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LOCAL NEPA/404(b)(1) COORDINATION PROCEDURES
BETWEEN
THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
AND
US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, THE SAVANNAH DISTRICT


May 1, 2002

1.00 PURPOSE:

To establish coordination procedures between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT)/Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Savannah District, to ensure efficient processing of GADOT Individual Department of the Army Permit Applications. The procedures developed will allow systematic, yet quick review and evaluation of alternatives, with input from the appropriate resource agencies prior to submittal of an application, thereby reducing actual processing time for the application once submitted. These procedures address projects for which the FHWA is the lead Federal agency.

2.00 GENERAL

2.01 Single Point of Contact (POC): Single POCs at the GADOT, FHWA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USACE, Savannah District, US Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, and National Marine Fisheries Service have been designated for coordination of all GADOT projects within certain geographic regions. These regions, with names, addresses and telephone numbers of the current contacts, are indicated on the maps included with Enclosure 1. These agencies will make all efforts to maintain single POCs to ensure efficient processing of GADOT projects.

2.02 Elevation Procedures: Within 90 days of the signing of this instrument a working draft set of elevation procedures will be established for conflict resolution between the USACE, Savannah District, and GADOT/FHWA. These procedures will contain time frames under which each agency must act and the appropriate authority level to be involved at each stage. These procedures would not be legally binding, but will provide a scenario for issue resolution in a timely fashion. The USACE, Savannah District, in cooperation with the GADOT, FHWA and the resource agencies, will take the lead in development of these procedures.

3.00 PHASE I (PRE-APPLICATION)

3.01 This phase of the process consists of the steps indicated on the flow chart for Phase I (Enclosure 2). (Note that paragraph numbers are listed in the corresponding boxes of the flow chart.)

3.02 Defining of Overall/Basic Project Purpose: This is required by the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines (40 CFR 230.10(a)) as a prerequisite to determining the study area and the scope of alternatives analysis. GADOT submits Purpose and Need Statement (P&N) and logical termini, with concurrence of FHWA to the USACE, Savannah District, for approval. This can be submitted with the Practicable Alternatives Report (PAR) package, if necessary. (See step 3.03, below.)

3.03 Submittal of the Practicable Alternatives Report: The PAR will be coordinated with the FHWA. The PAR will be sent to the USACE, Savannah District, and the resource agencies. Enclosure 3 lists items that should be included in a PAR package. In addition, all environmental information available at that point, including surveys and documentation generated during the course of the Joint Coordination Procedures (JCP), should be included with the PAR package. The 30-day clock, prior to the Joint Agency Workshop, (see 3.05, below) starts when the PAR package is received unless the USACE, Savannah District, notifies the resource agencies that the PAR is in need of revision.

3.04 Identification of Additional Alternatives and/or Analysis Requirements: Upon receipt of the PAR the USACE, Savannah District, and the resource agencies will review the conclusions and, if they concur, they will identify any additional analysis required prior to the Joint Agency Workshop. If the USACE, Savannah District, and the resource agencies do not concur, they will provide specific comments to all parties within 15 days. These comments will also identify the type of information that will be required to evaluate the alternatives under the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines and will be provided to all parties.

3.05 Joint Agency 404(b)(1)Workshop: The PAR must be provided to the resource agencies and the USACE, Savannah District, at least 30 days prior to the scheduled workshop. If after receipt of the PAR, it is determined that a field review is not necessary, no workshop will be held. The purpose of this workshop will be to obtain resource agency input on project alternatives, as well as to gather information for the continued project review. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be asked how continued coordination will proceed (i.e., will meeting minutes be accepted as representing agency concerns or will comments be provided at a later time). The resource agencies and the USACE, Savannah District, will provide comments concerning the PAR to GADOT/FHWA or notification of need for additional time within 15 days of the workshop. GADOT will respond to comments within 30 days of receipt, unless additional time is requested. The USACE, Savannah District will review the GADOT response and determine if the project is ready for Phase II. This determination will be provided to the resource agencies and they will have 21 days to respond.

3.06 Joint Agency National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/404(b)(1) Workshop (Optional) and Selection of Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternatives (LEDPA): At least 5 days prior to this workshop, the USACE, Savannah District, will prepare a draft Section 404(b)(1) Evaluation and distribute it to the various agencies. At the workshop the draft evaluation will be discussed and revised if appropriate. At the end of the meeting the USACE, Savannah District, will determine the LEDPA, and request the GADOT to perform a field assessment of the functions and values of the affected waters and wetlands using appropriate methodology, if necessary. If, after sufficient time for review and comment, resource agencies are willing to approve the LEDPA, this workshop will not be necessary.

3.07 Compensatory Mitigation Workshop (Optional): A basic mitigation plan will be submitted at least 30 days prior to the workshop. This plan will contain those items listed in Enclosure 4. Coordination with resource agencies is required to determine whether a workshop is necessary. The workshop will be held at the request of any one agency.

