U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Resource Center
|Volume 1, Issue 1||
Dear Environmental Colleague,
1 National Roadside Vegetation Management Issues
First National Roadside Vegetation Management Workshop, by Jerry Barkdoll, Environmental Program Specialist
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the FHWA Resource Center's Environmental Technical Service Team co-hosted the first-ever NATIONAL ROADSIDE VEGETATION MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP in Norfolk, VA, December 1-3, 2004. This was, the sixth such workshop to be held on this subject in the Mid-Atlantic region, and marks the first time all 52 State DOT and FHWA Division vegetation program managers were invited. Over 100 specialists from both management and operations ranks came together from ten States to confront problems and constraints faced by public works agencies throughout the United States and to look for solutions and technologies available to address them.
"It was good to hear how other States handle similar problems." T.O.M., Fredericksburg, VA
FHWA Virginia Division Administrator Roberto Fonseca-Martinez, delivering the program opener, was followed by FHWA's Bonnie Harper-Lore. Bonnie provided a National Perspective on Roadside Management in the United States and laid the foundation for subsequent discussions on invasive plant species, a.k.a. weeds, that are becoming major problems along our Nation's highway corridors.
" . . . presentation on DOT partnerships -- very impressive . . . what can be accomplished with teamwork to save money, work more efficiently, educate public and beautify roadway." Anonymous, participant evaluation
New Jersey Workshop on Indirect and Cumulative Effects by Brian Smith, Biology/Water Quality Specialist
On January 25, 2005, Federal and state agencies participated in an Indirect and Cumulative Impacts workshop in Trenton, New Jersey. On hand were the New Jersey Division of FHWA, USEPA, U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, New Jersey DOT and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The Resource Center was represented by Brian Smith who presented the workshop. The resources agencies also provided their perspectives and regulations on indirect and cumulative impacts.
The workshop produced several rallying points for the participating agencies including early coordination, sharing the NJDEP GIS database, and improving the perception of Federal projects. Projects that consider local agencies and stakeholders of localized ecological, economic, and social factors and advice in developing mitigation measures receive more public involvement. Providing assistance and outreach to local agencies and stake-holders improves the public's perception of highway projects.
Nevada NEPA Process Review Nears Completion by Mary Ann Rondinella
The team completed its report and briefed NV Division and NDOT management on January 21, 2005. The report includes a proposed action plan to implement the recommendations. For more information, please contact Mary Ann Rondinella, (720) 963-3207, email MaryAnn.Rondinella@fhwa.dot.gov.
The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and the FHWA's Nebraska Division Office recently completed a review of the Sediment and Erosion Control Program statewide. Teams from the NDOR and the FHWA reviewed specifications and plans; interviewed project managers, inspectors, and contractors; and performed field visits to document the performance of different control measures. The initial review and interviews identified some issues that needed immediate correction--specifically payment, the development of specifications, and training on how to implement and maintain control measures. To assist in the effort, Brian Smith and David Sullivan from the FHWA Resource Center's Environment TST conducted a series of 1/2 - and 1-day workshops over a 2-month period to train NDOR's field personnel from across the State on the basis of sediment and erosion control. During the construction season of 2004, the team also performed several construction inspections, specifically reviewing temporary erosion control measures.
- Continue monitoring experimental temporary measures and disseminate information.
A report on this review was completed. For a copy, or to discussion the findings, please contact NDOR's Construction Division Office or Dan Briggs (Transportation Engineer) or Bryan Cawley (Operations Team Manager) both of FHWA's Nebraska Division Office at (402) 437-5521.
Don Smith of North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), spoke of North Carolina's Roadsides and On-going/Future Challenges. North Carolina is famous for the magnificent wildflower displays along its roadsides, but officials there have the same overall vegetation problems as all other States, namely, more work to be done than people or money to do it.
