Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Successes in Stewardship
Monthly Newsletter
October 2006

More Training Opportunities Available to Transportation and Environmental Professionals

Photo of an FHWA training in progress showing an instructor in front of a classroom of students.
FHWA's training courses are targeted towards transportation professionals from a range of backgrounds.

The effective delivery of an environmentally sensitive transportation program depends on the knowledge and expertise of transportation and environmental professionals, whether they work for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), resource agencies, or the consulting industry. The FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review works to provide all of these stakeholders with access to educational resources that meet their current and future multidisciplinary professional development needs.

In particular, FHWA supports the development and delivery of several training courses targeting components of environmental review as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These courses — designed for professionals from a range of backgrounds whose work interfaces with transportation, the environment, and NEPA compliance — play an important role in maintaining a professional workforce that can collaboratively address the variety of challenges inherent in the NEPA process.

This month, Successes in Stewardship highlights four of FHWA's recent and upcoming NEPA-related training opportunities:

  • Web-based Introduction to NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking
  • The National Highway Institute's (NHI) Section 106 Course
  • FHWA Resource Center's Indirect and Cumulative Impacts Course
  • Seminar on Transportation Decisionmaking and Navigating the NEPA Maze

New Web-based Training Introduces Users to the NEPA Process

FHWA has developed a web-based tutorial that focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of basic NEPA principles and essential elements of the transportation decisionmaking process. The tutorial, Web-based Introduction to NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI-142052), covers the requirements of NEPA, as well as FHWA's regulations and guidance for NEPA implementation and project decisionmaking. Separate lessons in the tutorial address such topics as: purpose and need, alternatives development and analysis, impact analysis, public involvement, interagency coordination, mitigation, and documentation.

The tutorial offers a flexible, self-paced approach for delivering consistent information to a workforce dispersed across the nation. Although it is considered a "stand-alone" offering, the course is highly recommended as preparatory instruction to subsequent instructor-led training (for example, NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking, NHI-142005). Target audiences include staff from FHWA, State DOTs, Federal and State environmental resource agencies, local government, and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).

Participants can register online at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov. For additional information, contact Lamar Smith at Lamar.Smith@dot.gov.

Revised Workshop on Indirect and Cumulative Impacts Offers a More "Hands-on" Experience

FHWA's Headquarters and Resource Center, with input from several Division Offices, have updated FHWA's Indirect and Cumulative Impacts workshop. Designed to improve the capacity of the lead agency for developing indirect and cumulative impact analyses, the workshop provides an overview of scoping, analyzing, and documenting effects analyses as required under NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

A previous one-day course focused on developing a common terminology and describing how key terms are applied. Based on evaluations from the field, that course was revised into a three-day workshop with a more "hands-on" curriculum that offers the tools necessary to make better indirect and cumulative impacts decisions. Specific course topics include:

  • Analytic approaches to transportation-induced growth and development issues
  • Analytic approaches to social, economic, cultural, and natural resource issues
  • Requirements for past effects, reasonably foreseeable actions, and the level of detail required in an analysis
  • Study methods and data requirements
  • Case law and court decisions regarding reasonableness, availability and reliability of data, uncertainty, and mitigation.

To learn more about the course, contact Kevin Moody at Kevin.Moody@fhwa.dot.gov.

New NHI Course Emphasizes Real-World Approaches to Section 106 Issues

The current regulation implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) encourages close coordination between Section 106 activities and NEPA requirements, as well as consultation with Federally recognized Native American Tribes, local communities, and the public. To help transportation professionals meet the requirements of Section 106, NHI — in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and representatives from State DOTs — has developed a new three-day course, Beyond Compliance: Historic Preservation in Transportation Project Development (FHWA-NHI-142049).

The course, piloted in fall 2005 in St. Paul, Minnesota, focuses on the fundamentals of Section 106 in the context of NEPA and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. It provides techniques for coordinating transportation planning, project development, and compliance with these laws to enable better project decisions, emphasizes practical approaches for real-world situations, and stresses the importance of balancing stewardship and project delivery. The course, which has been presented in Mississippi and North Carolina, is being offered in October in Arizona and Tennessee, and will be offered in Colorado in December.

Audiences interested in hosting, enrolling, or learning more about the course should visit www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov or contact MaryAnn Naber at MaryAnn.Naber@dot.gov.

Seminar on Navigating the NEPA Maze Targets Experienced Practitioners

FHWA is currently developing a three-day, instructor-led course on advanced NEPA topics. A Seminar on Transportation Decisionmaking: Navigating the NEPA Maze, designed for the more experienced NEPA practitioner, will examine the complexities of environmental decisionmaking. Those interested in registering for this course must have taken one of the prerequisites: FHWA's NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI-142005) or the Web-based Introduction to NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking (NHI-142052). A pilot offering of this advanced course is expected in early 2007. For more information contact Lamar Smith at Lamar.Smith@dot.gov.

Improve the Performance of Your Organization with Appropriate Training

Whatever the level of knowledge and expertise, professionals and the organizations in which they work can benefit from the right training. Check out the array of courses available to you and your organization at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov and www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/environment/courses.cfm.

Contact Information

Lamar Smith
FHWA Office of Project Development
and Environmental Review
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 202-366-8994
Lamar.Smith@dot.gov

Look What's New!

  • The FHWA Project Development and Environmental Review Office, NatureServe and Defenders of Wildlife are hosting workshops to improve linkages between conservation and transportation planning. The next workshop will take place in Phoenix, Arizona in early November. For more information on the workshop, visit the workshop website.
  • Have questions or comments about the FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review's website? Submit feedback via the website feedback page.

"Successes in Stewardship" is a Federal Highway Administration newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining and stewardship practices from around the country. To subscribe, visit the Registration Site, or call 617-494-3137.
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