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NEPA 404 MOU Guidance (part 3)

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION

INTRODUCTION

The Clean Water Act (Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines) requires that no discharge of fill material be permitted unless appropriate and practicable steps have been taken which will minimize potential adverse impacts of the discharge on the aquatic ecosystem. Mitigation is an action intended to reduce the effect of a specific activity. Mitigation includes: a) avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action, b) minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation, c) rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment, d) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action, and e) compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments (40 CFR § 1508.20). This guidance identifies the procedure for developing compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources (see glossary). It includes mitigation categories (c) and (e) outlined in the previous paragraph. Compensatory mitigation is the replacement of functions and values to the extent practical. As clarified in the "Memorandum of Agreement Between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army Concerning the Determination of Mitigation Under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines" (February 6, 1990), project sponsors must take a sequential approach to mitigation; first, avoid aquatic impacts, then minimize impacts (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance). Once the project has been evaluated under this process it will then be possible to explore other forms of mitigation.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING STAGE

Where avoidance and minimization of aquatic resource impacts are not practicable, the project sponsor will identify preliminary compensatory mitigation needs. Impact levels will be based upon information obtained following the Level of Data Needs / Threshold for Involvement Guidance. At the transportation planning stage mitigation banking can be evaluated following initial determination from Corps and EPA that conditions permitting banking are present, and where banking will provide for equivalent or higher quality replacement of functions and values. Mitigation banking for aquatic habitats is defined as the creation, restoration, or enhancement of wetland or other aquatic habitats and their functional values expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of proposed discharges into waters of the U.S. (see glossary) permitted under the section 404 regulatory program. Banks are created for an unknown number of future project impacting waters of the U.S. Mitigation banking may be appropriate for compensating cumulative impacts on aquatic resources identified at the transportation planning stage. Initial identification of mitigation bank sites should be coordinated with local resource planning efforts. The location of any mitigation bank site should augment or be compatible with regional and local planning efforts, such as watershed planning, natural community conservation planning (NCCP), special area management plans (SAMP), habitat conservation plans (HCP), multiple species management, and open space preserves.

PROJECT PROGRAMMING STAGE

At this phase, the project sponsor needs to describe proposed mitigation, including the expected functions and values anticipated to compensate for unavoidable impacts. Mitigation cost estimates must be incorporated in the various alternatives being considered. Programs using a common funding source may be able to develop, where indicated appropriate by Corps, EPA, and FWS, a mitigation bank for anticipated compensation commitments for several projects.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT STAGE

The project sponsor needs to develop a compensatory mitigation plan, including a feasibility study, conceptual mitigation plan, and final mitigation plan. A feasibility study of candidate mitigation site(s) will be completed prior to circulation of the draft EIS. The Corps will review candidate site(s) following their jurisdictional determination. Candidate mitigation site(s) will be identified in the conceptual mitigation plan and the draft EIS. Following issuance of the record of decision, the final mitigation plan will be developed and submitted to the Corps for approval. Throughout the development and implementation of a mitigation plan, a mitigation project management structure is needed to identify the responsible agency, the implementing agency, the monitoring agency, and timing of implementation in relation to the proposed project. The mitigation project management structure will:

  1. Establish goals and develop objectives
  2. Determine scope of mitigation project
  3. Designate mitigation project management and responsibilities
    1. Identify responsible agency
    2. Identify implementing agency
    3. Identify agency responsible for monitoring
  4. Identify the timing of mitigation in relation to the proposed transportation project.
  1. Identify a mechanism for preserving the mitigation area in perpetuity.
  1. Draft Environmental Document Development
    After addressing all reasonable efforts to avoid and minimize impacts, the remaining unavoidable impacts can be mitigated by rectifying and/or compensating impacts to the affected environment.

Feasibility Study

The feasibility study is a preliminary investigation of candidate mitigation sites. The feasibility study information can be obtained by site visits, cursory investigations, record searches of existing databases, and referencing existing plans and land use documents. The purpose is to quickly determine if conditions exist on site that will support the mitigation activity being proposed.

