Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Eco-Logical Webinar
Integrating Natural Resource, Transportation, and Land Use Plans:
Step 2 in the Integrated Ecological Framework (IEF)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern

Presenters:

  • Steve Walker, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Judy C. Gates, MaineDOT Environmental Office

Moderated by Mark Sarmiento, FHWA Office of Planning

PDF Version [4.34 MB]


Table of Contents

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program

Step 2 of the IEF Overview

Beginning with Habitat


Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program

Slide 1: Integrating Natural Resource, Transportation, and Land Use Plans

Speakers:

  • Steve Walker, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Judy C. Gates, MaineDOT Environmental Office

Moderated by Mark Sarmiento, FHWA

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

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Slide 2: FHWA Research Program for Environment and Planning

Under SAFETEA-LU, the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) sought to:

  • Improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning and the environment.
  • Refine the scope of transportation research through outreach and in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Develop more accurate models for evaluating transportation control measures and system designs for use by State and local governments.
  • Improve the understanding of transportation demand factors.
  • Develop indicators of economic, social, and environmental performance of transportation systems to facilitate alternatives analysis.

Slide 3: FHWA Research Program for Environment and Planning

Under MAP-21, FHWA will:

  • Develop a Performance Management approach to transportation investments.
  • Minimize the costs of transportation planning and environmental decisionmaking processes, highway infrastructure, and operations.
  • Improve transportation planning and environmental decisionmaking coordination and processes.
  • Minimize and reduce the potential impact of highway infrastructure, operations, and surface transportation on the environment.
  • Improve construction techniques and their related emissions.
  • Reduce the impact of highway runoff on the environment.
  • Improving the modeling of factors that contribute to the demand for transportation.

Slide 4: Transportation - Environment

Improve transportation planning and environmental decision making coordination and processes.

  • What steps do you need to develop a comprehensive conservation strategy?
  • How can agencies work together to create and share data for transportation and conservation planning?

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

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Step 2 of the IEF Overview

Slide 6: 9 Steps of the IEF

  • Previous webinar focused on Step 1…

Slide 7: 9 Steps of the IEF

Previous webinar focused on Step 1:

Build and Strengthen Collaborative Partnerships and Vision

Slide 8: 9 Steps of the IEF

Step 2: Characterize Resource Status and Integrate Natural Environment Plans

Slide 9: IEF Step 2 aims to:

Develop an overall conservation strategy that integrates restoration and conservation priorities, data, and plans

Slide 10: IEF Step 2

  • Identify the spatial data needed to create an understanding of current (baseline) conditions that are a by-product of past actions and to understand potential effects from future actions.
  • Prioritize the specific list of ecological resources and issues that should be further addressed in the REF or other assessment and planning.

Slide 11: IEF Step 2

Develop the necessary agreements with agencies and NGOs to provide plans and data that agencies use in their own decision-making processes. Agreements should allow data to be used to avoid, minimize, and advance mitigation, especially for CWA Section 404 and ESA Section 7.

Identify data gaps and how they will be addressed in the combined conservation/restoration plan. Reach consensus on an efficient process for filling any remaining gaps.

Slide 12: IEF Step 2

Produce geospatial overlays of data, plans and supporting priorities, to guide the development of an overall conservation strategy for the planning region that identifies conservation priorities and opportunities, and evaluates stressors and opportunities for mitigation and restoration.

Convene a team of stakeholders to review the geospatial overlay and associated goals/priorities, and identify actions to support them.

Slide 13: IEF Step 2

Record methods, concurrence and rationales of this step based on stakeholder input (e.g., how the identified areas address the conservation/preservation, or restoration needs and goals identified for the area).

Distribute the combined map of conservation and restoration priorities to stakeholders for review and adoption.

Slide 14: Outcomes of IEF Step 2

Answer these questions:

  • What is the current situation?
  • How do we understand the current situation?
  • What is important?
  • Do we have all the information we need?
  • How do we get the information we need?

Slide 15: Outcomes of IEF Step 2

What do we get?

  • Holistic view of significant ecological resources
  • Agreements on the data used and the processes developed to produce information
  • Address any data gaps
  • A common picture of what the priorities are

Slide 16: How do we do this?

  • Technology
  • People

Slide 17: How do we do this?

  • Technology
  • Collection - Remote sensing, LiDAR, GPS
  • Storage - IT/Server technology
  • Analyze - IT Hardware
  • Presentation - IT Hardware & Software, Web/Internet-based software

Slide 18: How do we do this?

  • Technology
    • GIS / Accessibility
      • Cloud based/Internet
      • Client-served/Internet
      • Client-server/Local network
      • Desktop

Slide 19: How do we do this?

  • People
    • Change the way we do things
    • Right people at the table

More difficult?

Slide 20: How do we do this?

  • People - build and strengthen collaborative relationships

Slide 21: How do we do this?

