Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery
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1 Practice: US 6 Wildlife Coordination Committee
Categories: Collaborative Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution
Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
General
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Coordination
Mitigation
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Utah
Organization: Utah Department of Transportation
Contact: Rebecka Stromness
Title: Environmental Division
Email: rstromness@utah.gov
Phone:
Description: In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for 127 miles of planned roadway improvements along US 6. Improvements to US 6 are planned to occur over a 20-year period as funding becomes available for individual roadway projects. Wildlife mitigation efforts will occur project by project until the entire corridor is completed. To help develop these mitigation measures on a project-level basis, a Wildlife Coordination Committee (the Committee) was established. The Committee is able to keep a broad perspective of the entire US 6 corridor while developing individual project mitigation to benefit the ecosystem as a whole.

The Committee comprises individuals from FHWA, UDOT, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Uinta National Forest Service (USFS), and Utah State University (USU). The Committee fosters information sharing and collaboration. It is also charged with the efficient administration of funds set aside for impacts to biological resources.

Since 2005, the Committee has accomplished several wildlife mitigation efforts along the US 6 corridor. They have worked to explore wildlife mitigation options; developed mitigation proposals; and determined the priority of and locations for wildlife crossings, fencing, and escape ramps. As a result of their efforts, there are eight implemented projects that address wildlife needs at a large scale to accommodate habitat linkages and migrations. Collaboration between the participating agencies, as encouraged by the Committee, continues on other unrelated projects.

In 2008, UDOT funded a research project with USU to determine the most effective wildlife crossing structures. This research provides the Committee with the ability to base its decisions on scientific data. In coordination with the Committee, UDOT continues to update standard drawings for escape ramps and wildlife fencing.

The Committee continues to be a successful partner in providing input for the roadway projects along US 6. Scientific research and the installation of new wildlife crossings have resulted in fewer vehicle-wildlife collisions. The Committee is also gaining additional support from wildlife organizations.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
2 Practice: Strategies and Approaches for Effectively Moving Complex Environmental Documents through the EIS Process: A Peer Exchange Report
Categories: Collaborative Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution
Environmental (NEPA) Documentation
Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Interagency Coordination
Public Involvement
State: Utah
Organization: Utah Department of Transportation
Contact: Teri Anne Newell
Title: Project Manager
Email: tnewell@utah.gov
Phone: (801) 685-2917
Description: In September of 2008, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and FHWA Florida Division Office organized a peer exchange to share strategies and approaches for effectively moving complex and/or controversial projects through the EIS process. State DOTs and FHWA Division Offices participating in the Peer Exchange included Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Utah, and Florida.

Participants from each invited State gave presentations on one or two transportation projects in their State that had gone through the environmental review process relatively quickly, highlighting challenges encountered, methods used to successfully and efficiently navigate the EIS process, and lessons learned from their experiences. While each project had its own unique set of circumstances, a number of common tools and techniques were identified from all the presentations that had been utilized to streamline the EIS process. As the discussion evolved, participants noted that the tools and techniques could be grouped into three main categories for navigating the environmental review process efficiently and effectively: communication, collaboration, and commitment.

Communication: Good communication is a key to effective public involvement that can help generate support for a transportation project, or address public concerns and minimize opposition to a controversial project. Effective public involvement means that an agency listens and responds to all individuals and groups with issues and concerns about the project.

Collaboration: Working cooperatively with project stakeholders creates an atmosphere of partnership that may prove valuable in advancing the environmental review process. Including agencies early and often throughout the process enables issues to be identified and addressed early, thereby minimizing project delays. Communicating with agencies throughout the process reduces the likelihood that reviewing agencies will be surprised by any information or details in the actual environmental document, leading to a more efficient review.

Commitment: Demonstrated agency commitment to the State's priority projects and project schedules provides the impetus for moving those projects forward in a timely manner. Establishing consistency in how the environmental review process is managed and in the quality of information provided helps to build trust and bolster a DOT’s credibility with agencies and the public.

While moving complex documents through the environmental review process is a challenge, state DOTs are employing innovative and creative solutions to streamline the effort. In doing so, they have learned that conducting an environmental review in a collaborative and transparent manner not only leads to faster completion of the process but, perhaps more importantly, results in the delivery of better-quality projects—ones that fulfill communities' transportation needs while maintaining protection of environmental resources.

The report can be accessed at: http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/eisdocs.asp.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
3 Practice: Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems in Utah's Pioneer Crossing Bridge
Category: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
State: Utah
Organization: Federal Highway Administration, Utah Division
Contact: Russel Robertson
Title: Project Delivery Team Leader
Email: Russel.Robertson@fhwa.dot.gov
Phone: (801)-955-3512
Description: The Pioneer Crossing Bridge along I-15 in Utah utilizes prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES), which offers major time savings, cost savings, safety advantages, and convenience for travelers. The use of PBES solves many construction challenges through this innovative practice.
Related Documentation: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/technology/bridges/casestudies.cfm
Last Updated: December 17, 2012
4 Practice: RoadVeg
Category: GIS and Spatial Data
State: Utah
Organization: Utah Department of Transportation
Contact: Ira Bickford
Title:
Email: ibickford@utah.gov
Phone: 801-965-4119
Description: UDOT has included invasive species in its decision-making process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has documented potential environmental impacts and listed appropriate best management practices as mitigation commitments for all projects that have the potential to spread or introduce listed weeds. With UDOT's ROADVEG system, which uses GIS to inventory invasive plants along with other transportation-related data, vegetation management professionals can track the spread of invasive plant species or monitor the progress of mitigation strategies. Via an ArcView GIS display, users are able to query and display various vegetational attributes as needed. To date, about 1,360 linear miles of Utah roadways have been field-assessed and scored. As funding becomes available, the remainder of the state's major roadways will be inventoried.
Related Documentation: http://www.udot.utah.gov/index.php/m=c/tid=271
Last Updated: March 30, 2007
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