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Environmental Review Toolkit

Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to
Developing Infrastructure Projects

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image of a country road

Eco-Logical is a starting point for identifying and addressing the greatest conservation needs associated with the development of infrastructure projects. Using this guide, infrastructure improvements can be advanced in productive harmony with the restoration of fragmented habitats, reduction of wildlife mortality, and other cooperative conservation goals. (Photo courtesy David Sell, FHWA)

Action agency
An agency whose actions may impact the quality of the human and/or natural environment.

Adaptive management
The integration of design, management, and monitoring to systematically test assumptions in order to adapt and learn.

An interconnected community of living things, including humans, and the physical environment in which they interact.

Ecosystem approach
A method for sustaining or restoring ecological systems and their functions and values. It is goal driven, and it is based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditions that integrates ecological, economic, and social factors.It is applied within a geographic framework defined primarily by ecological boundaries.

Ecosystem-based mitigation
An outgrowth of integrated planning, ecosystem-based mitigation is the mitigation of impacts at a landscape or ecosystem scale.It enables the protection of ecological functions, values, and processes that are believed to be most important for the regional ecosystem.

The ecosystems, plants, and interactions that support wildlife.

The basic facilities needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, utilities, and public institutions.

In-kind mitigation
Mitigation for impacts with the same or similar resources or ecological functions as those impacted.

Integrated planning
A course of action agencies and partners take to combine planning efforts, to understand where programmed work will interact, and to define ecological resources of supreme concern.

An area of land that supports or contributes to the long-term movement of wildlife.

CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1508.20) define mitigation as:

  1. Avoiding an impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action;
  2. Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation;
  3. Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment;
  4. Reducing the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action; and
  5. Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

Off-site mitigation
Mitigation for impacts at a location not bordering the impact site.

On-site mitigation
Mitigation for impacts adjacent to the impact site.

Out-of-kind mitigation
Mitigation for impacts with other or different resources or ecological functions as those impacted.

Regional ecosystem framework
An element of integrated planning that likely consists of an overlay of maps of agencies' individual plans, accompanied by descriptions of conservation goals in the defined region.

Resource agency
An agency that has jurisdiction over a resource that may be affected by an activity.

Terrestrial and aquatic animals, and invertebrates.

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