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Nepa/404 integrated process—a case study

  • Mary D, Frazier
Published Article
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2001
Road Ecology Center John Muir Institute of the Environment
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This paper discusses the environmental review involved in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 4 miles of new highway through a relatively pristine large contiguous forest, palustrine forested wetlands containing forest interior dwelling birds and coastal plain stream. The EIS presents the results of the Maryland’s Streamlined Environmental and Regulatory Process (2000) that has been completed to address both National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Section 404 Permit requirements. The process involved invertebrate sampling, electrofishing, and wetland delineation. The jurisdictional determination field reviews lasted for weeks. The interagency team selected the preferred crossing of Windlass Run and revisions were made to the selected alternate to minimize environmental impacts. Functional assessment of the wetlands involved a shortened version of Evaluation of Planned Wetlands. Secondary and cumulative effects were considered, which involved a land use study conducted by a team of real estate professionals and engineers to illustrate the need for the highway, which was to provide improved access from the regional transportation network to planned major economic sites. Original estimates of wetland impacts from a previous study averaged 25 acres, and this was narrowed by avoidance and minimization to 9.3 acres. The Integrated NEPA/404 Process saved time and money and should be considered for other projects wherever possible.

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