August 7 Foundations of NPS National Environmental Policy Act NEPA Practice Webinar Series


– [Kelly] Hi welcome to the foundations of NPS NEPA practice webinar series. My name is Kelly Daigle,
I’m a project manager with the Environmental
Planning and Compliance Branch of the WASO Environmental
Quality Division or EQD. I’ll be facilitating and
moderating today’s webinar, which is the last in our series, during which EQD project
managers presented foundational information on the National
Environmental Policy Act and current NPS practices
for implementing NEPA. We’ll get started in
a couple minutes here. In the meantime, as we’ve
done in the previous webinars, I’m gonna launch a few polls, so you’ll see these
popping up on your screen, and we’ll talk through
these as folks respond. All right looks like we’ve
got a quorum of responses. I’m gonna share the results here. Looks like some folks indicated
executive order 13807. For here the DOI requirements are included in our secretarial order, which is SO3355. Those secretarial orders
in addition to the executive order are included
on the Google Drive, and I’ll send out that link again shortly. Okay. Another poll will launch. What is the new page and
time limit for NPS EAs? All right lots of quick answers here. Share this one. So, most everybody got this correct. It is 75 pages in six months for an EA. 150 pages in 12 months are
the requirements for an EIS. All right let’s do one last
poll before we jump in. This one is what happens if you can’t meet the DOI page or time limit goals for EAs? All right. Share this poll. Some folks believe they may
be going to NEPA prison. Let’s hope that’s not the case. But the correct answer is the first three. So you need to coordinate
with the Solicitors Office, your regional director, as well as the NPS director’s office. Thanks to everybody for
participating in those polls. So on our first webinar a couple weeks ago we looked a high-level overview of law, policy, and regulation. We talked about the
concept of significance as it relates to preparing
categorical exclusions, environmental assessments, and environmental impact statements. We looked at the basic
requirements and process steps for EAs and EISs. And we also looked at the process for preparing categorical exclusions. On our second webinar we covered a high-level overview of
NEPA streamlining efforts that are applicable to
all federal agencies. We took a deeper dive into
Secretarial Order 3355 and the follow-on deputy secretary memos that are specific to DOI. And those have the focus
on page and time limits for EAs and EISs. And then we also looked at
working with other agencies as a lead or a cooperating agency. Today we’re going to take
a high-level overview, a look at proposed actions
and why they’re important, take a deeper dive into
developing a proposed action, and then also look at
questions you should consider before starting a NEPA review. All the materials will be present, all the materials that
we’ll present on today including handouts and
referenced documents are available on the Google Drive. And I’ll chat those out
in just a second here so you’ve got that link again. I also have been including the recordings of the previous webinars,
I’ll update this one in there as soon as it becomes available. As a reminder, as an attendee
you will be in listen-only mode during the webinar. So to ask questions and
we do encourage you to ask a lot of questions, type them in to the questions or chat box in the GoToWebinar Control Panel. We’ll answer your questions at the end of each major section,
and if we’ve got time we’ll have an opportunity
for an open Q&A session at the end of this webinar. And we’ll do our best to
respond to all questions. Some of you have emailed me
with more specific questions, I would encourage you to do that as well. If you think of something
we’ve talked about or need clarification on any topic. And finally, after the
webinar, you will be prompted to complete a survey. We’ve been sending these
out after each webinar, it would be extremely helpful if this is the only one you fill out, please fill out this one
since this is the end of our webinar series. We piloted this a couple months ago in the Southeast region,
this is only our second go around with these webinars
for the Northeast region. We’re always looking to improve, and we really value your feedback. So, if you have a couple minutes please take a look at that survey, and give us some thoughtful feedback. So I’d like to introduce
our presenters today. We’ll have Jami Hammond
joining us a little bit later. She’s the Southeast region Regional Environmental Coordinator. We’ve also go Jennifer Maver on. Jennifer are you there? You wanna introduce yourself? – [Jennifer] Sure I’m here. Jennifer Maver, I’m the Chief of Resource Planning and Compliance
in the Northeast region. – [Kelly] Great thanks. And we’ve got Lindsay Gillham. – [Lindsay] Hi I’m Lindsay Gillham. I’m the NEPA Technical Specialist for the environmental quality division. I’ve been with EQD for 12 years, and managed a wide variety of projects from ORVs, cell towers, and other habitat restoration projects. – [Kelly] Awesome thanks. So with that I’ll turn it over to Lindsay. And we will dive into
preliminary project planning, which includes developing a proposal and assessing NEPA readiness. – [Lindsay] So I’m gonna began by talking about the objectives of this session in a little more detail. One of the first things
we are going to cover is why we need to develop
a proposed action, and the importance of
having a proposed action. What you need to do to
develop a proposed action. Who we can be talking
with, or who we should be engaging with in order to
develop a proposed action. And then once you sufficiently developed your proposed action, such that you developed
NEPA, we’re gonna talk about how we should make sure
before we start NEPA that there isn’t another NEPA document that covers the action. So we’re gonna begin with another poll. And the question is, is it pre-decisional to
share a proposed action during public scoping? Okay. So we are going to be talking
about this specifically, the issues of pre-decisional,
so I want everyone to take a look, the answer is no, but we’re gonna go into
more detail in a minute. So let’s move on and start with, what is a proposed action? So while other agencies
have routinely identified proposed actions, and it
is actually required by CEQ and the DOI NEPA regs, this
was a change in 2015 for NPS. So if you’ve done NEPA with
the park service for many years you probably aren’t
familiar with developing a proposed action. But this is where we made
some changes in 2015, and its been a good change
because it is consistent with our new guidance that’s come out the secretary’s office in
the last couple of years. So a couple clarifications, one is that a proposal
and a proposed action are the same. They represent an agencies
initial ideas for the project. Their different and distinct
from the purpose and need, but the initial proposal
should help resolve both the purpose and need. So the purpose is, just to revist this, the purpose is what you hope to accomplish through a NEPA document
or a planning process. And the need is why you’re taking action. So when you’re developing
a proposed action you should be thinking about
what you hope to accomplish, and whether that proposed
action can actually address the needs. Ultimately your proposed
action may not become the preferred alternative,
and it may not be the environmentally preferable alternative which we’ll talk about some
more in the class training. But it is the beginning action
that you are considering as you start a process, as
you start the NEPA process. Having a proposed action helps facilitate alternative developments. So often when you are
developing alternatives it helps to understand where you think your starting point is. It allows your planning
team to ask themselves, you know, what are we hoping to accomplish with a particular action element, and is there another of
accomplishing the same, I guess, desired outcome
while also minimizing impacts. You should always
develop a proposed action with your subject matter experts. I like to say that the
park services is full of highly intelligent, thoughtful
subject matter experts on a wide range of topics from biological, cultural, and as well
as visitor experience, and interpreters, you
guys have the experience there, it doesn’t make
a lot of sense to start a process by saying we have
no idea what we want to do, please tell us. So the idea behind the proposed
action is that all of you subject matter experts
should start by saying, we have a problem, this is the need, and this is how we think
that we could potentially resolve that problem. The proposed action is not pre-decisional. This is probably one of
the number one things that we hear when we
go to parks or regions, they say, oh no we can’t tell the public what we think we should do, because that would be pre-decisional. So I’m here to tell you that developing a proposed
action is not pre-decisional. And in fact is essential to
moving on with a NEPA process. So, if it’s not pre-decisional then what is pre-decisional? So let’s lay that out so
that when you’re talking to your park staff you understand, and if you’re talking
to your superintendent you can say, this is
why we need to develop a proposed action, and this is
why it’s not pre-decisional. First of all, something is pre-decisional if you take an action
