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Environmental Review Toolkit

Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to
Developing Infrastructure Projects

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Appendix B - Funding and Partnerships

Funding and partnership mechanisms are available to accomplish integrated planning, development of a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF), and implementation of planned efforts and projects. Several authorities and public funding appropriations exist and have been utilized within partnerships to accomplish larger efforts than could occur independently. In fact, many public programs have been established from the onset with cost-sharing responsibilities that include a funding match or in-kind contributions. It is important to consider strategies for funding and partnering to implement infrastructure and land management projects. Opportunities offer a role for both the public and private sectors. Strategies that include watershed plans, comprehensive plans, and regional plans can be capitalized upon to pursue ecosystem approaches. The most effective strategies include annual and multi-year funding needs. Funding availability and use can vary by organization and fiscal year. This Appendix introduces concepts and examples for funding and partnering. Several factors need to be included within an overall strategy to meet short-term and long-term needs.

Guidelines for Federal-aid Participation in the Establishment and Support of Wetland Mitigation Banks
October 24, 1994

FHWA Memorandum: Federal-aid Eligibility of Wetland and Natural Habitat Mitigation
March 10, 2005

What Opportunities Exist for Funding and Partnerships?

Instruments and programs exist for the Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local levels of government and the private sector. Success stories commonly draw upon the participation of the private sector including nonprofit and for-profit organizations. As an overview, tools and techniques for funding the development of infrastructure projects can include:

  • Federal Program Funding
  • Funding Matches through Partnering
  • Innovative Financial Tools
  • Special Funding and Use of Funds within Programs

Examples of Federal Program Funding
Often, Federal funding programs require a non-Federal matching share. A variety of mechanisms exist for fulfilling non-Federal cost-share responsibilities based on program requirements. A blend of cash and in-kind contributions are typically available as opportunities that count toward the non-Federal share. Within Federal programs that require non-Federal cost sharing, matching funds and in-kind contributions are quantified, tracked, and reported. Public sector participation could include Federal, tate, tribal, and local levels of government and typically includes coordination with the private sector.

As an example, historically, Federal funding with FHWA oversight has financed highways covering up to 80 percent of project costs coupled with cost-sharing mechanisms and partnerships. Traditional Federal funding for highways is project specific. It is important to note that it does not offer a particular funding category for mitigation. (See "Mitigation and Funding" under "Special Funding and Use of Funds within Programs" later in this Appendix.) Other examples include:

  • Federal aid funds are described as Federally aided and State administered. Mitigation must be linked to projects eligible for Federal funding.
  • "Banking" for compensatory mitigation (as with wetlands banks) is possible.
  • Technology transfer funding can provide education/lessons learned.
  • "4r" Provisions allow restoration of impacts due to past projects under current Federal-aid highway projects.

Examples of Matches through Partnering
Strategies that use multiple funding sources and organizations can accomplish larger efforts and multiple benefits than could be accomplished alone. The foundation for developing these strategies is integrated planning. Public and private partnering occurs in various ways. Cost-sharing is common within many efforts that support infrastructure and land management. Examples of matches and cost-sharing include contributions toward: preparation of plans, conducting studies, developing designs, planting material, construction, and operation and maintenance activities. For example, within some programs, if a nonprofit, private, or local organization is willing to provide cash, materials, or land to a project, that contribution could serve as part of the required non-Federal match. This example underscores the value of creating partnerships with other stakeholders.

The short-term and long-term activities of various entities can be capitalized upon to accomplish common goals. Coordination has been beneficial between various Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies and the private sector. Some examples of strategies and cooperative match possibilities include:

  • A local landowner donates a permanent easement facilitating crossing for wolves, so they can avoid a highway crossing that divides their habitat.
  • A foundation provides partial funding for creation of a wildlife crossing.
  • Site selection for compensatory wetland mitigation for a Federal project is strategically located adjacent to a habitat area that is locally owned. Compensatory mitigation is fulfilled and a larger, more sustainable habitat area is established.
  • A watershed plan, comprehensive plan, or regional plan is completed and is capitalized upon as an already existing investment for integrated planning.

Examples of Innovative Financial Tools
FHWA oversees several funding programs that offer innovative financial tools and are dedicated to special uses. Two innovative financial tools for funding wildlife projects are State Infrastructure Banks (SIBs) and Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE). Both can be used only for projects that would be eligible for direct Federal-aid funding, but for which funding is not immediately available.

State DOTs often have access to SIBs, which are a source of low-cost financing for eligible projects. The maximum loan term is 35 years, and the interest rate is set by the State. Loans from SIBs can make a large project affordable for a nonprofit or local community (e.g. $100,000 over 30 years at 5 percent interest is equal to a mortgage payment).