General Factors

  1. Political considerations
  2. Historical context
  3. Hazardous waste site in area
    1. Resource constraints-archaeology, threatened and endangered species
  4. Human use patterns
  5. Identify present internal and external stresses to the ecosystem
  6. Ownership of the candidate area
  7. Identify and address constraints on the land-easements, rights etc.
  8. Proposed and existing land use for site and adjacent areas
    1. Agricultural or quarantine issues, on, adjacent to site or in the vicinity
  9. Existing Conditions
    1. Physical Factors
      1. Define the candidate area-map, description
      2. Landscape ecology considerations
      3. Soil issues-suitability, disturbed, salinity, toxic
      4. Groundwater hydrology-water table
      5. Surface hydrology
      6. Soil testing-texture, classification
      7. Topography, elevation and drainage pattern
      8. Water quality evaluation
    2. Biological Factors
      1. Determine historical evolution of the existing vegetation
      2. Identify existing habitat values and map habitat features
      3. Determine the extent of degradation on site
      4. Identify wildlife resources present
      5. Conduct plant surveys
      6. Determine if mitigation habitats conform to ecological situation on site
      7. Determine the presence of sensitive species Collection of the preceding information will lead to a conclusion or a determination of suitability-whether the site possesses favorable characteristics which would make a successful mitigation likely.

Conceptual Mitigation Plan

The conceptual mitigation plan includes information about the specific mitigation which further elaborates upon the ability to successfully execute the mitigation. This plan also serves to identify in general terms the extent and nature of the mitigation and should include: § Habitat types and approximate hectares of impact § Plant communities and habitat to be replaced § Functions and values enhanced or created by the mitigation § Discussion of buffer areas and habitat linkages § General discussion of hydraulic design considerations § Listing of species to be used § Cost estimate § Mitigation success criteria § Monitoring criteria for evaluation of the mitigation The 404 application to the Corps will include the management structure, candidate sites, feasibility studies and a conceptual mitigation plan.

Final Environmental Document Development

The final document needs to carry forward the information contained in the draft EIS. The feasibility study conducted during the selection process will determine suitability. The basis for selection will be the adequacy of the site to compensate for the functions and values impacted for the preferred alternative or each alternative in the draft EIS. The Corps will review the final candidate mitigation site(s) as part of its normal review at this stage. Before approval of the final environmental document, the Corps, EPA, and FWS must provide written preliminary agreement on the mitigation site(s).

FONSI / Record of Decision

The final mitigation plan and specifications must be approved by Corps before a permit will be issued. The final mitigation plans and specifications will be completed following the FONSI or record of decision.

Final Mitigation Plan

Several approaches have been formulated for restoring or creating wetlands. Each site has its own circumstances or conditions which dictate the approach or procedure to follow. Each Corps District has developed habitat mitigation and monitoring guidelines which outline the items desirable in a project mitigation plan. These documents should be considered as guidelines with the appropriate level of information and the timing of development dictated by the specific circumstances of the site and mitigation project.

REFERENCES

Abell, D.L. 1989. Proceedings of the California Riparian Systems Conference: protection, management, and restoration for the 1990's; September 22-24, 1988; Davis, CA.

Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-110. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 544p.
Gore, J.A. 1985. The Restoration of Rivers and Streams: Theories and Experience. Butterworth Publishers, Boston. 280p.

Hammer, D.A. 1989. Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment: Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton. 831p.

Hammer, D.A. 1992. Creating Freshwater Wetlands. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton. 298p. "Memorandum of Agreement Between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army Concerning the Determination of Mitigation Under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines," February 6, 1990.

Memorandum of Agreement between California Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game: "Early Mitigation Planning for Transportation Improvements in California," May 13, 1991.

Memorandum to the Field between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, dated August 23, 1993: "Establishment and Use of Wetland Mitigation Banks in the Clean Water Act Section 404 Regulatory Program."

