Evaluations

FINAL EVALUATIONS

Once a preferred alternative has been identified, a final Section 4(f) evaluation must be developed, containing all the information included in the draft evaluation, plus the following:

  • A discussion of the preferred alternative, including graphics to illustrate resources and any use (if applicable) associated with the preferred alternative.
  • A discussion of the basis for concluding that there are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the use of the Section 4(f) property.
  • A discussion of the basis for concluding that the proposed action includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the Section 4(f) property.
  • When there are no feasible and prudent alternatives that avoid use and multiple alternatives that use Section 4(f) property are under consideration, the final Section 4(f) evaluation must demonstrate that the preferred alternative causes the least overall harm of any alternative.
  • A summary of the official coordination with the Headquarters Offices of the DOI (or appropriate agency under that Department) and, as appropriate, the involved offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and HUD, as well as evidence of continuing coordination with any other official(s) with jurisdiction.
  • Copies of all official coordination comments and a summary of other relevant Section 4(f) comments received, with an analysis and response to any questions raised. Where new alternatives or modifications to existing alternatives are identified and given no further consideration, the basis for dismissing these alternatives should be provided and supported by factual information. When land is purchased or improved with funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (Section 6(f)) the National Park Service's (NPS) or their delegate‚Äôs position on the land transfer should be documented.
  • Concluding statement as follows: "Based upon the above considerations, there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of land from the [identify Section 4(f) property] and the proposed action includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the [identify Section 4(f) property] resulting from such use."
  • The final evaluation should be included in the FEIS or FONSI or published separately if the project is documented as a CE or if the resource was found after the FEIS or FONSI.

LEGAL SUFFICIENCY

As noted previously, Section 4(f) has a considerable history of litigation. It is not difficult to understand why comprehensive evaluations are critical to documenting the legal sufficiency required for the use of a Section 4(f) resource. Because this documentation is so important, FHWA requires a legal sufficiency review of all final individual Section 4(f) evaluations.