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Section 4(f) Checklist

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The attached section 4(f) checklist was developed by Dan Harris (FHWA, San Francisco). It includes the items he looks for when reviewing section 4(f) evaluations, and is based on 23 CFR 771.135, the FHWA Technical Advisory T 6640.8A, the FHWA Guidebook Section 24, and project experience.

Comments and suggestions regarding the checklist are encouraged; please send them to Dan Harris via the internet or FHWA email. The checklist has been in use for some time; however, it is a working document subject to change and improvement.

Dan R. Harris

Environmental Specialist
FHWA Western Resource Center
201 Mission Street, Suite 2100
San Francisco  94105-1838
tel:  415-744-2611
dan.harrisfhwa.dot.gov
May 1997

Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation

General

Is the section 4(f) evaluation contained in a separate section, chapter, or appendix?

For EIS's, is the environmental document entitled Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Section 4(f) Evaluation on the EIS title page?

For EA's, is it entitled Draft Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation?

Does the title page include the citation: Submitted Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c) and 49 U.S.C. 303?

Does the introduction to the section 4(f) evaluation include the following Aboiler plate description of section 4(f):

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, codified in Federal law at 49 U.S.C. '303, declares that A[i]t is the policy of the United States Government that special effort should be made to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside and public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites.

Section 4(f) specifies that the Secretary [of Transportation] may approve a transportation program or project... requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge of national, State, or local significance, or land of an historic site of national, State, or local significance (as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction over the park, area, refuge, or site) only if:

(1) there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and

(2) the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.

Section 4(f) further requires consultation with the Department of the Interior and, as appropriate, the involved offices of the Departments of Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development in developing transportation projects and programs which use lands protected by section 4(f).

Is Section 4(f) listed in the EIS index with correct page numbers?

Proposed Action

Are the proposed project and the project purpose and need briefly described with the corresponding EIS/EA text discussions properly referenced for additional information?

Description of Section 4(f) Property(ies)

Does the description of each section 4(f) resource which would be used by any alternative include all of the applicable information outlined in Attachment A?

Impacts on the Section 4(f) Property(ies)

Does the impact evaluation discussion address the following impacts on each section 4(f) property for each alternative?

If there is not an impact in one of the above areas, does the evaluation state such with adequate supportive information?

Does the evaluation include an impact summary table when:

(1) more than one section 4(f) property is involved and

(2) such a table would be useful in comparing the various impacts of the alternatives?

Alternatives

Does the section 4(f) evaluation of alternatives identify and summarize the alternatives addressed in the EIS/EA and include specific references to those discussions?

Detailed discussions of alternatives in an EIS/EA do not need to be repeated in the section 4(f) portion of the document if they are identified and summarized with specific references to the EIS/EA discussions of alternatives.

Do both the section 4(f) evaluation and the EIS/EA discussion of alternatives include the same location alternatives?

Are location alternatives and site-specific design variations which avoid section 4(f) property(ies) identified and evaluated?

Does the section 4(f) evaluation of alternatives include at least one build alternative which avoids each and all section 4(f) resources

or

explain why there are not any such avoidance alternatives with adequate supportive information?

Measures to Minimize Harm

Are all possible measures which are available to minimize the impacts to the section 4(f) property(ies) discussed?

Detailed discussions of mitigation measures in the EIS/EA may be referenced and appropriately summarized rather than repeated.

If the section 4(f) property includes lands or facilities developed under section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, does the mitigation discussion address the section 6(f) requirements See Attachment C?

Other Park, Recreational Facilities, Wildlife Refuges, and Historic Properties Evaluated Relative to the Requirements of Section 4(f)

This section evaluates other park, recreational facilities, wildlife refuges, and historic sites in the project vicinity that do not involve a section 4(f) use.

It needs to include the information outlined in Attachment B. This discussion is necessary to explain why some resources or facilities are not protected by provisions of section 4(f) and to document that any proximity impacts to section 4(f) resources do not result in a constructive use.

Coordination

Does the summary discussion of preliminary coordination with the public official having jurisdiction over the section 4(f) resource address the following:

If section 6(f) lands are involved, does the summary discussion include preliminary coordination with the National Park Service Region Office?

Final Section 4(f) Evaluation

Is the information contained in the draft section 4(f) evaluation included in the final evaluation with appropriate revisions to reflect comments received on the draft document and any changed conditions, new information, or project refinements?

Does the final evaluation provide the basis for concluding that there are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the use of section 4(f) land(s)?

The supporting information must demonstrate that Athere are unique problems or unusual factors involved in the use of alternatives that avoid these properties or that the cost, social, economic, and environmental impacts, or community disruption resulting from such alternatives reach extraordinary magnitudes 23 CFR 771.135(a)(2).

Does the final evaluation provide the basis for concluding that the preferred alternative includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the section 4(f) property(ies)?