LEVEL OF DATA NEEDS / THRESHOLD FOR INVOLVEMENT

SCOPE OF GUIDANCE

This guidance addresses the interagency process and level of data needed during transportation planning, programming and development for only  waters of the U.S. and associated sensitive species (see glossary). This guidance does not cover the many other sensitive environmental resources and issues (such as threatened and endangered species not associated with aquatic habitats, recreation land, cultural resources, socioeconomic concerns, and air quality) that must also be addressed at these stages as required by the pertinent laws and regulations.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING STAGE

Agency Involvement

All MPO's who find the transportation system or action likely to require a Corps individual section 404 permit should inform the applicable offices of the Federal and State agency MOU signatories.

The MPO and State DOT should consult with other potential sponsoring, regulatory, and resource agencies to determine whether impacts to aquatic resources are likely to be substantial. If so, more detailed studies should be conducted to evaluate potential impacts. This study may be included in a subarea or corridor study. These studies and/or any RTP's that may contain these studies should be submitted to the regulatory and resource agencies for their input before the document is finalized.

The State DOT's should determine on an annual basis which MPO's should meet directly with the resource and regulatory agencies to discuss the aquatic resource issues related to their RTP. The review of the Overall Work Program provides a venue to determine if the budget and work plans of MPO's consider the requirements of the NEPA-404 integration MOU.

MPO's should send a copy of the circulated draft RTP and any associated environmental documents to the appropriate signatory agency contacts as identified in Appendix A. The transmittal letter should indicate whether there are potential significant impacts to aquatic resources.

For MPO's that have formally agreed to follow the NEPA-404 integration process:

During the development of the draft RTP, the State DOT's will "review and comment on the adequacy of information and avoidance of sensitive resources presented in the RTP's and associated environmental analyses" and "request federal regulatory/resource agencies to review and comment on the RTP's and associated environmental analyses" (MOU, page 5).

The Corps, EPA, FWS and NMFS will "provide input to draft RTP's (relating to waters of the U.S. and to associated sensitive species)" and "review and comment on RTP's and associated environmental analyses within the public review period: purpose and need, alternative selection, mode, environmental impacts including cumulative impacts" (MOU, page 5).

For MPO's that have no formal agreement:

During the development of the draft RTP, the State DOT's will "review and comment on the adequacy of information and avoidance of sensitive resources presented in the RTP's and associated environmental analyses" (MOU, page 5).

The State DOT may invite the regulatory and resource agencies to comment when it appears that an RTP will have unavoidable impacts to special aquatic sites. These agencies may then choose to become involved in estimating the extent of the resources at risk, and assessing the adequacy of the avoidance/minimization alternatives.

Data Needs The RTP and associated environmental documentation will contain sufficient information to assess potential impacts to aquatic resources.

Information Sources

The extent and quality of existing resources must be assessed to determine if avoidance alternatives are needed. To accomplish this, information sources that must be consulted at this stage are:

FWS National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) maps, Natural Diversity Data Base (NDDB) or other natural diversity databases (the State DOT's should assist the MPO's with obtaining and accessing NWI maps and the natural diversity databases), FWS Endangered Species office for associated sensitive species lists, maps, and/or Habitat Conservation Plans.

It is recommended that the MPO's also consult the following sources:

