Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery
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1 Practice: Porous Baffles
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Stormwater, The Clean Water Act, & Section 404
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina State University
Contact: Rich McLaughlin
Title: Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Soil Science
Email: rich_mclaughlin@ncsu.edu
Phone: 919-515-7306
Description: Sediment traps and basins are commonly used on construction sites, but they may be relatively ineffective due to flow patterns that can occur. The use of porous baffles has been found to greatly improve sediment capture by reducing short-circuiting or bypass flow, and turbulence. Combined with a surface outlet, basins can capture >90% of incoming sediment. Typically made of 700 g m2 coir matting and installed to ensure all flow passes through them.
Last Updated: March 12, 2014
2 Practice: Roadside Environmental Unit Head
Categories: Project Development
Stormwater, The Clean Water Act, & Section 404
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina Department of Transportation
Contact: Don Lee
Title: Signing Section
Email: dlee@ncdot.gov
Phone: (919) 733-2920
Description: The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has its own sediment and erosion control program as delegated by the North Carolina Sedimentation Control Committee and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It delegates NCDOT the authority to self-regulate its own program including preparation, review, and approval of sediment and erosion control plans for land-disturbing activities associated with highway construction and maintenance. Also included within this delegation is a self-monitoring program to: 1)insure department compliance with program requirements, 2)evaluate and rate levels of department compliance with program requirements, and 3)assess and rate levels of field implementation. This delegation expedites the plan preparation process and prevents delays that would occur if the Department had to obtain erosion control plan approval for each individual project from DENR. In addition the program clearly defines the role of construction personnel in field implementation of the program.

For more information concerning the Delegated Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program please see:
http://www.ncdot.org/doh/operations/dp_chief_eng/roadside/soil_water/erosion_control/
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
3 Practice: North Carolina’s Ecosystem Enhancement Program
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
GIS and Spatial Data
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Coordination
Mitigation
Watersheds & Wetlands
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina Department of Transportation
Contact: Michael Ellison
Title: EEP Director
Email: Michael.Ellison@ncdenr.gov
Phone: 919-707-8414
Description: In July 2003, North Carolina established the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program, a partnership between the NCDOT, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The program is designed to restore, enhance, preserve and protect the functions associated with wetlands, streams and riparian areas, including but not limited to those necessary for the restoration, maintenance and protection of water quality and riparian habitats throughout North Carolina. The EEP facilitates responsible economic growth while providing high-quality ecosystem enhancement to offset impacts from development, and many states can say the same. The difference is that the EEP's mitigation program addresses environmental impacts proactively, not reactively. Funds are invested in environmental protection ahead of the date the impact will occur. This basic foundation of the EEP allows North Carolina to address the need for economic development while simultaneously protecting and enhancing the environment, an issue germane to every state in the nation. For more information on the EEP visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/eep.
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
4 Practice: Interagency Leadership Team
Categories: Interagency Coordination
Linking Planning and NEPA
State: North Carolina
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NC Division
Contact: Donnie Brew
Title: Environmental Program Coordinator
Email: donnie.brew@dot.gov
Phone: 919-747-7017
Description: The North Carolina Interagency Leadership Team (ILT) came together in 2004 to take an interdisciplinary approach to transportation planning that involves all stakeholders and balances the preservation of scenic and historic resources, the natural environment, and community values with the mobility, economic and safety needs of citizens. This approach attempts to avoid the indecision and lengthy studies that often occur in the project delivery process. The ILT serves its member agencies by addressing new areas for improvement to relevant policies, regulations, and laws, creating an outlet for representatives to provide feedback on new measures, and monitoring the progress of new initiatives. Members of the ILT include the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Highway Administration, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

For additional information, please follow the link provided in Related Documentation.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=https://connect.ncdot.gov/municipalities/interagencyleadership/Pages/default.aspx
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
5 Practice: Best Management Practices Manual for Construction and Maintenance
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Indirect and Cumulative Impacts
Interagency Coordination
Project Development
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina Department of Transportation
Contact: Ron Hancock
Title:
Email: rhancock@ncdot.gov
Phone: 919-707-2400
Description: The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is responsible for construction and maintenance of 76,000 miles of state maintained highway facilities throughout North Carolina. With the enhancement of existing facilities and the construction of new routes, impacts to natural resources are unavoidable. Every unit within NCDOT evaluates numerous aspects of highway projects with respect to their individual area of responsibility to guarantee public safety and ensure that impacts to our natural resources are avoided or minimized to the maximum extent practical. In an effort to compile the most current Best Management Practices (BMPs) for construction and maintenance activities an interagency team compiled a field guide. The manual identifies ideal practices and provides guidance to ensure that the environment is protected during project construction. The guide book is designed for DOT employees and contractors, and includes information for NCDOT to perform essential activities while minimizing their impacts on jurisdictional areas during normal construction, maintenance, and emergency repairs. For more information on the BMPs Manual for Construction and Maintenance please see:http://www.ncdot.gov/doh/operations/dp_chief_eng/roadside/fieldops/links/
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
6 Practice: North Carolina Section 106 Concurrence Meetings
Categories: Historical & Archeological Preservation
Interagency Coordination
Public Involvement
State: North Carolina
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NC Division
Contact: Donnie Brew
Title: Environmental Program Coordinator
Email: donnie.brew@dot.gov
Phone: 919-747-7017
Description: As part of Section 106 compliance, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) must establish eligibility for properties to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the effect of a project on eligible properties. The State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) must then be consulted on specific eligibility/effects determinations.

