Environmental Review Toolkit
Planning and Environment Linkages

Linking Planning and NEPA Managers Workshop

Waukesha, Wisconsin

Third Draft of Action Plan
July 15, 2004

spacer Strengths of Existing Planning Process Weaknesses/ Shortcomings Priority Potential Strategies Short Term Action Plan Responsible Person(s) Action Date
1
Statewide Planning

WisDOT is making efforts to involve resource agencies earlier.

Resource agencies get involved late. Only DNR is regularly involved in planning.

No agreement on ground rules, process.
High Participate in SEWRPC regional pilot (see row 3). Build on pilot's successes to extend to statewide planning and other metropolitan areas. WisDOT to conduct team building effort between planning, project selection, and environmental units to find better linkages
  • projects and selections
  • on-going, not just a single event
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Resource agencies are getting involved earlier, and are willing to get involved in planning if their time is well used.

WisDOT and DNR have MOU, covering both NEPA and planning.
Process is not transparent. Lack of understanding, consistency.

Resource agencies do not know how their comments are used.
High Clarify current planning/decision-making process to make it transparent to all participants. WisDOT to clarify decision process and who to call:
  • Improve internal understanding first
  • Develop flow chart(s) depicting planning and project development process
    • Focus on the points where early decisions occur
    • Explain where projects come from, decision criteria used, evaluation methods, level of effort
    • Show lines of communication on comments
  • Invite resource agencies to a meeting/tutorial where each agency explains its processes.
Pat Trainer will talk to Ken Leonard

Dave Siebert
and
Dan Scudder
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Executives from resource agencies see value in participating in planning DNR and other agencies lack the staff to participate effectively in planning. High Invite resource agencies present/explain their processes at a meeting. WisDOT and other agencies might develop and disseminate flow charts showing
  • Steps in planning and project development process
  • Interfaces among agencies
  • Start in Southeast Wisconsin
  • Start with DOT
DNR to look internally at who represents them in statewide planning and programming. Dave Siebert spacer
spacer Transportation planning agencies do not understand resource agency rules, procedures. High spacer spacer spacer spacer
spacer Planning aspects of the WisDOT/DNR MOU have not been made operational. High spacer spacer spacer spacer
Resource and transportation agencies do not know who to call. High spacer spacer spacer spacer
spacer Resource and transportation agency culture does not include early involvement. High spacer spacer spacer spacer
2
Statewide Project Development

Resource agencies are involved in NEPA for major WisDOT projects
MOU does not extend to other agencies. Med Develop operating procedures for planning. WisDOT to conduct team building effort between planning, project selection, and environmental units to find better linkages
  • projects and selections
  • on-going, not just single event
See item 1. spacer
WisDOT and DNR have MOU, covering both NEPA and planning. Project planning and development are not well understood by resource agencies. Med Extend MOU to cover other agencies.

Make sure that resource agency time is used efficiently.
spacer Dan ScudderKen Leonard spacer
WisDOT is funding positions for project reviews by DNR.Transportation and resource agencies are working together in good faith today. Transportation planning agencies do not understand resource agency rules, procedures. High Fund additional resource agency positions.

Identify alternative liason procedures with resource agencies.
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3
SEWRPC Planning

SEWRPC planning already looks at key environmental issues at the long range plan level: land use, wetlands, farmland, air quality, etc.

DNR is on SEWRPC advisory committees.
Other than DNR, resource agencies are generally not involved in SEWRPC planning.

Plan is susceptible to change.
High SEWRPC to form a Task Force to advise the Long Range Plan Advisory Committees for both land use and transportation. SEWRPC invite resource agencies to participate in Task Force to collaborate throughout the upcoming long range plan update, particularly at key milestones including:
  • Scope of effort
  • Goals/Issues/Criteria
  • Alternatives
  • Impact assessment
  • Final evaluation/outcomes
  • Next steps/follow-up issues
Ken Yunker Invitations to be sent and first Task Force meeting in August
SEWRPC is willing to create an environmental task force to be part of the next plan update. Planning outcomes are sometimes questioned in NEPA — they do not carry forward to project level. Plan is advisory — lacks standing — leading to higher costs and delayed project implementation. High spacer SEWRPC and Task Force will define expectations, approach, commitment, activities, data, conflict resolution, and timeframes, and will clarify lines of communication and decision-making authority. Prepare written ground rules, time lines, milestones. spacer spacer
Resource agencies are getting involved earlier, and are willing to get involved in planning if their time is well used.

SEWRPC plan is flexible, updated regularly based on current information.

Executives of resource agencies see value in participating in planning.
To resource agencies, value of participating is uncertain. High spacer Resource agencies will:
  • Participate in Task Force from beginning
  • Identify additional goals, objectives, evaluation criteria
  • Share data bases to extent possible
Task Force will identify aspects of environment that are best handled at the regional level.

SEWRPC and Task Force participants will develop high level MOU to formalize commitment to process:
  • Mission statement
  • Commitment to work together
  • Respect for each other's missions, etc.
At the conclusion of plan update, SEWRPC and Task Force will prepare a summary document of what occurred and decisions reached. Summary will be incorporated into subsequent project-level NEPA documents.
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4
Data and GIS

SEWRPC has good GIS data base and some data sharing.

Resource agencies have good data bases.
Some environmental agencies are reluctant to share data. Medium Statewide needs common architecture for expanded data sharing. WisDOT to engage environmental user group to generate list of data needs (wish list). [WISDOT Info. Mgmt. Group, Chairperson: Marilyn Lewis, BAS, 608.266.0285] Dan Scudder will find out what data is available now, meet with Siebert on next steps spacer
spacer spacer spacer SEWRPC pilot will help generate ideas for data valuable to resource agencies. Agencies can transmit their data to SEWRPC, SEWRPC can put up on their website. DNR to check inventory of databases, report to Dave Sierbert. Mike Thompson spacer
spacer spacer spacer spacer WisDOT to start data-sharing pilot in Northeast Wisconsin (Green Bay) district. Chris Culotta to talk to his supervisor spacer

Further Thoughts on SEWRPC Pilot

  1. What is Success?
    1. Active Involvement of resource agencies at each step: goals, alternatives, impact assessment
    2. Satisfaction with process
    3. Understanding of plan and what was considered
    4. Issue identification/inventory categorization - level of resource and impact
    5. Project level EIS is easier
    6. Cumulative impacts are addressed
    7. Collaborative decisions — not merely advisory
    8. WisDOT wants consensus — resource agency understanding of the need for projects in the plan, willingness to move forward on projects (possibly with some exceptions).
  2. Who should participate?
    1. DNR
    2. WisDOT
    3. EPA
    4. Corps of Engineers
    5. F&WS
    6. SHPO
    7. NPS
    8. USDA Forest Service
    9. Environmental people from WISDOT and FHWA — both planning and project delivery.
  3. Those individuals who participate should have the ability to speak for their agency

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For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact Jody McCullough or Marisel Lopez-Cruz.

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