GARVEEs permit States to borrow against future Federal-aid funding. States pay debt payments with Federal aid. GARVEEs allow States to distribute the costs of expensive projects over many years.

For more information on FHWA Innovative Financing, visit

Special Funding and Use of Funds within Programs
A variety of funding programs are dedicated to specific uses that involve agencies within various levels of government and the private sector. Some examples are summarized below.

National Recreational Trails Fund
These funds are allocated to the states to provide and maintain recreational trails and trail-related projects. Trails and trail-related projects that are identified in, or further a specific goal of, a trail plan included or referenced in a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, as required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act qualify for these funds. The project sponsor applies to the state, and the FHWA approves spending for the project. The state may be a project sponsor. Assured access to funds is given for motorized, nonmotorized, and discretionary recreation uses. States shall give preference to projects with diversified uses, such as multiple-use trails for human and wildlife use. These trails can often provide corridors for wildlife. The FHWA oversees this program.

Compensatory Mitigation and Funding
As an example, FHWA's authority to fund mitigation for project impacts is outlined in FHWA's environmental regulations at 23 CFR Part 771.105(d). The provision reflects FHWA's responsibility to incorporate appropriate mitigation into transportation projects and provide the funding necessary to mitigate the impacts that are actually caused by FHWA funded projects, provided the funding represents a reasonable public expenditure. Other aspects of the reasonableness of the public expenditure are addressed in 777.7(a), including: (1) the importance of the impacted natural habitats, (2) the extent of highway impacts as determined through an appropriate, interdisciplinary impact assessment, (3) actions necessary to comply with the CWA, ESA, and other relevant Federal statutes, and (4) input from the appropriate resource management agencies through interagency cooperation. Information on environmental mitigation is also contained in 23 CFR Part 710.513. The mitigation included as a commitment in an environmental document becomes an integral and essential part of a transportation project decision. FHWA is responsible for ensuring that mitigation measures identified as commitments in environmental documents are implemented.

Both the National Highway System and Surface Transportation Programs in the current transportation legislation allow states to use Federal?aid funds for wetlands and habitat mitigation of impacts due to Federal-aid highway projects. These provisions allow the expenditure of Federal?aid highway funds towards efforts to conserve, restore, enhance, and create wetlands, and to establish habitat and wetland mitigation banks in advance of projects, as well as concurrently or after projects are completed.

A March 2005 memorandum from FHWA Headquarters reiterates and "emphasizes that wetland and natural habitat mitigation measures, such as wetland and habitat banks or statewide and regional conservation measures, are eligible for Federal-aid participation when they are undertaken to create mitigation resources for future transportation projects." The memo clarifies that "…in the case of wetland or other mitigation banks, the State DOT and FHWA division office should identify potential future wetlands and habitat mitigation needs for a reasonable time frame and establish a need for the mitigation credits. The transportation planning process should guide the determination of future mitigation needs." For specific details within this memo, visit:

Transportation Enhancement Activities
Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities benefit the traveling public and help communities to increase transportation choices and access, enhance the built and natural environment, and provide a sense of place. To be eligible for funding, a TE project must fit into one or more of 12 eligible categories and relate to surface transportation (see 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(35)). Mechanisms exist for the use of in-kind contributions to meet the non-Federal cost-share requirements. FHWA oversees the program. A project eligible for TE funding must meet Federal environmental, project administration, and right-of-way requirements. State TE managers administer the program and establish eligibility specifics at the state level that might be more detailed than FHWA guidance. A summary by FHWA is available at the source of this information:

Private Lands and Private Landowners
Successful efforts and strategies have involved privately owned land. Multiple mechanisms exist for private landowners to implement conservation and habitat objectives. These mechanisms are available within the public and private sectors. A few examples of Federal programs that offer incentives for private landowners are offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Forest Service, as well as the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. These programs offer incentives as property tax benefits, income tax credits, technical assistance, and direct funding. Partnerships can include multiple entities. As a specific example, USDA mentions working with multiple participants for a USDA program that supports conservation planning and conservation practices by private landowners by summarizing: "When appropriate, the conservation plan may be used to pool or group participants to accommodate resource conservation practices that overlay lands owned or controlled by more than one participant. All program beneficiaries must agree to develop the area wide conservation plan." Source:

Future Success Stories
Partnerships between the private and public sectors have been the foundation of proven successes for infrastructure and land management efforts. Considerations of funding and partnerships have proven essential to short-term and long-term activities. Participation has included various agencies at the Federal, State, tribal, and local levels working with private for-profit and nonprofit entities. Looking beyond a project-specific approach through integrated planning along with the sharing of responsibilities between stakeholders has accomplished larger initiatives with long-term multiple benefits. This Appendix highlights funding and partnering for accomplishments within an ecosystem approach. Emerging and future endeavors are certain to serve as future successes.

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