3.08 Submittal of Final Report (permit application submitted): Upon completion of the workshop, the GADOT, with concurrence of the FHWA, will prepare the final report (application, Section 106 etc.) and submit it to the USACE, Savannah District, for appropriate distribution. Coordination under the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act will be completed in accordance with the JCP. In addition, under normal circumstances, mitigation plans will be finalized and submitted with the permit application.

4.00 PHASE II (PERMIT PROCESS)

4.01 This phase generally consists of the steps shown on the flow chart for Phase II (Enclosure 5). (Note that paragraph numbers are listed in the corresponding boxes of the flow chart.) The schedule of Phase II activities will be developed jointly between the USACE, Savannah District, and the GADOT/FHWA, as necessary.

4.02 The USACE, Savannah District, Reviews Application and Conducts Detailed Investigation of Phase II Alternatives: This evaluation will generally be performed by the USACE, Savannah District, alone or at a meeting with the GADOT Project Manager. A list of items required for a complete application is listed on Enclosure 6. The USACE, Savannah District, determines if the application is complete. If not, the GADOT will provide additional information in a timely fashion.

4.03 The GADOT Publishes NEPA Public Hearing Notices, the USACE, Savannah District, Issues Joint Public Notice (JPN) and Joint Public Hearing Held (if applicable): Comment period begins. Public hearing is held and comments are analyzed.

4.04 Minimization: The USACE, Savannah District, will perform a final detailed analysis of the LEDPA to determine any potential steps to minimize the impacts of the project. The USACE, Savannah District, prepares draft 404(B)(1) document.

4.05 Development or Finalization of Mitigation Plan: This stage officially would not begin until all of the above steps have been completed. However, to save time the GADOT generally submits a proposed mitigation plan with their application. In either case the mitigation plan will be reviewed or developed at this stage with a goal of having on-site or at least within watershed in-kind replacement of wetland and intermittent/perennial stream functions and values affected. In most cases, site analysis, a three parameter preliminary design, a plan to insure long term ownership and protection, and a monitoring plan will be required before a permit decision is made by the USACE, Savannah District. The ratio of mitigation will be determined based on the functions and value information collected at the project site and similar assessments that will be required at the mitigation site. The assessment at the mitigation site will indicate the current value and functions and the amount of increase in these parameters that would be achieved by each mitigation measure.

4.06 Comment Period Ends/Comments Sent to GADOT/FHWA and Response Received: This process shall be completed as quickly as possible. Both the USACE, Savannah District, and the GADOT will use all practicable measures to limit the time required for this coordination. The USACE, Savannah District, will normally provide all comments to the GADOT within 5 days of the close of comment period and the GADOT will respond within 10 days of receipt.

4.07 Issue Resolution Meeting: In some cases such a meeting may be necessary in order to comply with existing MOA's the USACE, Savannah District, has with the FWS, EPA, and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). This meeting will be held at least 15 days prior to the USACE, Savannah District, making a permit decision.

4.08 LEDPA Completed, the USACE, Savannah District, Adopts the GADOT/FHWA Approved Environmental Document or Prepares Environmental Document and Statement of Findings: For each permit decision the USACE, Savannah District, must prepare or will adopt FHWA’S Environmental Document and prepare and issue a Statement of Findings (SOF).

4.09 The USACE, Savannah District, Decision: Decision is made to either issue or deny permit.

4.10 Completion and Submittal of All Information Required by Conditions of Permit: This shall be done by GADOT prior to any construction or land clearing on the project site. No such activities will begin until this information is approved by the USACE, Savannah District, and all required coordination is completed.

4.11 Notification of Completion of Work: GADOT is to notify the USACE, Savannah District, upon completion of work. At that time the USACE, Savannah District, will schedule a compliance inspection of the project and mitigation site, if appropriate.

5.00 OTHER PROCEDURES:

5.01 New Guidance: These procedures are subject to change subsequent to the receipt of any additional national guidance or changes in Federal/State laws on this issue.

5.02 Annual Review: Within one year of issuance, the agencies will review these procedures for adequacy, applicability and/or acceptability. Any proposed modifications, additions or deletions to these procedures will be considered by the agencies, and upon consensus, necessary changes will be made.

5.03 Expiration: These procedures shall remain in effect until written notification by the party desiring to withdraw, or by mutual consent of all parties. Nothing in this guidance is intended to diminish, modify, or otherwise affect the statutory or regulatory authorities of the agencies involved.



  US Army Corps of Engineers
By: ______________________________________________  Date:___________
Roger A. Gerber
Colonel, US Army
District Engineer
 
Georgia Department of Transportation
By: ______________________________________________  Date:___________
J. Tom Coleman
Commissioner
 
Federal Highway Administration
By: ______________________________________________  Date:___________
Robert M. Callan, P.E.
Division Administrator


Agency Contacts for GADOT Projects

Georgia Department of Transportation
Office of Environment/Location
Attention: Lisa Westberry
3993 Aviation Circle
Atlanta, Georgia 30336-1593

(404) 699-4433
(404) 699-4440 (FAX)


Federal Highway Administration *
61 Forsyth Street, SW.
Suite 17T100
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Main Office Phone (404) 562-3630
(404) 562-3703 (FAX)