  1. geographic information systems (GIS),
  2. USGS quadrangle maps,
  3. aerial photographs (check with the Corps, FWS, general plans, commercial sources),
  4. Soil Conservation Service soil survey maps,
  5. existing environmental documents,
  6. county and local general plans,
  7. individuals, including resource agency and/or academic personnel, who are familiar with the biological resources of the project area, and
  8. any other technical information provided by State DOT's.
  1. Products
    1. At a minimum, the MPO's shall provide the State DOT's and regulatory and resource agencies the following:
      1. The RTP and any associated environmental analyses.
      2. Maps at a scale no larger than USGS 15' quadrangles (1:48,000) of proposed projects or corridors in the RTP that potentially impact special aquatic sites and other waters of the U.S., and/or associated sensitive species. This mapping need not be of publishable quality (e.g., it could be a highlighted quadrangle map or NWI printout). The MPO should attach project descriptions or reference the RTP and/or the environmental analyses. NWI printouts or database printouts will also be attached if they are not otherwise summarized elsewhere.
      3. A quantification of purpose and need (i.e., goals and objectives) at a level of detail commensurate with the level of impacts (see Purpose and Need Guidance).
      4. A range of practicable alternatives that would avoid or minimize the impact to these resources (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance for information on determining practicability).
      5. An identification of preliminary mitigation needs (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance
      6. A discussion of cumulative impacts on special aquatic sites and other waters of the U.S., and associated sensitive species within the documentation.
    2. If the State DOT determines that a draft project assessment/PSR with a subarea, corridor, or other detailed study is needed (see A. Agency Involvement above), the MPO will provide the above information plus USGS 7.5' quadrangles (1:24,000) of the affected resources for each alternative (or an equivalent level of detail).
    3. The RTP will demonstrate that MPO's have (1) used the resource information noted above and integrated it with other planning level mapping, (2) considered alternatives that would avoid impacts to identified resources, and (3) explored opportunities to first, avoid, and then minimize impacts. The RTP documentation should also discuss systems management strategies, mode choices, general location, capacity, and preliminary budget.
  2. PROJECT PROGRAMMING STAGE
    1. Agency Involvement The MOU outlines the activities of each agency.

Data Needs

Information Sources

The project sponsor should consult the information sources required and recommended for the Transportation Planning stage, above, if not done so earlier.

Products

As part of the project study report or project assessment, the project sponsor shall provide the regulatory and resource agencies the following:
A project description including purpose and need (see Purpose and Need Guidance.

Maps that show project alternatives, the aerial extent of and impacts to aquatic resources.

  1. Maps will be no larger than a 1:2400 scale, and need not be of publishable quality (e.g., highlighted maps or NWI printouts).
  2. Maps will depict the general vegetative communities within the study site.
  3. A 16-kilometer (~ten-mile) radius from the project site normally provides a useful frame of reference for developing a list of associated sensitive species to be considered during project studies. However, this will not be adequate in all cases. As a rule of thumb, the project sponsor shall consider all species associated with waters of the U.S. whose range includes the project site and whose life requirements may be met by the aquatic habitat types that are present within the survey area. Potential impacts to associated sensitive species need to be identified as accurately as possible.
  4. The maps of special aquatic sites and other waters of the U.S. should be verified in the field (a windshield survey is adequate).
  5. Following field review, impacts to special aquatic sites should be known to approximately 0.4 hectare (~one acre); impacts to other waters of the U.S. should be known to approximately 1.2 hectares (~three acres).
  1. A discussion of the full range of reasonable alternatives including a focused evaluation of avoidance alternatives, their costs (including mitigation), and general environmental implications (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance).
  2. A comparison (i.e., table or matrix) showing the relative impacts of the project alternatives on:
    1. the quantity (hectares) and general habitat quality of waters of the U.S. (showing special aquatic sites separately),
    2. the quantity (hectares) of associated sensitive species habitat,
    3. the magnitude of other significant environmental and socioeconomic resources.
  3. The estimated functions and values of the proposed compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts of each alternative (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance).
  4. A discussion of cumulative impacts on aquatic resources.
  1. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT STAGE
    1. Agency Involvement
      1. The MOU outlines the activities of each agency. The process in the NEPA EIS-404 Permit Concurrent Process (MOU, Appendix A) should be used by project sponsors preparing EIS's. For EA's or CE's, the project sponsor should refer to the NEPA EA/CE-404 Permit Concurrent Process (MOU, Appendix B).
      2. If sensitive species are identified in the project area, the project sponsor will need to coordinate with the FWS, NMFS, and the State Fish and Game Department to identify the full extent of the sensitive species habitat in the project area, the potential project impacts, and the appropriate avoidance, minimization, and compensatory mitigation measures (Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act).
      3. Should the sensitive species involve listed, proposed, or candidate species or designated or proposed critical habitat, appropriate coordination under the Endangered Species Act will be required (e.g., early consultation, preliminary biological opinion, written request for species/habitat information, biological assessment, informal consultation, formal consultation, biological opinion, conference, and/or conference opinion). Refer to 50 CFR Part 402 for the procedural regulations governing the interagency cooperation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
    2. Data Needs
      Data requirements for the documents reference in the two NEPA-404 Permit Concurrent Processes are described below.

