Environmental Review Toolkit
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1 Practice: Assessment of Colorado Department of Transportation Rest Areas for Sustainability Improvements and Highway Corridors and Facilities for Alternative Energy Use
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Sustainability
State: Colorado
Organization: CDOT, DTD, Research Branch
Contact: Bryan Roeder
Title: Environmental Research Manager
Email: Bryan.Roeder@state.co.us
Phone: 303-512-4420
Description: The research project focused on two sustainability based elements associated with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Maintenance operations, namely rest areas and right-of-way (ROW) utilization. For the first element, a sustainability assessment was performed on selected rest areas in the areas of sustainable design and operations. Assessment criteria and scoring criteria developed by the Colorado State University-Pueblo Team focused on the following areas: existing site conditions, materials recycling and reuse, existing environment, air quality, water quality/usage, energy, and public/motorist/trucking outreach and services. Rest area carbon footprints were calculated and carbon reduction strategies developed primarily for long term idling trucks. Cost-effective sustainable recommendations were provided that focused on efficient use and consumption of natural resources. A second element of the study evaluated the potential use of CDOT ROW for alternative energy applications, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower sources. Total potential for energy production was calculated for CDOT Regions.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/research/pdfs/2011/restareas/view
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
2 Practice: Investigation into Effective Traffic Noise Abatement Design Solutions for Mountain Corridors Research
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Mitigation
Noise
State: Colorado
Organization: CDOT, DTD, Research Branch
Contact: Bryan Roeder
Title: Environmental Research Manager
Email: Bryan.Roeder@state.co.us
Phone: 303-512-4420
Description: Traffic noise abatement in mountain corridors can be difficult because traditional roadside barriers may be ineffective due to topography or may not fit the setting. This study examined current best practices from around the world to gather concepts for mitigating traffic noise in mountain corridors in Colorado. A literature review of prospective noise abatement actions found that noise barriers are the most effective direct noise abatement measure, although quieter pavements could have an important supporting role. The literature review was followed by computerized traffic noise modeling of promising candidate barrier concepts. Several noise barriers were evaluated through modeling at two areas along the I-70 corridor using the Nord2000 Road prediction method. Each of the barriers was found to be effective in some or many situations; the largest, most imposing barrier (galleries) showed the most potential for reducing traffic noise at locations above the elevation of the highway. Continued use of noise barriers as a primary abatement mechanism was recommended. Consideration of quieter default pavement types was recommended to lower general traffic noise levels in support of environmental stewardship goals.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/research/pdfs/2013/mountain.pdf/view
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
3 Practice: Tire-Pavement and Environmental Traffic Noise Research Study
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Mitigation
Noise
Sustainability
State: Colorado
Organization: CDOT, DTD, Research Branch
Contact: Bryan Roeder
Title: Environmental Research Manager
Email: Bryan.Roeder@state.co.us
Phone: 303-512-4420
Description: This report completes a long-term study on tire-pavement noise to determine if particular pavement surface types and/or textures can be used as quieter pavements, and possibly be used to help satisfy FHWA noise mitigation requirements. Using consistent testing protocols, data was collected on highway traffic noise characteristics along with safety and durability aspects of the associated pavements.

The study addressed the noise generation/reduction characteristics of pavements as functions of pavement type, pavement texture, age, time, traffic loading, and distance away from the pavement; correlations between source measurements using on-board sound intensity (OBSI) and wayside measurements including both statistical pass-by (SPB) and time-averaged measurements; and the collection of data that can be used for validation and verification of the accuracy of the FHWA Traffic Noise Model (TNM) to use on future Colorado highway projects.