Does the final evaluation demonstrate that the preferred alternative is the feasible and prudent alternative with the least harm on the section 4(f) resources after considering mitigation?

Does the Coordination Section summarize the formal section 4(f) coordination with the Department of the Interior and, as appropriate, the involved offices of the Departments of Agriculture (usually the Forest Service) and Housing and Urban Development?

Are copies of the section 4(f) comments included in the final evaluation, or if contained in the Draft EIS Comment and Response Section, are they accurately referenced?

Have each of the section 4(f) comments received a full and adequate response?

Where new alternatives or modifications to existing alternatives are identified and will not be given further consideration, the basis for dismissing the alternatives/modifications needs to be provided and supported by factual information.

Where section 6(f) land is involved, is the National Park Service's position on the land transfer summarized in the text and documented with a copy of an NPS letter?

Does the final section 4(f) evaluation conclude with the following statement:

Based upon the above considerations, there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of land from the [name(s) of the section 4(f) property(ies)] and the proposed action includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the [name(s) of the section 4(f) property(ies)] resulting from such use.

EIS/EA's Without a Section 4(f) Use

All EIS's (and EA's only if appropriate) need to include a subsection/subchapter within the Environmental Consequences section/chapter entitled:

Park, Recreational Facilities, Wildlife Refuges, and Historic Properties
Evaluated Relative to the Requirements of Section 4(f)

that addresses the information outlined in Attachment B.

This discussion is necessary to explain why some resources or facilities are not protected by provisions of section 4(f) and to document that any proximity impacts to section 4(f) resources do not result in a constructive use.

Attachment A

Description of Section 4(f) Property(ies)

A detailed map or drawing of sufficient scale to identify the relationship of the alternatives to the section 4(f) property.

Size of the section 4(f) property (hectares or square meters (with acres or square feet following parenthesis)).

Location of the section 4(f) property (maps or other exhibits such as photographs and/or sketches).

Ownership (e.g., private, city, county, State, Federal agency).

Type of section 4(f) property (e.g., park, recreation, historic).

Available activities or function of the property (e.g., ball playing, swimming, golfing).

Description and location of all existing and planned facilities (e.g., ball diamonds, tennis courts).

Type of access to the property (e.g., pedestrian, vehicular).

Usage of the section 4(f) resource (e.g., approximate number of users/visitors).

Relationship to other similarly used lands in the vicinity.

Applicable clauses affecting the ownership, such as lease, easement, covenants, restrictions, or conditions, including forfeiture.

Unusual characteristics of the section 4(f) property that either reduce or enhance the value of all or part of the property (e.g., flooding problems, terrain conditions, or other features).

If the section 4(f) property includes lands or facilities developed under section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, the description of the section 4(f) resource will need to indicate such. See Attachment C.

Attachment B

Park, Recreational Facilities, Wildlife Refuges,
and Historic Properties
Evaluated Relative to the Requirements of Section 4(f)

This section evaluates parks, recreational facilities, wildlife refuges, and historic sites in the project vicinity that do not involve a AuseA of section 4(f) land. It describes each resource and then either:

(1) explains why it is not protected by section 4(f), or

(2) demonstrates that the proximity impacts do not rise to a level that substantially impairs the activities, features, or attributes that qualified the resource for protection under section 4(f).

All archaeological and historic sites within the section 106 area of potential effect (APE) and all public and private parks, recreational facilities, and wildlife refuges within approximately 0.8 km (one-half mile) of any of the project alternatives should be included. It is usually unlikely that such resources would be affected at greater distances; however, if there is an issue or question whether they would be affected, they should also be included.

Does the introduction to this discussion include:

Does the description of each resource include:

For each of the resources protected by section 4(f), does the impact evaluation

If there is not an impact in one of the above areas, does the evaluation state such with adequate supportive information?

Concluding discussions of section 4(f) must not use phrases such as "therefore, section 4(f) does not apply." Section 4(f) is applicable to all US Department of Transportation actions.

Rather, use:

"Therefore, the provisions of section 4(f) are not triggered,"

"Therefore, the provisions of section 4(f) do not come into play,"

or

"The proposed project [preferred alternative for final evaluations] will not cause a constructive use of [name of section 4(f) resource] because the proximity impacts will not substantially impair the protected activities, features, or attributes of [type of resource, e.g., park, historic site, future park].

Attachment C

Section 6(f)

Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act directs the Department of the Interior (National Park Service) to assure that replacement lands of equal value, location, and usefulness are provided as conditions to their approval of the section 6(f) land conversion. Therefore, where a section 6(f) land conversion is proposed, replacement land will be necessary. Regardless of the mitigation proposed, the draft and final section 4(f) evaluations need to document the National Park Service's position on the section 6(f) land transfer.

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