Pre-Scoping (EIS) or Pre-Assessment (EA/CE)

The "pre-scoping information" (see NEPA-404 Permit Concurrent Process) to be included in the project sponsor invitation letter to the regulatory and resource agencies is the information outlined in II.B.2, above and, in particular, should include a discussion of purpose and need (see Purpose and Need Guidance), criteria for selecting the range of alternatives, and the project alternatives to be evaluated in the draft EIS (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance). This information must be developed at this stage if not done so earlier.

The "pre-assessment of waters of the U.S." will consist of the mapping information required at the Programming stage, as outlined above.

Notice of Intent (EIS's only)

The NOI should summarize the following information from the pre-scoping stage:

Purpose and Need (see Purpose and Need Guidance).
Potential Alternatives and their impacts to aquatic resources and other environmental resources (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance).
Potential Mitigation (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance).

Draft Document Development/Corps Permit Application

The project sponsor should refine the purpose and need and alternatives analysis as outlined in the Purpose and Need andAlternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidances for the Project Development stage. The project sponsor shall incorporate any information obtained during the scoping process on waters of the U.S. and associated sensitive species.

The project sponsor shall include the following information on special aquatic sites and other waters of the U.S. in the draft EIS/EA/CE:

  1. A delineation of all wetlands which could be affected by the proposed project on 1:1200 scale maps using the following procedure:
    1. Agricultural Lands In accordance with the terms and procedures of the January 6, 1994 "Memorandum of Agreement Among the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Army Concerning the Delineation of Wetlands for Purposes of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Subtitle B of the Food Security Act," wetland delineations made by the Soil Conservation Service on "agricultural lands" (as defined in that MOA) will use the procedures described in the National Food Security Act Manual, Third Edition (NFSAM).
    2. Non-Agricultural Lands For areas that are not "agricultural lands" (as defined in the above referenced MOA), the procedures described in the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (Technical Report Y-87-1, Department of the Army Waterways Experiment Station) will be used to make wetland delineations applicable to section 404. Data forms supporting the delineation must be included.
  2. A delineation of other waters of the U.S. as follows:
    1. For tidal waters, the high tide line shall be determined as described at 33 CFR 328.3(d).
    2. For non-tidal waters, ordinary high water shall be determined as described at 33 CFR 328.3(e).
  3. Map units should be selected on the basis of a recognized classification system; for California it should be that of the CNDDB (Holland, R. F., 1986, "Preliminary Descriptions of the Terrestrial Natural Communities of California," California Department of Fish and Game, Unpublished Report, 156 pages). (Other classifications may be used in California if site conditions make them more appropriate.) Descriptive information for each mapping unit shall include the distribution of the unit within the study area, an estimate of the total number of hectares present, the dominant plant species, and the relative sensitivity of the vegetation. All plant and animal taxa encountered during site visits shall be listed by vegetation type in an appendix to the draft EIS.
  4. A detailed assessment of the functions and values of wetlands and other waters of the U.S. Functions are the physical, chemical and biological attributes of a wetland/waters without regard to their importance to society. Examples of functions include flood storage, wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge, etc. Values are those wetland/waters functions which generally are regarded as beneficial to society. Examples include recreation, aesthetics, groundwater recharge, etc. The assessment should determine which functions are performed by the wetland/waters, the value of those functions, and how the project will affect the continued performance of the identified functions. The project sponsor may consult the following references for further information on conducting the functions and values assessment:

Adamus, P.R., E.J. Clairain, Jr., R.D. Smith, and R.E. Young. 1987. "Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET); Volume II: Methodology." Operational Draft Technical Report Y-87-, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Brinson, M.M., et. al. "Developing an approach for assessing the functions of wetlands."

In (W.J. Mitsch and R.E. Turner, eds.) Wetlands of the World: Biogeochemistry, Ecological Engineering, Modeling and Management. Elsevier Publishers, Amsterdam.