NCDOT, the North Carolina SHPO and FHWA North Carolina Division Office have established bi-monthly "concurrence" meetings. These meetings are scheduled for an entire year at a time. All parties collaboratively review eligibility/effects calls by NCDOT with the SHPO and typically reach concurrence during the meetings.

This practice provides a forum for collaboratively achieving concurrence on eligibility/effects: initial differences of opinion can be discussed and worked out. It also provides a measure of predictability for NCDOT scheduling purposes: rather than having to set up meetings on a project-by-project basis, the meetings' dates are already established. Thus, it is very easy to get on an agenda and the maximum wait time is two weeks.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
7 Practice: Indirect and Cumulative Impact Guidance and Training Program
Category: Indirect and Cumulative Impacts
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina Department of Transportation
Contact: Greg Thorpe
Title: Project Development and Environmental Analysis
Email: gthorpe@ncdot.gov
Phone: 919-733-3141
Description: The North Carolina Department of Transportation has developed a guidance document and training program addressing project completion while minimizing damage to the human and natural environment. The "Guidance for Assessing Indirect and Cumulative Impacts (ICIs) of Transportation Projects in North Carolina" is centered on an eight-step assessment supported by an innovative integration of techniques from multiple disciplines. The techniques described in the guidance document are novel in their application to the problems of delineating spatial and temporal study boundaries; stressing both qualitative and quantitative analyses; identifying responsibilities for mitigation; and laying out a process for assessing the secondary and cumulative impacts of transportation projects. The assessment of induced growth, cumulative actions, and encroachment effects, are essential to ensure timely and environmentally sound delivery of transportation projects.
For more information on the Indirect and Cumulative Impact Guidance and Training Program please see:
http://www.ncdot.org/doh/preconstruct/pe/NEU/NEUProcedures/ICI.html
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
8 Practice: Purpose and Need Guidance Training
Categories: Environmental (NEPA) Documentation
Project Development
State: North Carolina
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NC Division
Contact: Donnie Brew
Title: Environmental Program Coordinator
Email: donnie.brew@dot.gov
Phone: 919-747-7017
Description: In 2000, the North Carolina Department of Transportation developed “Purpose and Need Guidelines”. Since then, a multi-agency team assembled to develop a training module that may be used as the primary source of information for establishing Purpose and Need. Released in February 2009, this Purpose and Need Guidance Training explains the importance of the Purpose and Need section of an Environmental Impact Statement, provides the needed steps, templates, and data to develop a Purpose and Need section and puts forth examples of Purpose and Need sections.

Last Updated: March 10, 2014
9 Practice: North Carolina State University Study Finds Better Way to Protect Streams from Construction Runoff
Categories: General
Indirect and Cumulative Impacts
Mitigation
Stormwater, The Clean Water Act, & Section 404
Watersheds & Wetlands
State: North Carolina
Organization: North Carolina State University
Contact: Rich McLaughlin
Title: Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Soil Science
Email: rich_mclaughlin@ncsu.edu
Phone: 919-515-7306
Description: Researchers at North Carolina State University have found an exponentially better way to protect streams and lakes from the muddy runoff associated with stormwater around road and other construction projects. Drs. Rich McLaughlin, Scott King, and Greg Jennings compared natural fiber check dams (FCDs) enhanced with polyacrylamide (PAM) to traditional best management practices (BMPs) around construction sites. FCDs use natural fibers as a type of dam to slow the flow of water in ditches. When these natural fibers are enhanced with PAM, a chemical that causes sediment to clump together, they create a dam that prevents almost all sediment from escaping into local bodies of water. FCDs therefore keep local streams cleaner and help reduce the amount of sediment loss from construction sites. The researchers measured the "muddiness" of stormwater runoff and the amount of sediment lost from construction sites in order to determine whether FCDs with PAM were superior to traditional BMPs. The “muddiness” measure showed that FCDs with PAM filter out 100 times more mud from stormwater runoff than BMPs. The study also found that after a storm, sites that used standard BMPs lost an average of 944 pounds of sediment compared with only 1.8 pounds of sediment lost at sites utilizing FCDs with PAM. FCDs with PAM are lower or comparable in cost to current BMPs, yet much more effective at keeping streams and lakes free of runoff sediment that pollutes water and harms aquatic life. North Carolina's Department of Transportation is in the process of making FCDs with PAM the new best management practice around road and construction sites. Dr. McLaughlin's group is also training engineers and installers around the state and nationally in the use of this system.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
10 Practice: North Carolina Screening for Presence/Absence of Federally listed freshwater Mussel
Category: Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: North Carolina
Organization: Federal Highway Administration NC Division
Contact: Donnie Brew
Title: Environmental Program Coordinator
Email: donnie.brew@dot.gov
Phone: 919-747-7017
Description: A permit is required to survey (establish presence/absence) for federally-listed freshwater mussels as part of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance. In North Carolina, there is an imbalance between the number of permitted individuals (supply) to accommodate the large number of North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) projects (demand).

NCDOT has begun "screening for freshwater mussels. Screening involves a qualified (but not permitted) biologist establishing presence/absence of mussels. The biologist does not distinguish between Federally-listed species and non-Federally-listed species. If no mussels of any type are found, then a full mussel survey performed by a permitted individual is not necessary. If mussels of any type are found, then a full mussel survey by a permitted individual is required.

Since implementing this practice, NCDOT found that by screening first, 74% of the projects that would have required full surveys now do not. This results in lower costs, better utilization of resources and quicker ESA compliance for NCDOT.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
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