that becomes the subject of a NEPA review that would limit the choice of alternatives. Or if you irreversibly commit resources that prejudice the
selection of alternatives before completing the NEPA process. So let me give you an example. You’re looking at building
a visitor contact station. You know where you want it to go, you know how big it’s gonna be, you have a pretty good idea
of what you want to do. You initiate a NEPA process, and before you finish,
let’s say it’s an EA, before you finish that EA and you sign a finding of no significant impact, you issue construction
contracts for the building of the visitor contact station. That is pre-decisional
because you have taken an action and committed resources. But going to the public and saying, before you issue those contracts and during the NEPA
process, and even before, hey we’re considering building
a visitor contact station, this is where we think we
want it, this is how big we think we want it, this is
the purpose of the building, that is not pre-decisional. Okay. So I’ve touched a little
bit on this already but why do we need a proposed action? First of all, it is a requirement in the CEQ NEPA regs, it always has been. Although we haven’t always
included proposed actions. For an EA it is a best practice to develop a proposed action
because if you do have scoping, public scoping,
it really helps get the public to comment
on something meaningful. It can be the level of
detail in a proposed action especially at the
beginning of a NEPA process can vary in some situations,
so you may have a lot of information about a proposed action, and in other cases you may
not have very much at all, but you have a general direction. The point of the regs is that
you have to start somewhere and you have to have a proposed action. Of course the proposed
action likely will evolve and change as you initiate
NEPA and start an EA or an EIS, but the point is that you need
to have one at the beginning. Okay. While the CEQ regs do
require federal agencies to start NEPA early in the planning and decision making
process, it’s not until a proposed action is developed that the NEPA review begins. So in the past, if you’re
a new practitioner to NEPA you can kind of put this
aside, but if you have been a NEPA practitioner for a while with the park service, in
the past what we’ve done is we say we have a
problem, and we think we need a NEPA review to,
you know, an EA or EIS to address it, so let’s go to the public and let’s publish our notice of intent to develop an EIS, and
then we’ll tell the public we’re gonna solve this
problem and get their input. That is no longer how we do
business in the park service. Before we can publish an
NOI, a notice of intent to start an EIS, we have
to have a proposed action that is described, and
actually is included in, it’s required to be in the NOI, in the notice of intent. So the intent of NEPA
is that the government doesn’t take an action
and analyze it later. Rather NEPA requires
planning and decision making to be conducted with the
environmental impacts in mind, so you should not use it to rationalize or justify decisions after the fact. Again, it’s not pre-decisional
however to have an idea of what you want to do. One question that we get a lot is, how do you know whether
a proposal is developed? And we’re gonna talk
about this in more detail in a minute. Do you have the information
necessary to move forward? And one of the key
things, the third bullet, under NEPA begins when
the environmental effects of the proposal can be
meaningfully evaluated. So, you can start NEPA once you’re sure that you can actually evaluate the effects of the proposal. Okay. Move on to the next slide. So what do you, how you do
you develop a proposed action? First and foremost, as I just stated, you should do this before you start NEPA, we no longer go to the public and say, we’re starting NEPA, we’re gonna develop our proposed action later,
or our preferred alternative, which is the terminology we used to use. We no longer do that. You are developing your proposed action before NEPA ever starts. What are the considerations
when you are developing your proposed action? You wanna make sure you
understand the legal and policy frameworks
that address the issue. If you are dealing with wildlife, you wanna make sure you know
what NPS management policies say, you wanna make sure you understand the secretarial orders on
wildlife management and hunting. If you’re dealing with fire management, you wanna make sure you
know what our, again, what our management policies
say as well as all of the recent ESOs on active management. So it’s really important
that you understand and can articulate to
the public the framework that you are going to be developing your proposed action within. So be sure you look at that
early and before you start. The CEQ regs require
that our proposed action include information of high-quality or professional integrity. The National Parks Omnibus
Management Bill of Act of 1998 actually states that our
management should be guided by the highest quality of
science and information, and that results of
scientific study must be considered when make management decisions. So again, for all of you experts, especially you scientists out there, as you’re developing your proposed action you want to make sure that you are looking for the applicable data
and for the best scientific data that is available on the topic. So, one of the question comes up, and this is frequently a problem, what happens if you don’t have the data, or you know that the data that you have to address the particular
need is not good data, or it’s outdated, it’s old,
it’s not particularly relevant to the question that needs to be resolved, or the issue that needs to be addressed? The CEQ regs actually address this. The regs say that you
are actually required to obtain additional
information that is relevant to reasonably foreseeable
significant adverse impacts. If it is one, essential to a reason choice among alternatives, excuse me, and two if the overall cost of obtaining the information is not exorbitant. Now the second phrase I
mentioned, the overall costs is not just money but also time. So, for example, I worked on a plan where we had 300 miles of road
that had not been surveyed for, well had not had a phase one survey for archeological resources, we did a cost estimate
and it would of taken several years and something
like a million dollars to survey those roads
for a phase one survey if you’re in the cultural world
that might mean something. And basically we disclosed in the EIS that getting this information
was not reasonable because of the costs
both time and in money. So what happens if that’s the case? Let me back up. What this is basically saying is, if you need information
to make a decision, you should go collect it. If you can’t collect it
because the costs are too high either in money or in
time, then what happens? Well, if essential
information is unavailable or the cost of obtaining it is exorbitant, you must disclose this
in an EIS along with how the lack of data effects the ability to predict impacts. When you cannot obtain existing credible scientific information, you must summarize that and say why. If you’re in the EA
process and you don’t have reliable data, that supports a FONSI, then you must prepare an EIS. So I will say this, if you are in an EA and you have a lot of situations where for a lot of resources
you don’t have applicable data or the right data
to make the decision then you probably, or
there’s unknown impacts because that data doesn’t exist, that’s where we would probably
need to prepare an EIS. So we do have a case
where the park service was litigated over this very issue. It’s a 2001 case. Some of you may be familiar
with it, Glacier Bay, that’s a management plan. They completed an EA and signed a FONSI, in the EA they did
acknowledge that they weren’t certain of what those impacts to whales and I think it was sea lions would be, I think mostly it concentrated on whales. But the point is in the
EA they acknowledged that there was missing
data, or that they didn’t have a complete data set that allowed them to assess all of the impacts. And PCA sued the park service and said, look you don’t know what the impacts are, how can you possibly say that there won’t be significant impacts
when you acknowledge that you don’t even
know the extent of them. The court, it has a long
history of going to court. But ultimately the court
of appeals came back and said, the EA itself
said, that the information would be obtainable, and that it would make a difference in determining the impacts or how adverse, or whether the impacts might be adverse. And because of the court
of appeals required the park service to go
back and complete an EIS. So, the point of the story is, if you are in a situation where you can’t sign a FONSI, you have incomplete data to be able to sign a
FONSI, you want to be sure that you do an EIS. So what does this have
to do with developing a proposed action? The point of this
discussion is that as you’re developing your proposed
action, you wanna think about whether or not
you have the information available to analyze both the impacts of the proposed action, and
also whether the proposal itself is based on sound data. And that’s really important to understand at the beginning. Okay so what are some other considerations when we’re developing a proposed action? One thing that we would always suggest is that if you are looking at an action that may effect a listed