Katy Allen
(404) 562-3904
Jennifer Giersch
(404) 562-3653


US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Regulatory Branch *

Northern Section
Attn: Mary Dills
1590 Adamson Parkway
Morrow, Georgia 30260

(678) 422-2722
(678) 422-2734 (FAX)

Southern Section
Attn: Mary Moffat
100 W. Oglethorpe Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31401-3640

(912) 652-5349
(912) 652-5995 (FAX)


US Fish and Wildlife Service *

North Georgia Office
Attn: John Stremple
247 South Milledge Avenue
Athens, Georgia 30605

(706) 613-9493, ext. 34
(706) 613-6059 (FAX)

Coastal Sub Office
Attn: (vacant)
4270 Norwich Street
Brunswick, Georgia 31520

(912) 265-9336
(912) 265-1061 (FAX)


Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV
Wetlands Protection Section
Attn: Robert Lord
61 Forsyth Street, SW.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3104

(404) 562-9408
(404) 562-9343 (FAX)


NOAA, National Marine Fisheries
Attn: David Rackley
Habitat Conservation Division
219 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29412-9110

(843) 762-8574
(843) 762-8700 (FAX)


Environmental Protection Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Keith Parsons
Water Protection Branch
4220 International Parkway, Suite 101
Atlanta, Georgia 30354

(404) 675-1631
(404)675-6245 (FAX)

* Refer to attached state maps for areas handled by each.

Enclosure 1


Items Generally Required for a Practicable Alternative Report Package

  1. A Practicable Alternatives Report (PAR) which indicates why any of the alternatives are not practicable (available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes) or should be eliminated to avoid environmental impacts.
  2. A map and aerial layouts of all reasonable project alternatives. The information for the overlays should be generated using existing information, aerials, National Wetland Inventory maps, and soil maps. The following information should be included:
    1. Wetlands and other waters of the US will be shown on blue-lines for all alternatives.
    2. The blue-lines will be overlain with an environmental constraints map(s) that indicates the location of any known protected species or critical habitat, archaeological sites, wildlife habitat, hazardous waste sites, etc. (Normally detailed endangered species, and cultural surveys will only be required for the proposed alternatives. However, at least cursory surveys will be required at each alternative site.)
    3. Blue-lines should also indicate dwellings and/or businesses, which would have to be relocated by each alternative.
  3. Description of habitat along the project corridor. Photographs will be provided as warranted, to compliment and support the descriptions. The description should include an identification of environmentally sensitive areas including, but not limited to, 303d streams, trout streams, critical resource waters, tidal marsh, tidal forested wetlands, sandhill seeps, groundwater discharge areas and special interest areas such as the Okefenokee Swamp.

Enclosure 3


Items Required for a Basic Mitigation Plan

  1. Description of the mitigation area. Identify the physiographic province, river basin, watershed, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) hydrologic unit.
  2. Provide the following maps with the mitigation site marked:
    1. USGS topographic quad map with a named feature for reference and name of quad.
    2. Road map or county map with clearly legible road numbers or names.
    3. Map of mitigation area with acreage marked, access roads, and elevations, if possible.
    4. Soil map, if available.
  3. Ownership of the site and status of land exchange/control by the GADOT. Include a proposal for site protection/control. Indicate current zoning for the site and adjoining properties.
  4. Present use of the mitigation area.
    1. Include land use, non-native vegetation, pipelines, power lines, roads, distance and location of nearest structures.
    2. Land use on adjacent properties - present and proposed.
  5. Jurisdictional areas present on the site.
    1. Describe the existing wetland functions and values. Show existing wetland areas.
    2. For stream mitigation, include channel descriptions: slope, hydrology, channel morphology as compared to a normal reach of the stream.
  6. Estimate the total proposed acreage linear footage of each type of mitigation proposed.
  7. Description of goals and objectives for the mitigation site.
  8. Description of the conceptual site preparation proposal. Include: grading; hydrologic changes; water control structures; soil amendments and herbicides for competition control; erosion control; bank stabilization; and site access control.
  9. Description of the conceptual planting plan.

Enclosure 4


Items Required for a Complete Application

(All of the following should be supplied on 8 1/2" by 11" paper in legible, reproducible condition.)

  1. Completed application form.
    1. Accurate project description.
    2. Mitigation proposal.
    3. Need and Purpose Statement. (Identify any parts of the project which are being permitted separately, i.e., CEs, etc.)
    4. Alternatives Analysis (unless project has undergone PAR review).
    5. Documentation that application has been submitted to EPD for 401 certification.
  2. Project maps showing wetland areas and current proposed alignment. Also provide one or more typical sections, as appropriate.
  3. Map of location of mitigation site(s).
  4. Dates of the latest ecology reports, mitigation plans and any other reports. Also include the date(s) of any PAR meeting(s).
  5. Pressure sensitive labels with names and addresses of adjacent property owners (to the USACE, Savannah District, only).
  6. Environmental Assessment or Environmental Effects Report, as applicable, if available. Also provide address and phone number of the local GADOT office that will also be provided a copy and where the public can also view the document.
  7. A description of actions taken in order to minimize impacts to waters of the US.

Enclosure 6

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