People:

  • Challenges
  • Connecting Transportation and the Environment

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Beginning with Habitat

Slide 22: Connecting Transportation and the Environment

Steve Walker, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
Judy C. Gates, Director MaineDOT Environmental Office

Slide 23: Beginning with Habitat

  • Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Maine Natural Areas Program
  • Maine Audubon Society
  • Department of Transportation
  • State Planning Office
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Maine Coast Heritage Trust
  • Small Woodlot Owners Association of ME
  • Funded by Environmental Protection Agency, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Wildlife Restoration Funds, Maine Department of Conservation, Maine Loon Plate Fund, Betterment Foundation, Maine Community Foundation

Slide 24: What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)?

BwH is…
A landscape based approach to achieve meaningful conservation of all native species on a developing landscape.

Purpose:
To provide the most up-to-date wildlife and plant habitat information available for use in Comprehensive, Open Space and Conservation Planning.

Image: BwH Report cover

Slide 25: What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)?

A Framework for Integrated Planning

  1. Build and Strengthen Collaborative Partnerships
  2. Identify Management Plans
  3. Integrate Plans
  4. Assess Effects
  5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities
  6. Document Agreements
  7. Design Projects Consistent with Regional Ecosystem Framework
  8. Balance Predictability and Adaptive Management

Image: Eco-Logical report cover

Slide 26: What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)?

“The vision is to create a landscape with a series of large, open-space blocks, connected by corridors linking Shoreland Zones and Important Habitats, that then function as a continuous landscape for wildlife.”
Krohn & Hepinstall 2000 (Habitat-based approach for identifying open space conservation needs)

Image: report cover of “Designing Communities to Project Wildlife Habitat”

Slide 27: What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)?

1. Build and Strengthen Collaborative Partnerships
6. Document Agreements

Image: Steering committee and guidance document

Slide 28: What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)?

2. Identify Management Plans
3. Integrate Plans

Image: Diverse plans and habitat maps

Slide 29: Assessing Vulnerabilities

4. Assess Effects
5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities

Image: Field staff surveying and habitat maps

Slide 30: Assessing Vulnerabilities

4. Assess Effects

5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities

Climate Change Species Vulnerability Assessment

Criteria for Assessing Species

  • Habitat specificity
  • Edge of Range
  • Environmental or Physiological Tolerance: (temperature, hydrology)
  • Interspecific Dependencies (e.g., predator/prey)
  • Mobility & Dispersal
  • Pathogens or Invasive Species

Image: species catalog entry

Slide 31: Prioritizing Opportunities

4. Assess Effects
5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities

Image: Map showing priority habitat connector between undeveloped blocks

Slide 32: Establishing Priorities

4. Assess Effects
5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities

Image: Map of Maine and significant habitat areas

Slide 33: Establishing Priorities

4. Assess Effects
5. Establish and Prioritize Opportunities

Aquatic Resource Management Strategy (ARMS)

An Approach to Conserving & Restoring Maine's Aquatic Habitats

  • Statewide consistent approach to aquatic conservation and restoration
  • Contribute to recovery of ESA-listed fish, particularly anadromous Atlantic salmon, by increasing quantity and quality of freshwater habitat.
  • Contribute to conservation and recovery of stream-associated species native to Maine
  • Unified data repository
  • Easily accessible guidance aimed at resolving existing barriers to aquatic movements
  • Coordination of state-wide conservation and restoration priorities with MaineDOT's biennial work plan
  • Improvements to state and federal regulations to further ARMS objectives

Image: Map of stream habitats

Slide 34: Acting on Priorities

Image: Construction, clean stream, partner logos.

Slide 35: Impact of Roads and Traffic

Traffic and roads reduce species population size by fragmenting populations, reducing access to resources and increase fatalities through vehicle collisions

Slide 36: Roads As Barriers - Direct Mortality

Image: Roadkill

Slide 37: Roads As Barriers — Direct Mortality

Image: Roadkill, moose crossing signage, cover of animal-vehicle crash report

Slide 38: The Policy and Design guide

  • Credibility
  • Predictability

Image: Cover of Waterway and Wildlife Crossing Policy and Design Guide

Slide 39: Maps

Image: Map of Orland

Slide 40: Maps

Image: Map of Orland with habitat details

Slide 41: Maps

Image: Map of Orland with habitat details

Slide 42: Maps

Image: Map of transportation alternatives

Slide 43: Maps

Image: Map of undeveloped areas

Slide 44: Maps

Image: Map of habitats by species type

Slide 45: Maps

Image: Map of significant habitats

Slide 46: Maps

Image: Map of transportation alternatives considering habitats

Slide 47: Some Lessons Learned

  • Critical to open process to all stakeholders including especially those representing landowner interests;
  • Strong partnership results in many hands able to navigate varying political and funding realities;
  • Don't expect meaningful results in the short-term (influencing behavioral change takes time);
  • Keep vision front and center (easy to get lost in detail and data);
  • Implementation requires commitment to funding, incentives, and moral support directed to the local level;
  • Partners at the local level are constantly changing and institutional knowledge doesn't last long. Effective communication requires a long-term relationship.

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For questions or feedback on this subject, please contact Mike Ruth at 202-366-9509.

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