and endangered species, a listed species, or critical habitat, or if you know that you
have historical resources or prehistoric resources that you may want to reach out to the US
Fish and Wildlife service or National Fishery Service, depending on where you
are, and or the SHIPO depending on what type of
resource we’re talking about. Now some of you are saying, what, this is, we haven’t even started NEPA
yet, why would we do that? This is a form of informal consultation under ESA obviously your not consulting on our preferred alternative,
but you need to understand what resources and what
concerns those agencies might have and what concerns
the SHPO might have in advance. So to the extent possible
and some, I realize that some offices may not
be willing to talk to you before you start NEPA, but
to the extent that you can reach out and understand what
those potential impacts are, it can change your NEPA pathway. Okay. Who should be involved in
developing the proposed actions? It should always be an
interdisciplinary discussion. You can include your planning,
your natural resources, law enforcement,
facilities, interpretation, whoever you think may have an interest or something to contribute. You should consider
pulling in your regional or Washington staff to
the extent that they have something to contribute. The other thing, and an
important piece of this, is that you do not have to initiate NEPA in order to talk to your public. We always encourage you to look at who your stakeholders are, and you can always be talking to them. So, for example, if you’re
working on a project that deals with a historic structure that you know there’s certain stakeholders that are heavily invested in
that particular structure, absolutely reach out to them and say, hey we’re thinking about doing something, here’s our ideas, what ideas do you have, there’s nothing that
precludes you from talking to the public. You wanna make sure you explain to them that you’re not in a
decision making process, but that you are simply
collecting information to develop a proposal. The other thing you should consider is whether or not there are connected or similar actions that should be included in the analysis, and I’m
gonna talk about that in more detail in a minute. So, for those of you who’ve
been a NEPA practitioner for a while, you’re thinking
this sounds a lot like internal scoping, and it essentially is. We are starting with
things that we used to do during internal scoping are
now part of a pre-planning or pre-NEPA effort. And if you’re working with Park Planning and special studies, they’re going to do this as part of their pre-planning, and then
planning ready phase, through working with
EQD, we do this as part of our pre-NEPA planning phase. So, regardless of who you’re working with, you will be asked to
develop a proposed action. Handout six, which hopefully
all of you have access to, touches on a lot of this, and we also have some supplemental
guidance that talks about pre-NEPA, especially if
you’re initiating an EIS. First of all, you should let us know, or your REC right away,
but we can also provide you with some guidance
on what you want to do before you start NEPA. Okay so a minute ago I mentioned that as you were developing
your proposed action you wanna think about
connected or similar actions. So, for those of you who are new to this, I will try to explain it
in an understandable way. First of all, why do we care? There is a body of law that says you cannot segment
actions when you’re doing a NEPA project. So for example, there’s not
a lot of recent litigation on this issue, but definitely in the past you had agencies developing
roads and they would do NEPA analysis on 10
miles and that’s it. But they really meant to build 50 miles, and they would analyze the
impacts 10 miles at a time in these small EAs. When what they really should of done is an EIS that analyzed the
full extent of the road. So this is the idea behind segmentation, and why it’s absolutely
essential that you identify connected actions when you’re developing your proposed actions. Because if you don’t
and you try to evaluate those separately, you could be subject to segmentation suit. So how do you know whether
something is a connected action? I’m gonna give you an example
of a connected action, and then I’m gonna talk a little bit about how you know if it’s not. So an example of a connected action, if you’re building,
let’s say you’re building a visitor center. You know where this
visitor center is gonna go. And in order to get to the visitor center you have to build an access road. Well, you would never
build the access road without the visitor
center and you would never build the visitor center
without the access road. So you cannot segment the
analysis of those two things. They would not exist but for the other. So that’s a question. Would you ever take this action
without the other action? That’s the main test. The test is called independent utility. The question is, does the action have a reason to occur without the other action? If an action has independent utility, in other words, it doesn’t
need the other action to exist, then you don’t have to analyze
it in the same NEPA review. But if it has to have
the other action to exist then it absolutely should be analyzed in the same NEPA review. So handout five, page 36,
describes some of these the classic examples of connected actions, so you can jot that
down and go look at that if you want some more examples. Another example of a recent
project here at a EQD where we had a connected action, was we worked on a project
for Olympic National Park in the removal of their mountain goats, and so the park was
removing mountain goats, some of those mountain
goats were translocated to U.S. Forest Service and state property. In the NEPA analysis, we
looked not only at the removal of the goats but
also at the translocation into Forest Service and property, and what that would mean. Because those two actions were connected. You would not translocate
the goats without removing them, and you
would not remove them without moving them somewhere else. So, that’s just another example. Okay. But it’s important to
be able to distinguish between connected actions
and similar actions. So similar actions are those
with similar geography, timing, and purpose, and
potentially other features that provide a basis for
evaluating the combined impacts in a single NEPA review. Similar actions are those
that can proceed independently from the proposed action,
and have independent utility. So now we’re talking about actions that are not connected
but they are related in geography, timing, and purpose. Similar actions don’t
have to be considered in the same NEPA document, but okay I’m gonna say that again, similar actions don’t
have to be considered in the same NEPA document
but we’re encouraged to do so if it is the most reasonable way to consider the impacts
of similar actions. If they are evaluated separately the impacts of each individual project should be considered in the
cumulative impact analysis. So let me try to provide an example that will illustrate this. A number of years ago the
park service completed an EIS for deer management at
Rock Creek Park in D.C.. In that document we described
how we were going to manage deer, and a major
driver in that management was the deer impacts on
herbaceous cover at the park. We were sued for that. That EIS was sued. And the district court, oh let me back up. The litigation suggested
that we violated NEPA because we did not analyze
invasive species management as a tool to address
these specific impacts to the vegetation. So the plaintiff came in and said, no, no, no, you just
talked about controlling the deer population in order to address the impacts on vegetation,
you should of also looked at invasive species management as a tool to address
these vegetation issues. The district court ruled in
the park service’s favor. And said that yes, they
are related in geography, they are related in
timing, but they were not connected, and so they were not required to be addressed in the same NEPA document. Again the test is can you
conduct deer management and not invasive species management, and the answer is yes. And the alternative is the same. You can do invasive species management and not do deer management,
and so they are not connected, but they were similar. So we did win in court. So the point is, if you
have similar actions that you might consider putting them in the same NEPA document,
but you’re not required to. And I will say from a
planning perspective, parks often want to
include similar actions in one plan, because that’s
really good planning right? You wanna think about
all the things that your park is doing in one area. I mean that’s the whole point of like a development concept plan or something similar. So we often include similar
actions that are not dependent on each other in one NEPA document. Okay I think we’re gonna launch a poll. To kind of hit home these ideas about. So the first one, are the
first two actions connected? Oh, am I supposed to read them? Yeah, sorry. (laughing) – [Kelly] Well we’re not finding
examples in the notes here. – [Lindsay] Sorry, okay. This is very strange,
I apologize for this. Okay, so the first question let’s say, let’s use a parking lot
needs to be upgraded. Let’s skip this poll.