SB 260 - It is one of the best roadside initiatives we've seen in recent years." Anonymous, from participant evaluation
A valuable suggestion came from the workshop floor that a list of Virginia-specific invasive plants be distributed Statewide as soon as it is completed, listing species that should never be considered for these designs. Unfortunately some suppliers and landscape architects are still recommending invasive species for current plantings. Such a list could be published as a State DOT specification, thus negating the need to continuously veto poor selections when designs are submitted. It was also suggested that designs using native plant species should be encouraged, or even promoted, since the survival history of native species is better and they require less irrigation and maintenance.
Vic Merullo of Merullo, Reister, & Swinford Co., an attorney has specialized in the law of trees,
Being carriers of West Nile Fever and other diseases, mosquitoes can also be our nemeses, reported David Gaines, Virginia Dept. of Health, in his talk--Mosquito Management. He described how ponded water on highway rights-of-way may provide a perfect incubator for mosquitoes, depending upon rain patterns. Attendees learned that you must know and understand the local mosquito species and effective control measures for these local species in order to develop an effective eradication effort.
"Alternative Use of Native Plants/It made me aware of plants I had no idea were invasive"
"Require" DA's, DME's and at least (1) employee in upper level residency management to attend (for each Residency) in the State . . . Overall, good conference and thank you so very much for holding this conference! I hope this type of conference will occur at least once every two years." Roadside Manger, Staunton, VA
Three New Members Join the TST-ENV Team
David Grachen - Atlanta
On January 23rd, David joined the resource center's TST-ENV Team as an Environmental Specialist. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B. S. in Civil Engineering. David joined the FHWA in 1987 and has served in various environmental, project development, and construction positions in several locations during his career. Most recently, David served as the Project Development Manager for the FHWA Georgia Division and directed a staff having oversight for the environmental, preliminary design, and right-of-way activities associated with Georgia's one (1) billion dollar/year Federal-aid Highway Program. In addition to his Division responsibilities, David has also served as a nationwide instructor for both the Basic NEPA and the Introductory Public Involvement courses delivered by the National Highway Institute for the past several years. He plans to continue such service at the Resource Center. Last year, Dave was instrumental in assisting Georgia DOT in completion of an award winning project that developed advanced mitigation of transportation impacts to a Native America cultural district in north Georgia and produced a video documentary of the tribal consultation process. He also led a multi-agency wetland and stream mitigation banking effort that was recognized with an FHWA Exemplary Ecosystem Award in 2004. Feel free to contact David at (404) 562-3652, and, at David.Grachen@fhwa.dot.gov, for technical assistance or training in these environmental areas.
Kimberly Majerus - Olympia Fields, IL
Kimberly Majerus opted to join our staff after departing a Program Coordinator position in the Project Management Branch, Chicago District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, accepting a position with the FHWA, Resource Center-Olympia Fields, TST-ENV Team as a Biology/Water Quality Specialist. In her most recent position with the Corps, Kimberly was responsible for coordinating projects involving restoration of ecosystems and natural habitats, stream bank stabilization, flood control, and environmental enhancement. In previous assignments with the Corps, Kimberly led teams responsible for implementation of several types of federal projects. This project work included planning for, and maintenance of compliance with the environmental requirements concerning NEPA, threatened and endangered species, wetlands, water quality, and, conservation and preservation of natural and cultural resources. Her project management experience turned on her responsibility for scope, schedule and budget for these projects. In addition to experience with the Corps, Kimberly served for three years as Head of the Environmental Studies Unit for District One of the Illinois Department of Transportation. Kimberly earned both her B. S. in Natural Resource Conservation and her M. S. in Forest Ecology from the University of Illinois. Kimberly can be reached for assistance by either email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone at (708) 283-3500.
Kevin Moody - Atlanta, GA
Also on January 23rd, Kevin Moody joined the FHWA Resource Center as an Environmental Protection Specialist. Kevin was most recently the Regional Environmental Coordinator for the Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In that position, Kevin coordinated NEPA activities for the Southeast Region; provided technical assistance and support on NEPA-related matters, including internal compliance consultations and reviews of planning documents from other agencies. He worked with counterparts in other agencies to resolve NEPA-related conflicts and served as one of two NEPA course instructors for the Service. He previously held positions in NEPA compliance and habitat restoration with the Bureau of Reclamation in California. Kevin graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA with a B. S. in Environment and Technology. Kevin can be reached by email at email@example.com, or telephone at (404) 562-3570.