The most promising finding is that each of the common pavement types in use by CDOT has the potential for quieter variants. As a result, implementation of this study could include the identification and specification of the specific asphalt mixtures and concrete textures that result in quieter pavements without compromising on safety or durability.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/research/pdfs/2012/tirepavement.pdf/view
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
4 Practice: CDOT’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Manual
Categories: Environmental (NEPA) Documentation
Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
State: Colorado
Organization: CDOT, Division of Transportation Development (DTD), Environmental Programs Branch (EPB)
Contact: Vanessa Henderson
Title: Environmental Policy & Biological Resources Section Manager
Email: vanessa.henderson@state.co.us
Phone: 303-757-9878
Description: In 2007, CDOT released the first version of its NEPA Manual. The NEPA Manual is available exclusively online and is updated as needed (see the website for the current version).

The purpose of CDOT’s NEPA Manual is to provide guidance on preparing and processing documents that comply with NEPA and other applicable state and federal environmental laws affecting transportation projects in Colorado. The NEPA Manual provides references and links to related federal and state laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies. It also provides “best practice” examples for various compliance processes where appropriate. It is intended that CDOT staff, local agency representatives, and consultants use the NEPA Manual to implement NEPA in an effective manner, producing more consistent, improved environmental documents that decision-makers may use to make well-informed transportation decisions.

It has been established through CDOT Policy Directive 1904.0 that all divisions, regions, offices and branches of CDOT, as well as consulting firms performing contracting work, use the NEPA Manual as the method for maintaining compliance with NEPA standards. The NEPA Manual sets forth uniform criteria and procedures for determining the applicability of NEPA requirements to specific projects and establishes procedural requirements for assuring compliance.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/environmental/nepa-program/nepa-manual
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
5 Practice: Colorado's Regional Ecosystem Framework for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife
Categories: Context Sensitive Solutions
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Colorado
Organization: Colorado Department of Transportation
Contact: Peter Kozinski
Title: Region 1 Engineer
Email: Peter.Kozinski@dot.state.co.us
Phone: (970)-328-6385
Description: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) identified mitigation projects to improve wildlife connectivity for the Interstate 70 corridor, creating a Regional Ecosystem Framework for the corridor that incorporates wildlife-habitat and crossing data into a GIS database. CDOT engaged a broad stakeholder group as part of its larger I-70 Context Sensitive Solutions corridor analysis. This group discussed corridor projects and provided the project team with a forum for outreach and feedback on wildlife-connectivity data and tool applications.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/documents/reports/4W2536_Final_Report.pdf
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
6 Practice: Colorado Shortgrass Prairie Initiative
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Coordination
Performance Measures/Management
Roadside Vegetation & Invasive Species
Training & Certification
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Colorado
Organization: Colorado Department of Transportation
Contact: Jeff Peterson
Title: Threatened and Endangered Species Coordinator
Email: jeff.peterson@dot.state.co.us
Phone: 303-512-4959
Description: Roadside resource management is an important aspect of the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Shortgrass Prairie Initiative, a programmatic consultation and proactive avoidance, minimization, and mitigation effort covering 36 listed and non-listed species and associated habitats that could be impacted by CDOT’s maintenance and construction activities on Colorado’s eastern plains over the next 20 years. As part of the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the State Division of Wildlife, and CDOT have negotiated best management practices to be employed in the right-of-way (ROW) and are developing geographic information systems (GIS) and hard copy resources/maps that can be used by regional environmental and maintenance staff. Field training is being developed as well.

ROW management practices were designed with multiple and sometimes conflicting species needs in mind and with attention to the maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem processes—from protection and care of rare species to control of competitors, promotion of pollinators, protection of riparian areas and wetlands, and maintenance of culvert crossings. This builds upon CDOT’s earlier and ongoing effort to map patches of invasive, noxious weeds in the ROW via geographic positioning systems (GPS), and provide treatment toward their eventual elimination.