– [Kelly] Let’s skip this poll. – [Lindsay] We’re skipping
this poll, sorry guys, we’re missing an entire page I think. Okay, I’m gonna move on. Oh here we go, it’s on this slide. What if your park was considering
the following actions? Building a new visitor center, constructing a trail
around the visitor center, upgrade parking and
conduct a road realignment, or add a campground near
the visitor center site. So the question is, are
these connected actions? Are the first two connected actions? Building a new visitor center, and constructing a trail
around the visitor center. Well we talked about
this, it matters whether they have independent utility. The second one, upgrade parking and conduct road realignment. Again it matters whether
there’s independent utility, is it connected to building
the new visitor center, or would you realign the road anyway? And then adding a campground
near a visitor center site is probably a similar action, but it might not be a connected action. So you might choose, hey
it makes sense to put a campground near the new visitor center, but we could put the
campground here anyway. So again, you may want to
include it in the same document or you might not. I apologize for that technical difficulty, that was completely my fault. Okay. Developing the proposed action. Who do we involve? I mentioned earlier that
it’s really important to have interdisciplinary team. That should not be done by one person. You should make sure you reach
out to all of those experts including your inter law enforcement, those folks that are gonna
be talking to the public about the proposed action
or enforcing those actions. You also wanna look and make sure that if it’s an action that
may require permitting, as in clean water act section
404, something like that, you want to make sure you understand what those requirements are,
and you may need to reach out to other folks
to understand that. Okay. When you start your
proposal and you are talking with your IDT, you should
discuss other required consultation, we talked
about that a minute ago, depending on the nature of the action, and required permits,
especially from other agencies, you wanna consider whether
or not you are in the EIS world, you have one federal decision, and we’re gonna discuss
this more but I’m just gonna leave that right there. This is a new requirement that if you have two or more authorizations required and that does include if you
need a biological opinion then you fall under the
executive order 13807. Okay. It’s common for NPS projects
to have requirements for consultation both
under the national historic preservation act as well as under the ESA, many of you have endangered species or critical habitat. Also do not forget your tribes, it’s very important to make sure that we’re consulting with our tribes. We wanna make sure we’re
thinking about this in advance because it can really effect
your project timeline. Especially, we’ve seen a lot in the last two years we’ve seen
a lot of parks stumble with meeting new timelines
because of consultation particularly section 106 consultation. If you think there’s
a possibility that you are going to need an MOU, or a MOA, or a programmatic agreement
under section 106, you wanna start thinking
about who your consulting parties will be under section 106 for developing that
programmatic agreement, you wanna begin that
process as soon as possible, and you wanna identify
those consulting parties as soon as possible. So it’s great if you do
this at the time that you’re developing your proposed action, develop who those people might be. If you know you’re gonna
need a section 404 permit under the clean water act, you wanna reach out to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. You’ll probably find that
they are less interested in helping us during pre-NEPA. I will say that a lot of the requirements for timing of our NEPA
documents don’t apply to the Army Corp of
Engineers because they are Department of Interior requirements. So you might find them less
willing to work with you, but it’s still important to reach out. You also wanna look at who would become cooperating agencies. So there may be a cooperating agency by jurisdiction, you may have
a county that owns a road, or a state that owns a road,
or you may have another bureau that has jurisdiction
over some element of your action, you may Fish and Wildlife may have to issue a permit for
take or something like that, or if you need a biological opinion if you plan to take an endangered species. Those agencies or government
entities have jurisdiction by right and will need
to be formal cooperators. You can also look for formal cooperators that may have special
expertise to contribute. So you wanna begin identifying those folks to let them know that
you’re going to potentially be starting a NEPA process. Tribal governments again really important to make sure to include them, and to do the government
to government consultation, you can again let them
know that you’re developing a proposal, seek input on their ideas on what they would like to have included, and make sure that you
do that consultation. Again, I wanna emphasize that you can talk to the public and to all stakeholders before you initiate NEPA. And in fact, in most
cases, we would recommend that you do that despite that we typically have not done that in the past. How would you engage those stakeholders? There’s no set rules. I always like to say
parks know their audience. I’ve been to parks where
they wanted to have meetings in schools and
churches because that’s where their audience
and their constituents like to go and meet. Other parks have been really keen on having webinars and ways
to reach a broader audience because that’s how they’ve
reached out in the past, and it’s been successful. The point is, during the
proposal development stage you should develop a
public involvement strategy or stakeholder strategy so that you know how you’ll proceed both before and after you initiate NEPA. You know, start making that email list or mailing list if you
still do hard mailings. If you wanna have meetings,
listening sessions, any of those things you
can do during pre-NEPA, before you start, during
the development stage of your proposal. Just make sure you tell
them that you are not in a NEPA process, NEPA is a term of art. Make sure you state that
you are not in a decision making process, you are in a
proposal development stage, and you’re just seeking input before that. Okay. So if you turn to handout,
sorry, handout five, we have some proposed
action handout examples. And I’m not gonna go through
these in great detail because I think it
would be great for folks who are maybe initiating this to, if you’re thinking about doing a project and you’re starting pre-NEPA, you want some examples
of what that looks like, this is where you’d go. I’ll talk generally about some of them. So, there’s one in there for Wrangles, and for Hawaii volcanoes
I think, yep Wrangles. So the first one, the Wrangles one, provides just general ideas about scopes, it doesn’t give you a lot of detail. But this is something they went out with before they initiated NEPA. Again the next one, provides, is that, let’s see is
that Hawaii volcanoes, oh sorry Hopeful Furnace. This example again, just
general ideas about objectives. If you put something like
these two examples out, you may limit your
ability to get early input on the actions that we’re contemplating. So you might end up
having to do an additional round of scoping on alternatives. You can do it that way but there are some other examples that we’ve included here that show you just how
far you might want to go. The next example is from
Point Rays, National Seashore. This is for a GMP
amendment that is an EIS, one of the few EISs the park
service is doing right now. This went out to
stakeholders and the public before they initiated their public scoping for their EIS, which they are now in. And it was very explicit, it talked about their alternatives, it talked about the proposed action, and it sought feedback on those. So that’s an example of a more detailed pre, before NEPA, scoping
for their proposed action. I’m not gonna call it scoping, we should call it civic engagement, cause scoping is often
associated with NEPA. So some other examples of
things that you can do, there’s Glen Canyon, Grand Canyon, Zion, a simple two page letter
letting stakeholders know that they’re thinking
about this action. There’s also, in this
handout there’s the NOI, that’s the notice of
intent to prepare an EIS that included, you
know, in previous slides I talked about that why are we doing this, because it’s actually
required that you include a proposed action in your notice of intent to prepare an EIS, so
there’s some examples of how glacier fisheries management
plan included that in theirs, and also one
from a different agency, Department of Energy Western
Power administration document. There’s also a U.S. Forest Service EA proposed action scoping example. So those are examples you can go to when you need some help thinking about what you want to say to the public. This is new ground for folks, and so we wanted to make
sure that we address that. I’m gonna pause for a minute because we’re getting some questions, and
