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Eco-Logical Peer Exchange: Establishing a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF)
July 6, 2015

Activity Report

photo of presentation at peer exchange

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are jointly leading an effort to develop tools and resources for State DOTs and other agencies that are interested in Implementing Eco-Logical into their programs. This activity report summarizes the event held at the AASHTO's Conference on 21st Century Mobility for Freight and Passenger Transportation in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 6, 2015. The peer exchange focused on Step 3 of the Eco-Logical Approach, developing a Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF).

Peer Exchange

The subject of the peer exchange focused on how to establish a REF. During the morning session, participants heard from the presenters on their REFs and how they benefitted their projects and overall program. In the afternoon, participants conducted mapping activities to establish their own REF by reviewing the needs of their State and projecting how an Eco-Logical REF could benefit their program. The peer exchange was moderated by Kevin Walsh (Massachusetts DOT) and Susan Haupt (Oregon DOT). Guest speakers included Mike O’Malley (Michigan DOT), Kris Gade (Arizona DOT) and Donna Buscemi (Maryland SHA).

9-step Eco-Logical flow chart with an arrow pointing to Step 3

Peer Exchange Agenda

  • Introduction
  • What is the Eco-Logical approach and how does the Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF) facilitate this?
  • Eco-Logical Step 2: Characterize resource status and integrate natural environment plans - I-75 Corridor Conservation Plan
  • Eco-Logical Step 3: Create a Regional Ecosystem Framework - Wildlife Connectivity in Arizona
  • Eco-Logical Step 4: Assess Effects on Conservation Objectives - The Watershed Resources Registry
  • Activity on Eco-Logical Step 2: Characterize resource status and integrate natural environment plans
  • Activity on Eco-Logical Step 3: Create a Regional Ecosystem Framework
  • Activity on Eco-Logical Step 4: Assess Effects on Conservation Objectives


photo of peer participants examining charts and maps set up on easels around the room
  • Alaska DOT
  • Arizona DOT
  • Colorado DOT
  • Kentucky DOT
  • Louisiana DOT
  • Maine DOT
  • Maryland SHA
  • Massachusetts DOT
  • Michigan DOT
  • Nevada DOT
  • New Mexico DOT
  • Oregon DOT
  • South Carolina DOT
  • Tennessee DOT
  • Utah DOT
  • Vermont DOT
  • Washington DOT

Helpful Reference Materials

PDF files from the presentations below are available upon request. Please contact David Williams.

  • Step 2 Activity: Who are your stakeholders and what data do you need to represent their interests?
  • Step 3 Activity: What is your plan for transportation projects and natural resources?
  • Step 4 Activity: What are the outcomes you want for your program?

Topics of Discussion

Facilitated Discussion:

  • What are the benefits of Implementing Eco-Logical?
  • How to introduce this in your program?
  • How to apply this practically?
  • What to do about integrating stakeholders when staffing resources are scarce?

Next Steps

The next steps for each of the attending DOTs are to bring back the information they learned from the peer exchange and apply it to their program. And, contact information was shared so each attendee can follow-up with their new DOT partner from the peer exchange!

Need to request technical assistance for your Eco-Logical program? Please submit a request.