CDOT’s Shortgrass Prairie Initiative emerged from a shared vision that public transportation agencies can use funds for environmental mitigation more effectively while making a significant contribution to the recovery of declining ecosystems. The foundation of this initiative is the concept that by anticipating and mitigating for the long term impacts of the transportation system on shortgrass prairie ecosystem components and associated species now, both the costs of implementing future transportation improvements and the threats to the ecosystem can be reduced.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
7 Practice: Conservation Banking Protects Populations of the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse while Expediting Project Delivery
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Interagency Coordination
Mitigation
Roadside Vegetation & Invasive Species
Threatened & Endangered Species
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Colorado
Organization: Federal Highway Administration CO Division
Contact: Stephanie Gibson
Title: Environmental Program Manager
Email: Stephanie.Gibson@dot.gov
Phone: 720-963-3013
Description: In April 2003, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) signed agreements to implement a programmatic, ecosystem approach to streamline Section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act for transportation projects near Castle Rock, Colorado, that may impact the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei). The jumping mouse was listed as a threatened species in 1998 due to increasing rates of habitat degradation and isolation of small populations caused by increasing development and impacts from transportation projects. In 2001,CDOT built three check dams to restore a degraded riparian ecosystem in conjunction with several transportation projects affecting East Plum Creek. The check damns raised the water table enough to maintain the riparian vegetation necessary for quality jumping mouse habitat. In addition, CDOT and FHWA restored nearly one mile of East Plum Creek, the only riparian corridor where the jumping mouse is known to occur, as part of a bridge construction project. After receiving assurance from FWS that it would receive mitigation credits for future projects once certain criteria were achieved, CDOT installed six more check dams to create the Preble Mouse Habitat Conservation Bank. As a result, in 2002 increased numbers of jumping mouse were found in the mitigation bank – even during a time of drought. To go along with the 25-plus acre Habitat Conservation Bank, CDOT, FHWA, and FWS formalized a conservation banking agreement. Under the agreement, jumping mouse habitat will be maintained through additional wetland, riparian, and upland ecosystem restoration efforts and through noxious weed control. Colorado’s jumping mouse conservation banking efforts will accelerate project development in at least two watersheds, foster timely and predictable project development, and prevent project delays as Section 7 consultation will be conducted on a programmatic, and not project-by-project, basis. More area will be added to the Habitat Conservation Bank for use by other parties, and educational booklets, brochures, and signs are being prepared in order to describe the conservation bank so that other states may follow Colorado’s methods.

Additional Documents: PDFs/copreble2.pdf
Related Documentation: PDFs/copreble.pdf
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
8 Practice: Roadside Interpretation Program
Categories: Historic
Historical & Archeological Preservation
Interagency Coordination
Mitigation
Public Involvement
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Colorado
Organization: Colorado Historical Society
Contact: William J. Convery, Ph.D.
Title:
Email: william.convery@state.co.us
Phone: 303-866-5784
Description: In December 2002, the Colorado Historical Society’s Roadside Interpretation Program (RIP) – with assistance from the Colorado State Historical Fund, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and local communities and agencies – completed adding or updating roadside historical signs at 120 sites statewide. The signs correct inaccuracies of previous signs, address changes resulting from new archival finds and contemporary interpretations of historical subjects, and highlight the histories of previously neglected groups, such as woman and ethnic and racial minorities. The signs also include new information on topics like environmental history and the history of science. For example, the exhibit installed in Kiowa, a small town in southeastern Colorado, touches on the history of the town, the Native American Tribes that once inhabited the region, the significance of women to the develop of the state’s ranching industry, and the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. On each historical marker, RIP has also included information on local attractions, museums, and other points of interest, and a regional map. Several of the exhibits also include panels created with the cooperation of the Colorado Division of Wildlife to educate visitors on local “Watchable Wildlife.” To develop its signs, RIP worked with over 1,000 partners. As a result, RIP has become a model for interagency cooperation and roadside interpretation, receiving requests for information on its process and results from roadside interpretation programs in Alaska, New Hampshire, Indiana, and Texas.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
9 Practice: Prioritizing Potential Crossing Areas for a Programmatic Approach to Section 7 Consultation for the Canada Lynx – Colorado DOT
Categories: GIS and Spatial Data
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Coordination
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Colorado
Organization: Colorado Department of Transportation
Contact: Jeff Peterson
Title: Threatened and Endangered Species Coordinator
Email: jeff.peterson@dot.state.co.us
Phone: 303-512-4959
Description: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is developing a programmatic approach to Section 7 of the Federal Endangered Species Act for the wide-ranging Canada lynx. The Canada lynx was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in March 2000, following a state reintroduction program. Lynx range from Alaska south to Canada and into the snowy northern reaches of the United States, with significant gaps in connectivity, especially in the Southern Rockies where land is subject to more development pressure and intensive Federal management. Amendments to 29 National Forest Plans and four Bureau of Land Management (BLM) units where lynx are presumed present are in process, with attention to preserving habitat for the snowshoe hare (the lynx’ primary food source), limiting snowmobile access, and restoring habitat connectivity across highways and through ski areas. The USFWS has indicated that restoration of connectivity, especially across highways, will be necessary for delisting of the lynx. CDOT is funding Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling of snowshoe hare habitat (an indicator for the lynx), along with GIS identification of the types of habitat that exist between locations known to have been visited by released lynx. CDOT says known, preferred habitat characteristics for any species can be entered into their model to predict movement corridors. The model may be applied to other wide-ranging species, either listed or considered for listing. Parameters may include habitat edge effects, vegetation details, slope and aspect, vegetation patch size, home range, dispersal distance, and cost of movement through different terrain, to establish habitat rankings and comparative preference for different routes lynx may take through the landscape. After extrapolating the landscape indicators of lynx dispersal routes, CDOT plans to test the model on the most recent year’s lynx dispersal data. An interagency team of experts will discuss and judge parameters based on different sensitivities. As a next step, the habitat and connectivity model will be combined with an inventory of highway barriers—including jersey barriers, retaining walls, and steep slopes—to identify areas needing connectivity improvements. These priority areas will form the core of CDOT’s programmatic Section 7 consultation with USFWS for the Canada lynx, which the department hopes to complete by the end of 2003. CDOT investments in high priority connectivity improvement areas will fulfill Section 7 consultation requirements and provide conservation measures for transportation improvements elsewhere within the local region, where transportation improvements may increase speeds or traffic volumes and affect the lynx’ ability to disperse.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
10 Practice: Colorado Planning and Environmental Linkages Partnering Agreement
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
FHWA Project Information
Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Process/NEPA
Project Development
State: Colorado
Organization: Federal Highway Administration
Contact: Spencer Stevens
Title: Office of Planning Oversight & Stewardship
Email: Spencer.Stevens@fhwa.dot.gov
Phone: (202) 366-0149
Description: This Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Partnering Agreement (Agreement) has been developed fosters proactive working relationships among Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Regional Transportation District (RTD), other federal and state resource agencies, regional organizations/agencies and regulatory and land management agencies. The purpose of the Agreement is to encourage the use of a PEL approach in an effort to meet agency needs while expediting transportation project delivery and to formalize the working relationship among the Transportation Environmental Resource Council (TERC) members. PEL is an integrated approach to transportation decision-making that takes into account environmental, community, and economic goals. The PEL approach fosters cooperation throughout the project life cycle, from the planning stage through development, design, construction, and maintenance. This enables agencies using a PEL approach to link early planning efforts and project-specific goals and objectives through continued coordination. The signatories to this PEL Partnering Agreement are committed to performing meaningful and efficient environmental analyses that are pertinent to the decision-making process. The Agreement addresses the needs of the transportation agencies while supporting resource and regulatory agencies' and planning organizations' charters, goals and initiatives. This Agreement will lead to better informed and strategic transportation decisions, efficient and cost-effective solutions, and more transportation options that include multi-modal components when feasible.
Related Documentation: http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/integ/practices.asp
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
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