I wanna try to address them. So how do you know when you
are ready to initiate NEPA? Okay the first thing I wanna say is you should figure out whether
you want to take an action, and if you don’t wanna take an action, then you don’t need to do NEPA. I’m gonna restate that again, if you have, especially if
you have a project proponent, and a person has come to you
or an entity has come to you and said, we wanna do
X, Y, or Z in your park, please consider this. I want to reiterate
that you do not have to do NEPA to say no. Quick example, we had an applicant request at a park in the Western United States to have a bike race, a major
international bike race. So through this park or monument, and the park was really
concerned about the significant impacts associated with this event, and they came to us and they said, we need to do this
document to show all these reasons why we can’t host
this, we can’t allow this use in our park unit. The answer is, if you don’t
intend to take action, if you’re not going to permit the action, you do not have to do NEPA to say no. So I wanna make sure that’s crystal clear. So, when are some other situations when you’re not ready to do NEPA? We wanna make sure all
the data is available and we’re gonna talk some more about all of these things in more detail in our classroom training. You have to be able to articulate
what we wanna accomplish, why we’re taking action, what
are the environmental concerns about our proposal, if we don’t know that then we’re not ready. Do we know what all the alternatives are? We should at least be
able to articulate that. Do we have the basic information about the existing data that we’ll need, or the existing conditions? There are some useful resources, hopefully all of you are
familiar with ETIC, URMA, go to your region see
if they have GIS data, I&M data can be really helpful, technical information center
I just mentioned that. So, there’s all sorts of
places you can look for data but you have to have that data to at least be able to describe your
existing conditions. What else? You need to be able,
if you’re doing an EIS, to identify the methodology
that you’re going to use in the analysis,
and you can actually begin for, if you’re doing
an EA or EIS with some very initial impact analysis
before starting NEPA. And you may want to do that simply in order to understand what NEPA pathway you wanna take. So start looking at
those potential impacts. If you have a project proponent, you wanna make sure that you
have a complete application, this is something that if you
don’t have all the details of what they’re asking for,
then NEPA can’t initiate, or you shouldn’t initiate NEPA until the project proponent
has told you the complete package of what they’re requesting. Have you determined the
appropriate NEPA pathway? You need to understand,
especially if you’re gonna do an EIS, you need to know this, you need to have identified
whether there are significant impacts, and we talked about significance already,
hopefully you understand what those pathways are. So you need to know that before you can initiate a NEPA process. You need to be able to say and agree that you have the funding
to cover the NEPA review. This is actually a
requirement in our SOs now. The important thing for
parks is that if you are going to initiate an EA or an EIS, that is a priority,
and your superintendent and every manager at
your park has to agree that, that is a priority. You have to commit to
meeting project deadlines. You have make sure that those managers and the supervisors are
aware of the project and can work with employee workloads to make sure that this can actually occur because once you start you’re
subject to all of those timelines that we talked about. You can consider using a project agreement to spell out those roles. We typically do them. I know DSC does them as
well as park planning, and special studies. If you’re doing an internal park document, you might also consider
making a project agreement with your managers and
your superintendent, or whoever it is, so
that everyone understands what the commitment is
before you start NEPA. We no longer starting NEPA
without an understanding of what that commitment will be. And we’ve talked so
much about this already, you need to have some kind of
public involvement strategy. You need to know who
those stakeholders are. You need to know whether
you’re gonna be conducting, if you’re doing an EA,
whether you’re actually gonna be conducting public scoping, what that would look
like, how long your public scoping period would be, so you understand how much time you have
after you initiate NEPA. You should talk about how
you would handle comment requests, or sorry, comment
period requests extensions. That was confusing how I said that. You may get a request to extend
the public comment period, you should talk about that in advance. Are we gonna consider that? Can we meet our timeline
if we still consider that? You might wanna think
about when that public comment period would fall. Sometimes parks don’t like to release things around holidays. So you know, don’t initiate a NEPA process that will require you to
meet a six month deadline, if that is gonna fall on a holiday when you don’t think that your public is gonna be able to pay attention. And of course as I’ve said, how you’re gonna reach
out to those stakeholders we’ve talked about. So, during pre-NEPA or doing
the proposal development stage, you may decide that your
proposal isn’t feasible. You may think your proposal is feasible but you don’t have the
appropriate information, we talked about that. You know, you may realize
you need to go collect more additional data. You may have questions
about the law or policy framework that you’re working within. You may not be able to
develop the proposal in detail for some reason. And so these are all
reasons why you may say, nope we’re not ready to start. Or you may just decide, you know what we thought we wanted
to do this but we think after looking at all this information that we’re not ready. And again, if you have
a project proponent, if their application is
not ready, that’s a reason to say no we’re not initiating NEPA. What happens if we initiate NEPA to early, with a poorly defined proposal? We have a lot of examples
of having done that, and that’s one of the reasons why we, at EQD anyway, have been
encouraging sort of this long before even the time
restrictions came into play with the administration. What happens if you start to early? It will take forever to
finish your NEPA process, I can tell you that. Which now would require
all sorts of waivers and approvals from the National Director if you’re in an EA, and
you would have to go to the secretary’s office
if you’re in an EIS. You may have to revise your scope of work. You may actually have to start over with additional public outreach. So these are all reasons why you don’t wanna do that. So I wanna provide a couple of examples of when our office started a NEPA process and realized, wow we
could of really benefited from starting with looking
at the proposed action and considering all the
factors that we talked about. One example, we worked with Grand Canyon on a bison management plan. They came to us, they
said, we want an EIS, we started the process,
the intention of the EIS was to do a landscape level
bison management plan, it became apparent right
away that there were lots of policy issues,
so that goes back to the law on policy, related to
the current proposed scale of the EIS that needed to be resolved before the NPS could ever
even develop a proposed action let alone arrange of alternatives. As a result of these questions, the park had to go back to the public and say, wait a minute,
we said we were going to do an EIS but instead we’re
now just gonna do an EA. Another example, Isle Royal National Park, some of you no doubt have
seen in the news recently, reintroduced or brought additional wolves to their park, to address
basically to bring them back to the park, they
had been there previously. This project began as a
EIS that would evaluate wolf, moose, and vegetation on the island. So looking at all of
these components together, we worked on that for a year maybe more before it just became clear that having all of these
pieces working together was so complicated and
that some of the proposals especially regarding vegetation the park really could never
have implemented them. We had already published
a NOI saying we’re doing this wolf, moose, vegetation plan, and because of the internal
deliberations that followed we went back and we had to
issue a new notice of intent that said, hey actually
what we’re really looking at is should we bring
wolves back to Isle Royal, or should we just let
nature take its course, should we intervene or should we not. And had we done some
proposal analysis like what I just walked you guys through earlier, before we had ever published
the first notice of intent to prepare an EIS, that would
solved a lot of problems, and probably saved the park
a lot of time certainly, and just with the public it confuses them. Okay. So an example of when
we started this process, we did some proposal development, pre-NEPA pre-planning work, and
