and data types
  • Incorporate most recent data layers
  • Consider effects of implemented transportation and mitigation projects
  • Re-evaluate regional environmental and infrastructure priorities

Image: Graphic of two intersecting double-ended arrows
Image: Graphic of a wall clock
Image: Graphic of a stem with two leaves
Image: Graphic of two speech balloons

Slide 9: Performance Feedback in the REF

Image: Graphic of an Example Logic Model for a Wildlife Crossing showing how Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes, and Impacts lead to Intended Results

Slide 10: Potential Update Strategies

  • Regularly-scheduled or real time data updates from partners
  • Continued engagement with stakeholders
    • Formal (e.g. MOUs, data-sharing agreements)
    • Informal
  • Performance management and planning that includes ecological data

Slide 11: Eco-Logical Webinar Series: Updating the REF and Ecological Data: Step 9 of the Integrated Eco-Logical Framework

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

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Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)

Slide 12: Eco-Logical

www.h-gac.com/go/eco-logical

Meredith Dang, AICP
Houston-Galveston Area Council
June 25, 2014

Image: The Houston-Galveston Area Council Eco-Logical logo

Image: The Houston-Galveston Area Council logo

Slide 13: Working with Existing Plans

Image: There are four images with arrows leading from one to the next as listed below.

Image: Screenshot of the Eco-Logical: Creating a Regional Decision Support System for the Houston-Galveston Region report

Image: Screenshot of the Executive Summary of the Houston-Galveston Green Infrastructure and Ecosystems Services Assessment report

Image: Screenshot of the Houston-Galveston Regional Plan: Region Vision Future | People Places Prosperity

Image: Logo of the 2040 RTP |The Houston-Galveston Regional Transportation Plan

Slide 14: By 2040 The Region Will Add

  • 3.5 million more people
  • 306 sq. miles of development
  • 8,526 lane miles

Image: Map of the Houston-Galveston area

Image: Photograph of a group of people sitting and standing at a outdoor event

Image: Aerial photograph of a section of a suburban neighborhood

Image: Photograph of four intertwined, elevated concrete highway sections

Slide 15: Can We Also Have This?

Image: Map of the Houston-Galveston area

Image: Photograph of a heron in the wild

Image: Photograph of a runners and a bicyclist using a multi-use path in Hershey Park in Houston, Texas

Image: Photograph of a wetland with a multi-use path across it

Slide 16: Eco-Logical Project Need

  • Lack of ecosystem approach to long-range planning
  • Coordinating transportation and conservation needs early in the process

Image: Photograph of an open wetland

Image: Photograph of a wetland surrounded by trees

Image: Close-up photograph of the four intertwined, elevated concrete highway sections from Slide 14

Slide 17: Purpose of Eco-Logical

  • Decision support system for regional planning
  • Inventory of high value environmental resources
  • Data clearinghouse for organizations and the public

Image: Photograph of a section of a wetland with cypress trees

Image: Close-up photograph of spider in its web in the forest

Image: Photograph of a field populated with grasses and yellow and white wildflowers

Slide 18: (no title)

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing different types of Eco Types

Slide 19: (no title)

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing Cumulative Metric Ratings of Eco Types

Slide 20: (no title)

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing Weighted Queries for Eco Types

Slide 21: Expanded Mapping

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing Eco Types for the Original Eco-Logical 8 County project from 2011

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing Eco Types for the Expanded Sustainable Community 13 County project

Slide 22: Eco-Logical GIS Update for 13-Counties

The Conservation Fund
America's Partner in Conservation

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing the Eco-Logical features for the original Eco-Logical 8 County project

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Ecological GIS tool showing the Eco-Logical features for the expanded Eco-Logical 13 County project in partnership with the Conservation Fund, including the following additional Eco-Logical Features: Streams, lakes, and floodplains and Corridors

Slide 23: Eco-Logical Services Assessment

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Eco-Logical Services Assessment illustrating areas within the region that have high ecosystem service values

Slide 24: Houston-Galveston Area | Sustainable Communities

Image: Screenshot of H-GAC's Sustainable Communities Our Great Region 2040 Plan

Slide 25: Greener Regions

Image: Screenshot of The “Greener Region” alternative for the H-GAC 2040 Our Great Region Plan

Slide 26: Integration with Future Plans

  • Analyze the potential impacts to natural resources
  • Capture impacts as a performance measure

Image: The 2040 RTP | The Houston-Galveston Regional Traansportation Plan logo

Image: Screenshot of The H-GAC Environmental Asset Screening Tool

Slide 27: Next Steps

  • Regional mitigation plan
  • Mitigation banks and credit availability
  • Share data and analysis
  • Broaden partnerships

Image: The 2040 RTP | The Houston-Galveston Regional Traansportation Plan logo

Slide 28: Questions?

Meredith Dang, AICP
meredith.dang@h-gac.com
713-993-2443

Image: Photograph of a wide, grassy path through woods

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