California Department of Transportation. 1990. "Guidance for Consultants ¾ Procedures for Completing the Natural Environment Study and Related Biological Reports."

Caltrans Office of Environmental Analysis.

The Wetland Evaluation Technique II (WET II) is a methodology for assessing wetland functions and values. It was designed primarily for conducting initial, rapid assessments of wetlands. WET II with professional judgement is the current FHWA-recommended methodology for evaluating wetlands. Wetland assessments need to rely heavily on the wetland biologist's professional judgement and field experience.

  1. A detailed assessment of project impacts on special aquatic sites and other waters as follows:

    1. A discussion of the affected functions and values.
    2. A detailed description of project impacts, including the type of impact (e.g., habitat removal, fragmentation, introduction of exotic species), and its magnitude. These effects must be evaluated in the appropriate local or regional context. In most cases, a regional context will be appropriate. However, in some instances it may be more reasonable to evaluate the resource in a local context. For example, an aquatic habitat may be well represented in the region, but extremely scarce locally.
  2. A detailed purpose and need statement (see Purpose and Need Guidance).

  3. A draft Alternatives Analysis as described in the Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance (including both the "initial" and "refined" analyses).

  4. A feasibility study of candidate mitigation sites (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance).

  1. If associated sensitive species will be affected, the draft document shall also contain the following information:
    1. The biological assessment as described under A. Agency Involvement.
    2. Maps showing the occurrences of all associated sensitive species that have been identified within the survey area in relation to project features.
    3. The size(s) of the population(s) either in terms of numbers of individuals or habitat area occupied.
    4. The portion of the population(s) to be directly affected by each project alternative (expressed as a percentage of the total population in the survey area).
    5. The portion of the population(s) to be indirectly affected by each alternative (expressed as a percentage of the total population in the survey area).
    6. The amount of suitable habitat to be directly or indirectly affected under each alternative (e.g., will changes in habitat values caused by the project affect the long term survival of the population(s)? Are the anticipated effects adverse or beneficial?).
    7. The importance of project impacts within the context of the known distribution of the species (i.e., how many other populations are known to exist? What percentage of the total species numbers will be affected by the current project?).
  2. When the project sponsor is evaluating significant adverse effects in an EIS and there are gaps in relevant information or scientific uncertainty, the project sponsor shall make clear that such information is lacking or that uncertainty exists by following the procedures outlined in 40 CFR § 1502.22.
  3. For environmental assessments, the project sponsors need to state their preliminary determination regarding a FONSI within the draft EA.
  4. The 404 permit application package shall contain:
    1. A completed section 404 permit application form.
    2. Information from the environmental document which provides
      1. a description of the project and its alternatives;
      2. discussions of the impacts to aquatic resources and the proposed mitigation; and
      3. a draft section 404(b)(1) alternatives analysis.
  5. Final EIS/EA/CE Development
    1. The final document shall include:
      1. A final alternatives analysis identifying the NEPA preferred/404 least environmentally damaging practicable alternative (see Alternatives Analysis / Aquatic Resource Avoidance Guidance).
      2. The final feasibility study of mitigation sites, identification of the mitigation site location(s), and a conceptual mitigation plan (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance).
  6. Record of Decision/FONSI/CE

    1. For environmental assessments, the basic decision would be either a finding that there are "significant" impacts to the human environment and an EIS will be prepared, or a finding of no significant impact.
    2. A FONSI will include a discussion of alternatives and mitigation measures that are appropriate to reduce adverse environmental impacts.
    3. A ROD will document the basic decision to carry out either one of the action alternatives or the no action alternative.
    4. ROD's and FONSI's will both include summaries of:
      1. the basis for the decision on the least environmentally practicable alternative, and
      2. the mitigation measures that will be incorporated into the project.
    5. Record of decision's and FONSI's are documents that are available to the public.
  7. Corps Permit Decision Prior to the permit decision, the project sponsor shall:
    1. Provide the final project design and mitigation plans and the mitigation schedule.
    2. Complete the final mitigation plan(s) and specifications (see Compensatory Mitigation Guidance).

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