we said, we’re not ready to move on. One was at Missouri
National Recreation River, they have bank stabilization
issues for those of you who are familiar with that park. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
had some jurisdiction as does the park service. So we came to the park,
we talked with the park about what their concerns
were, what their needs were, and it became really clear
that some of the things that needed to change were
not within our jurisdiction, and that we really needed the Army Corp of Engineers to
address some of the problems. And that doing an EIS would
not solve the problems that they were hoping to solve. So in that case we didn’t
initiate a NEPA process, we instead, the park is
hopefully working on some education, and continuing
developing their relationship with Army Corp of Engineers. Another example, we went
to Dinosaur National Park, they have grazing allotments there, there had been litigation that had said that the park should do a
grazing management plan. When we started looking at data, remember how we talked
about the importance of data and being able to look at science, and have the science and
the data help us make informed and reasoned decisions. In that case, you know, the park is going to need a grazing management plan, but through these discussions
we were able to identify that they didn’t actually
have the range land monitoring data that they needed in order to make that decision, so their currently collecting that data. And they’re also working
with their stakeholders to be able to hopefully
more effectively complete their grazing management plan
when they actually start. That’s a couple of
examples of why we think this is such an important process, and that walking through these questions and making sure you have all
of this is really important. Okay so I wanna address
the last four bullets before moving off this slide. Who’s the lead agency and
the cooperating agency? You wanna make sure you understand that before moving forward, and
make sure that’s worked out. We’ve talked a lot about
independent utility and similar actions, so
you wanna make sure that you can demonstrate,
that you have included all the connected actions. If you have actions with
independent utility, you have the choice of including them, but you have to remember
that you have these page limits now, so you might want to do separate EAs, or if some of those actions can be completed with a CE
there are some situations where that is the best action. If you have something like that I really encourage you
to reach out to Jennifer or someone else in your region, I know they’re looking
at hiring a regional environment coordinator to help you walk through how to deal with plans where there’s multiple actions. We have discussed previously but one way to stay within the page
limits is to only include those actions within the
body of our EAs, or EISs that have potential environmental effects. So we wanna make sure
that you’re not including actions that have environmental effect, and you’re thinking that sounds confusing. Again this is addressing situations where you may have a plan that
has a lot of for example educational or interpretive components that may not have large
environmental effects, they’re really important
to your operations, and to your public, but that
the environmental checks are small, so you wanna make sure that you aren’t doing lengthy NEPA documents to address actions. Another example would be talking
or working with partners. Really important for parks, not a lot of environmental effects. So those types of actions should not be included in an EA or an EIS, you can include them in
plans, obviously release them and talk about them with the public, but we don’t wanna spend a lot of pages talking about those since they don’t have large environmental effects. And the last thing you wanna ask is whether or not the proposal is included in another NEPA review. And I think that’s what I’m
gonna be talking about next. So, one of the things that we always do is look at whether or not the action that you’re proposing
is covered in a previous document and to what level of detail. If you have a project or a
proposal that was covered in that previous document
you can use a memo to file to document that, but you need to make
sure that the proposal is the same essentially,
and that its impacts were adequately described, and that the existing condition
is more or less the same so you might not be able
to use that existing NEPA, but you should definitely look at it. And if that’s the case
then you don’t have to do additional NEPA. If you’re using a memo to file to say, hey we looked at this
proposal it’s included in this EA or EIS so
we’re not reevaluating it, make sure especially with if you have an endangered species or that,
that conditions hasn’t changed, as in there’s not new
listed species in the area. There’s not a standard format for how you do a memo to file, you
just wanna make sure you include a description of the action and that you’ve looked at these things, that you’ve looked at
whether the conditions have changed, and that it’s in site specific detail to accommodate. Another question you
should look at is whether another agency has covered
the action in their own NEPA document. In order to be covered
it must meet NPS process and content requirements,
and have adequately assessed the impacts of the action. Again, we should consider
whether there are any new circumstances or
information or changes that were not previously included in the other agency’s document. There’s a couple of ways to adopt another agency’s document,
and certainly if you’re in a situation where you
want to use another agency’s documents, you should
reach out to your REC, your regional environmental coordinator, or to Jennifer to talk about that, because there are some complications, if you were a cooperating agency, you have a lot more flexibility there, if not you can still adopt
it but it does require recirculating the EIS for public comment, and then adopting it through our rod. So, are you ready for some NEPA? We’re going to take a 10 minute break, and when we come back,
we are gonna talk about the other consultation requirements that you should be considering
when you’re initiating NEPA. – [Jennifer] I’m here can you hear me? – [Kelly] Yes we can. Jennifer I’m gonna go ahead and pull up that webpage so I’ll let
you take it from here. – [Jennifer] Okay. All right there it is. So this segment is going to review the Northeast regions online NEPA resources, they are available for folks
to look at service wide. So on this screen here,
you’ll see the NEPA homepage, that’s on the resource planning and compliance division’s website. This is basically the one stop shop for online NEPA resources
for the Northeast region. So I’ll just go through the website here, and highlight some key information. So on the homepage here
there is an overview of NEPA that explains why we
need to comply with NEPA, what triggers NEPA, and
the NEPA regulations and guidelines that the
park service follows. So Kelly if you want to
scroll down a bit and stop. There’s a date that says November 7, 2018. So that’s, with that, that’s a link to the Northeast region’s process
to obtain concurrence to start an EA or EIS. So if folks would click
on the brown link there it takes you to a page with an overview of the process and the steps to take to get regional concurrence. And right below that
there’s a date that says December 13, 2018. So last December, resource
planning and compliance hosted a webinar with Dave Jacob at EQD to explain the pre-NEPA process under the new NEPA streamlining. So the brown link there
will take you to handouts and a recording of the session. So back on the NEPA
homepage, Kelly if you wanna scroll down and stop
where it says NEPA links outside the RPC website. So that’s got a list of NEPA
links to outside agencies, both departmental and to
CEQ and the NEPA act itself. So Kelly if you wanna scroll down to the next session underneath the information and guidance. This is some information and guidance that our previous regional
environmental coordinator put together, and there’s
a couple key things to note from this list. That first link there in brown, that says a brief overview of the EO and secretarial order. So that link will take
you to an overview of the two orders that EQD covered
on our last webinar, and it will take you, there’s links there to both of the orders. So half way down that list, there’s a link that
says, NEPA streamlining in the department, NEPA
streamlining in DOI, and that will link will take you to a page that has key points on
departmental NEPA streamlining. Got some guidance on streamlining, and shortening EAs, and EISs, as well as some sample schedules and documents. So at the very bottom
of that list of links there’s two links that say RPC library. And if you click on the first one that says NEPA guidance,
that link is gonna take you to the RPC library
which is on Google Drive. And it’s gonna take you
to a list of guidance that was part together
by our previous REC. And the NEPA guidance page contains some guidance, case logs,
samples of decision documents, and statements work. And Kelly if you click on that last link for the RPC library for NEPA streamlining, that’s going to take you