Where Rubber Meets the Road: Tire/Pavement Noise Strategic Planning by Mike Roberts, Biology/Water Quality Specialist, and Mary Ann Rondinella, Environment Program Specialist
On September 14-17, 2004, the Institute for Safe, Quiet, and Durable Highways at Purdue University hosted an exciting workshop on this rapidly evolving topic. Sponsored by the FHWA, the workshop brought together attendees from State transportation agencies, consultants, academia, and tire manufacturers, as well as FHWA Headquarters Noise Team and field office representatives. The FHWA Resource Center was represented.
Dr. Bob Bernhard of Purdue University and Bob Armstrong (just before retiring from FHWA Headquarters) gave welcoming remarks. They were followed by excellent technical presentations on the mechanisms of tire noise generation and techniques to measure and analyze tire noise. Bob Armstrong gave an overview of the FHWA Quiet Pavement Pilot Program and explained that current policy does not recognize the use of pavement type for noise abatement. The pilot program is intended to evaluate the effectiveness of quite pavement strategies. Once the pilot studies are completed, FHWA will evaluate the results to determine if policy changes are needed.
Chris Corbisier of FHWA Headquarters presented the results of the FHWA international scan tour of quiet pavement technologies. Several European nations are using pavement type as part of an overall noise abatement strategy. Some nations also regulate the amount of noise tires are allowed to generate. The first day concluded with a tour and demonstration of Purdue University's tire/pavement noise test apparatus.
On the second day, representatives from the Arizona, Florida and California DOT's gave presentations on their experiences with quiet pavements. Each of the agencies began with different approaches. In Florida, the use of open graded friction courses was prompted by the desire to improve safety, not reduce noise. Arizona DOT was prompted to strive for quieter pavement under pressure from elected officials. Caltrans recognized that public awareness of quiet pavements is increasing, and sound walls have limitations and drawbacks. Caltrans has studied pavement and bridge deck noise at several locations. While all three agencies measured noise reductions, some of the empirical data they collected contradicted earlier data.
Possible reasons include the lack of standard tire noise measurement methodology, and lack of a standard way to characterize pavements. Breakout sessions on design, construction, maintenance, research, analysis and policy were conducted to identify current and desired levels of practice and expertise. After identifying gap areas in all six topic areas, the attendees voted to prioritize the six lists into one set. The highest priority gap areas were in policy, maintenance, design 7 (including noise test procedure) analysis and research. optimization of pavement types, and noise measurement methodologies for U.S. applications.
The FHWA has published the proceedings of the workshop (FHWA-HEP-05-007). The proceedings include the Roadmap to Quieter Highways, which outlines near term and long term activities to address the gaps identified during the workshop.
Here are a few of the upcoming events of interest to the environmental community:
April 3-6, 2005
April 10-12, 2005
April 16-19, 2005
April 18-22, 2005
May 24 - May 26, 2005
June 04, 2005
l2/13/05 Climate Chaos: Hottest Summer and costliest hurricane season on record, bears wake early from hibernation, Australia suffers its worst drought in 100 yrs, multiple hurricanes hammer FL., Algeria had its worst snow in 50 yrs.
1/4/05 Endangered and Threatened Species: Notice of Public Hearings on Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for Seven evolutionary Significant Units of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Steelhead (O. Mykiss) in California.
TST Editorial Board Members:
David Grachen, Dan Harris, Brian Smith, and David Sullivan FHWA Resource Center
Deborah Vocke, FHWA Resource Center Marketing Specialist (410) 962-3744 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Due to Quarterly publication schedule, all article submissions for future issues are due to the Editor-In-Chief by the 15th of February, May, August, and/or November If you would like to receive this newsletter electronically, please send your email address to: Deborah.Vocke@fhwa.dot.gov.