Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery
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State="Wyoming"; Category=" all"; Collapse All
1 Practice: Section 7 Endangered Species Agreement for Colorado River Drainages
Categories: Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Threatened & Endangered Species
Wetland Banking
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Wyoming
Organization: Federal Highway Administration WY Division
Contact: Lee Potter
Title: Assistant Division Administrator
Email: Lee.Potter@dot.gov
Phone: 307-771-2946
Description: The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) submits proposed annual projects to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) within the Colorado River Basin. FHWA and WYDOT utilize water in construction and maintenance activities, and provide FWS an annual estimates for the quantity needed based on previous years. At the end of the year, the transportation agencies will provide a summary list with each project and its associated water depletion. Advance agreement on water takes assists in streamlining environmental review efforts for all agencies involved.
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
2 Practice: Programmatic Biological Assessment and Programmatic Biological Opinion
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Interagency Coordination
Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Wyoming
Organization: Federal Highway Administration WY Division
Contact: Randy Strang
Title: Environ/ROW Engineer
Email: Environmental Program Engineer
Phone: 307-772-2004 x 149

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and FHWA-Wyoming Division initiated development, in 2003, of a Programmatic Biological Assessment (PBA), transmitted to the Service on March 17, 2005. This joint Agency initiative was directed to the Service’s issuance of a Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO), completed November 7, 2005. The PBA/PBO covers all Wyoming-listed Threatened and Endangered Species, 3 designated critical habitats, and all proposed, candidate and experimental non-essential species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

The PBA assessed the effects of WYDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) of projects, including material sources, for five fiscal years, 2005-2009. This assessment documented project location, type of improvement, project category, species determination, project impacts on species and critical habitat, and effect determinations. Conservation Measures were identified to minimize project impacts for those species likely to be adversely affected.

The Service, in cooperation with WYDOT and FHWA, identified Terms and Conditions, which implement the Reasonable and Prudent Measures and outline annual monitoring and reporting requirements. WYDOT, the Service, and FHWA have developed a project-specific monitoring/reporting form, and they will meet annually to review the effectiveness of PBA conservation measures and PBO terms and conditions.

The Programmatic Biological Assessment and Programmatic Biological Opinion are available through email. For more information, see the April 2006 issue of Successes in Stewardship.

WYDOT currently uses the same procedure, although it operates under a new programmatic that runs from 2010 to 2014. WYDOT is presently working on the next agreement which will run from 2015 to 2019. If species and or habitat are added during the 5 year time frame the document is updated to reflect those changes.
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
3 Practice: Nugget Canyon Deer Fence and Underpasses
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Wyoming
Organization: Wyoming Department of Transportation
Contact: Jennifer  Hoffman
Title: Resident Engineer
Email: Jennifer.Hoffman@dot.state.wy.us
Description: In 2008, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) completed construction of a deer fence and wildlife underpass in southwest Wyoming. The new underpass system was necessary in order to reduce the number of animal-vehicle crashes along a 14-mile-long stretch of US 30. Prior to the construction of the deer crossing, an average of 130 deer were killed each year along this part of the highway. Deer crossed this section of US 30 in such large numbers because their bi-annual migration route passes over this stretch of road.

An effort to reduce the number of collisions began in 1986 when Wyoming passed the Nugget Canyon Wildlife Migration Project Act. This Act required that State agencies work together to decrease the number of collisions. In 1989, research began to determine the best method to reduce the number of animal-vehicle collisions. Following initial research, an eight-mile fence with one gap, flashing lights, and overhead lighting was installed. Unfortunately, this technique did not decrease the number of animal-vehicle collisions.

In 2000, a 12-foot by 20-foot culvert was installed at the gap in the fence from the 1989 project. With the culvert in place, deer could choose to use the culvert or go around the fence. With assistance from the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming, the study team determined that additional structures and deer fencing were still needed.

Following the installation of the culvert and the deer fencing, 6.3 miles of new deer fencing and 6 new concrete underpass structures were installed in 2008. With the aid of WEST, Inc. of Laramie, Wyoming, a three-year-long study is underway to monitor use of the structures along the 14- mile stretch of highway. The study has observed that 24,000 deer as well as 482 elk used the underpass structures. While WYDOT predicted that deer would be frequent users of the underpass, the Department was surprised to learn that elk also used the underpass.

WYDOT forecasts that there has been a decrease in animal-vehicle collisions this year. Furthermore, WYDOT is fixing a fence attachment detail at the bridges and expects the collision rate to continue to decrease. This underpass and fence system is already an example for other wildlife projects within the State of Wyoming. Improvements to public safety and the State's natural resources were achieved by ongoing research and refinement of the deer underpass. Collaboration by WYDOT, Wyoming Game and Fish, the State Legislature, and the citizens of the State of Wyoming enabled the initiation and continued refinement of this project.

The monitoring completed after construction was finished and the final result was that 49,146 mule deer, 1,953 elk, 201 pronghorn antelope and various small game moved through the seven underpasses studied between December 2008 and May 2011. The deer fatality rate across the 13-mile long section of US 30 studied dropped from an average of 9.75 fatalities per month before 2001 to only 1.82 fatalities per month between 2008 and 2011, an 81% reduction.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
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