to a Google Drive page, that has the entire list of the
NEPA streamlining documents, sent by the department,
Washington Director’s Office, and EQD, so this is a good resource for folks looking for
information on NEPA streamlining. And so that’s it, that’s
the end of the tour. If anybody from the Northeast
region parks or programs have NEPA questions,
you can give me a call. Again, my name is Jennifer Maver, and you can give me a
call until our new REC is hired sometime this fall. So Kelly, I’ll turn the
presentation back to you. – [Kelly] Awesome, thanks Jennifer. Jami are you on? – [Jami] I am. – [Kelly] Hi Jami, welcome. I’m going to turn it over to you for a presentation on
compliance with other laws. – [Jami] All right. Good afternoon. I’m the regional environmental coordinator for Southeast region. I’m standing in for Northeast region today since they are in the process of hiring their regional environmental coordinator. I’m gonna just touch on other laws that we comply with
during our NEPA process, and I just wanna reinforce
that NEPA doesn’t take the place of these other laws, that we can essentially
use the NEPA processes to be able to help us
comply with other laws. We shouldn’t finalize our NEPA process until other compliances complete, because if we need to implement mitigation and other things that might
effect our NEPA decision we wanna make sure that,
that we have all of this in place prior to making
any kind of NEPA decisions. So, we’ll start up with National
Historic Preservation Act, or NHPA, excuse me, of 1966. So it’s been around a
while, it actually came before the NEPA, the National
Environmental Policy Act Law, and essentially declared
for the first time, there was this national policy
of historic preservation. So, you’ll see a lot of narrowing between NEPA and NHPA. And NHPA established an advisory council on historic preservation,
which have sort of a similar role as a council in
environmental quality for NEPA. The advisor council or
ASACHP, issues a regulations for implementation, it
oversees the operations for that process, comments
on federal undertakings and programs that effect
historic properties, and they can also come in and
enter the consultation process as a sort of intermediary
in certain situations. The NHPA formalized the National Register of historic places,
and section 110 of NHPA has this mandate that
federal agencies identify your historic resources. It’s important to know
your historic resources, to know what resources
you’re doing compliance for. So, and that’s where section
106 comes in of NHPA, which ensures that prior
to approval of expenditures of federal funds, or on
an undertaking, excuse me, or prior to the issuance
of permits, licensing, any undertaking on a district site, building structure, or
object that’s included or eligible for inclusion
in the National Register. So the head of the agency would
afford the advisory council an opportunity to comment
with that with an undertaking, and we would go through
our consultation process. So when an agency such
as NPS, we’re responsible for the undertaking, then
106 is going to apply when we use federal funds,
when a project requires federal permit, license, or approval. All of those will kick that
106 process into effect. For park service units,
the park superintendent is considered the agency official responsible for compliance. So, compliance, it is
possible for 106 compliance to stay at the park level,
however, a park should have a culture resource
team, and many times that includes resource
managers from other parks, or it might include
specialists at the region, cause there aren’t very
many parks that have all the experts use needed
to go through that process. So this is a very simplified overview. Your park’s culture resource
specialist should be involved. Questions directed to your
regional 106 coordinator, and for Northeast region that
contact would be Dave Ishald. Essentially your first step
in initiating that 106 process and identifying whether,
is to identify whether you’re have an undertaking,
who should be involved in that process,
identifying whether you have tribal interests tribes
that you need to contact. Considering what your public
involvement plan might be. Or plan for public discloser of the facts, and notifying your SHPO. Next we would wanna identify
what historic properties might be effected, and identify the area of potential effects, and
began that consultation process with our state historic
preservation office to SHPO, or the tribal historic
preservation office, THPO. And then we would do our
assessment of the fact many of you have been in PAPC, we use PAPC as the vehicle for
preparing that assessment of a fact, and PAPC really
does walk you through that process, step wise process, and makes it pretty easy to do. And you’ll notice going
through that process that there are a number of pathways just like with NEPA, NHPA
has a number of pathways, and starting with streamline review, there’s no adverse effect, a
standard four step process, if we need to consult with SHPO or THPO, or combine NEPA, NHPA
process, and some parks even have a park specific
agreement with the SHPO. Once we conclude the
process, do that assessment of effect, determine what
the effects might be, we might be able to
streamline the compliance, use that streamline activity
from the programmatic agreement which is really similar to a categorical exclusion for
the NEPA side of things, if we determine there might
be no adverse effects, there are activities that are listed that were part of that
programmatic agreement that we might be able to choose, and just keep it at park level
for that streamline activity. However we might need
to consult with the SHPO and or THPO, for concurrence
of new adverse effects, or if there might be an adverse effect we might have to do a
memorandum of agreement to resolve those adverse effects, and have that signed. Or we might use a combined
NEPA, NHPA document to fulfill that process, the 106 process. I will just say, if you’d like to combine your NEPA, NHPA process for maybe for efficiencies involving the public and that sort of thing, make sure you do talk to Dave Ishald about that process. In some cases it can be
a successful process. In others we haven’t seen a
whole lot of success with it. But there are specific requirements when you use that process,
it’s specific in terms of you must notify the
SHPO advisory council, and you definitely don’t
wanna miss this step for that. So, I would definitely
recommend that you talk with your SHPO, talk
with your 106 coordinator before making a decision to do that. If we do coordinate with NEPA, we just wanna make sure
that we’re coordinating early and often, and
having a good relationship with your SHPOs, THPOs,
it’s really important in helping this process go smoothly. The trust factor is a big factor in working with other agencies, and SHPO and THPO are no exception there. You wanna make sure that we identify any consulting parties. And again if we are gonna
combine that NEPA, NHPA process make sure that we notify
the advisory council that we intend to do that. And the bottom line is, just knowing that completing the NEPA process does not mean you’ve complied with the National
Historic Preservation Act, they’re separate laws,
but again NEPA does, we do talk about actions and effects, and all of that so we can use that process as a vehicle to get us there. All right next we’ll talk about endangered species act. And I mean who couldn’t
love that little face there. So section seven of the
endangered species act, or ESA, might hear it referred to, requires that federal agencies develop
those conservation programs for listed species and they avoid actions that will further harm species. And not just their species but actual also their critical habitat. The specific section 782 says that federal agencies will
ensure that any action the authorized fund or carry out does not jeopardize the continued
existence of an endangered or threatened species, or designated or proposed critical habitat. When we’re gonna take an action, when a park is gonna take an action, you have to determine whether the action might effect that listed species or proposed species, or
proposed or designated critical habitat, so essentially to comply with section seven of ESA we would either request from Fish and Wildlife Service or National Fishery Service depending on who has jurisdiction for that species. We can ask for the list of
species and critical habitat in your project area, or
if we know what’s in our park we can request concurrence
with our species list, or you can pull it from the website. If you are making an official request to those agencies, they have 30 days to respond to concur. I think for the most
part, we don’t necessarily formalize that, that
letter, and all of that. It tends to be a more informal process, but we can do it that way,
and we can do formal letters requesting those species
lists to make sure that we do have the
correct species identified. But most parks are used
to working with species, know what’s in their
park, and they have those relationships with fish and wildlife. Once we have a species list, or we know what species are that might be effected, you have to determine whether the actions that you’re gonna take
