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State="Nebraska"; Category=" all"; Collapse All
1 Practice: Nebraska DOR Partnership on Watershed Restoration
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Coordination
Mitigation
Watersheds & Wetlands
State: Nebraska
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NE Division
Contact: Ed Kosola
Title: Realty / Env. Officer
Email: edward.kosola@fhwa.dot.gov
Phone: 402-237-5973
Description: Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) teamed up with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Ducks Unlimited, and the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund to restore chutes and wetlands from converted cropland as added habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The project gave NDOR 173.5 acres of high quality wetland mitigation credits to offset unavoidable wetland impacts on future projects, while helping achieve interagency restoration goals along the Missouri River at a 347-acre site adjacent to the Indian Cave State Park.

The public-private effort to restore the area created the Lincoln Bend Wetland Bank. The Lincoln Bend Bank is providing a variety of habitat in temporary, seasonal, and semi-permanent wetlands, along with additional storage for Missouri River floodwaters. As the wetlands can filter particulates and can transform nitrates and atrazine, water quality improvements are anticipated as well. As opportunities arise to purchase adjacent properties, NDOR’s partners will restore hydrology and vegetation on those sites as well. In the meantime, the wetland bank benefits the partners and the public, and provides a larger, more ecologically- sustainable site than any of the partners could have accomplished alone.

This wetland mitigation bank is one of 16 active NDOR banks in various stages of development across Nebraska. The bank sites offer a diverse wetland mosaic that will offset present and future wetland impacts. In most cases, the wetland bank acres are more ecologically diverse and have higher functioning values than are the impacted wetland areas, and thus allow for a streamlined approach to wetland mitigation for projects in the bank’s service area. Acres in excess of NDOR’s presently identified project needs serve a positive benefit to the environment for some time before they become needed for credits toward future project impacts.

Last Updated: November 5, 2009
2 Practice: Nebraska Merged NEPA/404 process and NDOR Local Operating Procedures
Categories: Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Interagency Coordination
Process/NEPA
State: Nebraska
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NE Division
Contact: Ed Kosola
Title: Realty / Env. Officer
Email: edward.kosola@fhwa.dot.gov
Phone: 402-237-5973
Description: In April 2001, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Nebraska Division announced new local operating procedures for Nebraska's NEPA/Section 404 merger agreement. The agreement integrates the environmental review processes of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting process to expedite the environmental review process for Federal aid projects. The cooperating agencies under the new agreement include the FHWA Nebraska Division, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR). Among other changes to the original 1995 NEPA/404 merger agreement, Nebraska's new agreement allows for the establishment of specific time limits for project reviews and comment periods at specific steps in the development of environmental documents. The involved agencies are currently revising concurrence points in the development of Environmental Impact Statements, including points at purpose and need, alternatives to carry forward, impacts, and mitigation.

In addition, NDOR has created Local Operating Procedures for integrating the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The merged NEPA and the 404 permit processes will help foster coordinated NEPA environmental documents and 404 permit applications. This will minimize the risk of environmental conflicts and redundant reevaluations during the 404 permit process. Other benefits of the Local Operating Procedures include:
(1) outline a process for merging the elements of the NEPA and Section 404 permitting processes;
(2) build project consensus among agencies;
(3) assure environmentally sound and cost effective development of major Federal-aid highway projects;
(4) achieve formal concurrence at key stages in project development; and
(5) provide early identification of environmental resources, potential impacts to each, and a reasonable range of project alternatives that addresses NEPA and Section 404 requirements.
Last Updated: March 1, 2005
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