may effect the species or their critical habitat, and if not no further consultations required, you just have to document
that for your files that you’ve looked at it and determined that will be no effect to the species. If a protective species might be effected, that’s when we need to go
through a consultation, a process with fish and wildlife or National Fisheries
depending on the species, and that consultation could
include either informally with a written concurrence
from the service that, excuse me, adverse
effect to the species, or you may have to go through
a formal consultation, prepare a biological assessment, and get a response from
fish and wildlife or NIMS, with a biological opinion potentially with terms and conditions, and
potentially type of species. So the interface with NEPA and ESA could take a few different forms. We might just consult
with fish and wildlife or NIMS separately under a letter, and the use of a biological assessment if it looks like we’re
gonna effect a species. We could incorporate the
biological assessment in term in the document,
but in my experience NIMS, fish and life,
and National Fisheries offices don’t want us to combine
and use that NEPA document as a vehicle for consultation. So you definitely wanna
have that conversation prior to committing to
consult in that way. So if you do find yourself
needing to consult under ESA, you can contact
the Northeast regions, the ESA contact is Shelia Collwell, she’s the endangered species coordinator for Northeast region,
and she would be able to answer any of those questions, and help out there. All right, moving on. Executive orders on
wetlands and foodplains. I’ll start with executive order 11990. This is for the protection of wetlands, issued in 1977 by President Carter. Essentially the executive
order was to direct the agencies to avoid
to the extent possible adverse effects associated
with destruction or modification of
wetlands, and also to stress if we can avoid effecting wetlands then we should be avoiding wetlands. And if there’s a practical
alternative to do so. The executive order directed
agencies to issue procedures. For a park service we have
director’s order 77-1, and procedural manual
which has a no net loss of wetlands goal. It has an option of the cowardin wetland classification system for park service, definition for classifying
and inventorying wetlands. Executive order directs us
to minimize the destruction, loss, and degradation of wetlands. To preserve and enhance natural beneficial values of wetlands, and avoid direct foreign threat support, and
new construction of wetlands unless there’s a new
practical alternative again. Essentially the DA states that, our director states that actions prepared by the park service has
to have the potential to have adverse impacts on wetlands, we’ll evaluate these through our national environmental policy act planning process. And what this means essentially for combining with the NEPA process, and the NEPA pathway doesn’t matter if we’re doing environmental assessment, environmental impact statement, or (mumbles) exclusion. For wetlands, we would prepare
a statement of findings. And essentially the
statement of findings, or SOF documents compliance with
the director’s order, documents with the adverse
impact on wetlands will be, and how those impacts will be mitigated, and all of these are outlined in that SOF. And there are actions that are accepted from a statement of findings and they are identified in the procedural manual. The statement of findings has this public review requirement, so if we’re doing an
environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, we would attach that draft, SOF, to our NEPA document
so that it would go to that public review
process, so just be aware not to skip that step. If you have a categorical exclusion and you don’t intend on
circling that to the public, we’d still have an
obligation for public review for the statement of findings, so just keep that in mind. Excuse me. But if you have questions on that, the regional hydrologist
for our Northeast region is Peter Sharp, and you can
direct questions to Peter on that process and what needs to be done. Once the statement of
findings has been prepared and goes out to the
public, the superintendent would recommend the statement of findings and there’s a certification step with our water resources division. And essentially they look
at the SOF for adequacy of content, and they would sign off on it in the final approval as
with the regional director. So we typically route
our statement of finding with our decision document. So if we’re doing a finding
of no significant impact or record of decision,
we would route that SOF with those decision documents. So the next executive order is 11988, and that’s for floodplain management. It came a little after the
wetlands executive order. And it’s really similar,
just issues to avoid to the extent possible long
and short term adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains. Also directs to avoid direct or indirect support of floodplain development wherever there is a practical alternative, similar to the wetland executive order. Like the executive order for wetlands, the EO for floodplains requires agencies to develop agency specific guidance, and minimize the impacts
of floods on human safety, health, and welfare,
and restore and preserve the national and beneficial
values served by floodplains. Specifically to service this goal, park services goal is
to protect and preserve the functions of floodplains,
avoid long and short term environmentalist facts with an occupancy and modification of floodplains too. And you know construction, not
constructing in floodplains. Avoid direct and indirect
support of floodplain developmental actions that
could adverse the effect of the natural resources and
functions of floodplains, or increase flood risk. So when we can’t restore
natural floodplain values, and can’t locate or relocate development or inappropriate human activities to a site outside, and
not effecting a floodplain then just like with effects to wetlands, we have to prepare a statement of finding. Steps for preparing a
statement of findings for floodplains are really similar to those as a statement
of findings for wetlands, and in some cases we
might even have a combined statement of wetlands and floodplains if we’re effecting both. The procedural manual is 77-2
for floodplain management. And the SOF for
floodplains just state that we’ve taken all reasonable
actions to minimize the impact to natural
resources of floodplains, we’ve used nonstructural
measures as much as practicable, and that we’ve ensured the structures and facilities are
designed to be consistent with the intent of the
standards and criteria of the national flood insurance program. All right. That’s wetlands and floodplains, and the SOF for floodplains
is similar to wetlands. There’s that certification
step with water resources division, and approval is
by the regional director. All right. And finally, coastal zone management act. So coastal zone management
act was enacted in 1972. It’s administered by Noah, and provides for the
management of the nations coastal resources including
the Great Lakes actually. So the goal for coastal
zone management act or CZMA, is to preserve, protect,
develop anywhere possible to restore and enhance
the resources of the nation’s coastal zone. CZMA established this national policy and developed a national
program for management, beneficial use,
protection, and development of land and water resources
of the nation’s coastal zones and for other purposes. With coastal zone management act, ultimately the outcome for
the coastal zone management of a healthy and productive
coastal eco systems, and to have environmentally economically, and socially vibrant
resilient coastal communities. And it’s delegated to
states for compliance, so that’s a little
different, so you would need to get familiar with your
state’s requirements, and meeting the compliance
requirements for CZMA. Some states have a clearing
house type process, I know in my region and
then you would simply just provide your NEPA
document, which analyzes the effects to the coastal zone, and they would get it
out and would respond to whether your project is consistent with the coastal zone management act, but some states require direct contact and consultation with their office. So, you would definitely
want to get familiar with your state’s requirements. Amanda Vapsen, who is
the Northeast region’s coastal landscape adapt
patient coordinator could answer your questions, and assist you with that process. All right. I know it’s a lot of
information on other laws, but you have a lot of
resources at your fingertips. The website for Northeast
region is amazing, and I know their former
REC, he spent a lot of time developing that, and is really helpful. And you guys have your regional contacts that can help you get
your questions answered. So you have a lot of
resources at your fingertips that can help you through those processes. And that is all I have. – [Kelly] Thanks Jami. So that’s..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *