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					      Second Nature
   Improving Transportation
 Without Putting Nature Second

Presenter, Affiliation
Event or Conference

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       Presentation Outline
• Introduction              • Solutions Cont’d
• Impacts                          – Wildlife Crossings
• Solutions                        – Public Lands
  – Conservation                   – Native Vegetation
    Planning                • Conclusion
  – Conservation            • Recommendations
  – Interagency

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• Transportation projects often have major
  impacts on the environment
• The federal environmental review process,
  NEPA, has been unfairly blamed for causing
  project delays, and is the focus of several
  efforts to “streamline” the environmental
  review process
• Several states have implemented programs
  or processes by which they can both
  protect the environment and improve
  project delivery

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          The Many Threats of
•   Roadkill
•   Habitat Loss

                                    Photo by Patricia White, Defenders of Wildlife
•   Air and Soil Pollution
•   Water Pollution
•   Noise Pollution
•   Invasive Species
•   Sprawl

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• 1 million vertebrates killed every day
• For some species, roadkill rate exceeds
  death rate from natural causes
• Some species are particularly threatened
  by collisions with cars
  –   Florida panther

                                             Photo by Chuck Bartlebaugh
  –   Florida black bear
  –   Key deer
  –   Grizzly bear

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            Habitat Loss
• The most significant threat to
  endangered species, imperiling 85% of
  those species
• Direct habitat loss
• Fragmentation
• Habitat degradation
• Road effect zone impacts
  15 to 20 percent of the

                                          Andy Singer
  land area of the U.S.

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         Air and Soil Pollution
• Motor vehicles are a primary source
  of pollutants
    – One study of
      important roadside
      pollutants found
      that 83% came from
      cars and trucks
•   Air pollutants
•   Acid rain
•   Toxics
•   Heavy metals
•   Road salts       Second Nature
           Water Pollution
• Roads and highways are impervious
  – A one-acre parking lot produces about 16
    times as much runoff as a one-acre meadow
  – When more than 10% of a watershed is
    covered by impervious surfaces, waterways
    become biologically degraded
• Erosion
• Nutrient loading
• Heavy metals and other pollutants
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            Noise Pollution
• Noise from cars and trucks is a primary
  reason for road avoidance
• Causes stress in animals
  – Increased heart rates
  – Increased production of stress hormones
• Abnormal reproductive behavior
• Noise levels as low as that in a library
  have been found to have an impact

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             Invasive Species
• Impact nearly half of endangered
• Cost the U.S. about $137 billion

                                      Norman E. Rees, USDA ARS (
• Roads help spread invasives
  –   Direct planting of invasives
  –   Road maintenance
  –   Acting as corridors
  –   Degraded habitat more
      more favorable to invasives

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• Roads and highways facilitate development
  – Highway-oriented
    development tends to
    be auto-oriented and
    low density
  – Sprawling
    encourages more
  – Sprawling
    development leads to     Adapted from the Greenbelt Alliance, Reviving the
    more road-building       Sustainable Metropolis: Guiding Bay Area Conservation
                             and Development into the 21st Century (San Francisco:
                             Greenbelt Alliance, 1989), p.9

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• Some states have attempted to lessen the
  environmental impacts of transportation
  projects through:
  –   Integrated Planning
  –   Conservation Banking
  –   Interagency Coordination
  –   Wildlife Crossings
  –   Alternative Transportation on Public Lands
  –   Use of Native Vegetation

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        Integrated Planning
• An approach that coordinates habitat
  conservation, land use, and
• Occurs in advance of project
• Uses GIS mapping to identify potential

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     Florida’s Planning Process
• Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Process
• Proposed transportation
  projects are screened by
  regional Environmental
  Technical Advisory Teams
  based on criteria
  including social and
  environmental impacts
• Overlays maps of short-
  and long-range
  transportation plans on
  maps showing state
  habitat plan

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Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan
• SDCP was developed in
  response to the listing of a
  pygmy owl species
• Identified six habitat types
• Especially ecologically or
  culturally sensitive areas are
  designated as Environmentally

                                        Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
  Sensitive Lands (ESL)
• Transportation projects
  proposed for ESL areas must
  minimize disturbances to
  natural and cultural resources

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Key Deer Habitat Conservation Plan
 • Established because of high
   roadkill rate of endangered Key
 • Takes into account the impact of
   potential development on the
   Key deer
 • Covers residential, commercial,
   and transportation infrastructure

                                          USFWS/National Key Deer Refuge
 • Will ultimately provide basis of a
   Master Plan for future

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      Recommendations for
       Integrated Planning
• Utilize existing landscape-level
  conservations plans
• States should adopt a Comprehensive
  Wildlife Conservation Plan
• Identify mitigation sites or banks in
  advance of project impacts
• Provide adequate training on the
  incorporation of conservation planning
• Monitor planning initiatives
• Involve the public
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  Opportunities for Integrated
  Planning in Reauthorization
• Add a planning objective for wildlife
• Provide support to states to acquire and
  utilize biodiversity plans
• Reward states that incorporate
  conservation plans to promote ecological
• Provide funding for scenario-planning

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      Conservation Banking
• Large, contiguous areas of viable habitat
  are purchased and protected in
  anticipation of future demands for
  transportation project mitigation
• Where a project has impacts that cannot
  be avoided, the sponsoring agency can
  apply mitigation credits earned under the
  conservation bank
• Conservation banking is proactive rather
  than piecemeal
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   Colorado’s Shortgrass Prairie
• Developed by Colorado DOT, FHWA, USFWS, Colorado
  Division of Wildlife, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
• Established in anticipation of
  impacts from the 20-year state
  transportation plan
• Colorado DOT and FHWA will
  develop land-management
  plans to meet mitigation

                                                           Ron Singer, USFWS
• TNC and other organizations
  will act as hosts, managing and
  overseeing the protected

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North Carolina’s Palmetto Pear Tree
 • Established by the North Carolina DOT,
   USFWS, and The Conservation Fund
   (TCF) to protect habitat for the
   endangered red-cockaded woodpecker
 • 9,732 acres of habitat purchased by
   NCDOT from Pru Timber
 • TCF will manage the site
 • NCDOT can use credits from the
   conservation bank only when a
   transportation project has unavoidable

 • The credit ratio will range from 1:1 to
   3:1, to be decided on a case-by-case

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      Recommendations for
      Conservation Banking
• Use conservation banking only when
  avoiding and minimizing impacts is
• Create a revolving fund to help states
  acquire habitat
• Use conservation plans to identify the
  most ecologically valuable lands for
• Site conservation banks strategically
• Develop a statewide MOU among all
  involved parties
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Opportunities for Conservation
 Banking in Reauthorization
• Create a federal revolving fund to help
  states acquire important habitat
• Encourage states to use conservation
  plans to identify banking opportunities
• Establish a small business loan program
  to encourage entrepreneurs in
  conservation banking
• Amend the banking preference to allow
  maximum flexibility for the most
  effective mitigation

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    Interagency Coordination
• Established in response to
  “environmental streamlining” provisions
  of TEA-21
• Encourages collaboration between
  transportation agencies and natural and
  cultural resource agencies
• Formal or informal working groups
• Has the potential to reduce project delay
  and better protect the environment

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      Oregon’s CETAS Program
• Collaborative Environmental and Transportation
  Agreement for Streamlining
• Established a working relationship between ten state and
  federal agencies
• Involves resource agencies early and continuously in the
  planning stage of major projects
• Oregon DOT seeks concurrence from the agencies in the
  project’s purpose and need, range of alternatives to be
  studied, criteria for selecting a preferred alternative, and
  selection of the preferred alternative
• Oregon DOT also funds several positions at resource

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        California’s Tri-Agency
• Established a partnership between the California
  Environmental Protection Agency, the Resources Agency,
  and the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
• Encourages member agencies to work together early and
• Works to ensure the timely delivery of transportation
  projects that protect or restore the state’s environment
• Has helped instill a greater awareness of opportunities to
  incorporate environmental enhancements in
  transportation projects

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      Recommendations for
    Interagency Coordination
• Fund FTEs at resource agencies
• Establish Environmental Review
  Committees composed of high-level
  representatives from relevant state and
  federal agencies
• Environmental Review Committee should
  meet regularly to discuss upcoming

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 Opportunities for Interagency
Coordination in Reauthorization
• Retain Section 1309
• Provide financial incentives for states to
  adopt coordination agreements
• Reward states that show progress in
  project delivery by working in
  coordination with agencies and the public
• Allow resource agencies to apply directly
  to DOT for eligible reimbursement
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         Wildlife Crossings
• Roads fragment habitat, contributing to
  the loss of genetic integrity, and causing
• Wildlife crossings are intended to connect
  habitat that has been fragmented by a
  road or highway
• Wildlife crossings originated in Europe
  and include both overpasses and

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    Florida’s Wildlife Crossings
• Collisions with cars and trucks threatens to push the
  endangered Florida panther to extinction
• In the reconstruction of
  Alligator Alley (re-designated
  as I-75), Florida DOT
  installed 24 underpasses
• Roadkill and radio telemetry
  data were assessed to
  determine the best locations
  for the underpasses
• Fences were installed along
  the highway to help direct

  animals to the underpasses

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             Montana’s U.S. 93
• The reconstruction of US 93 had been very contentious,
  prompting strong public outcry and keeping the project in
  limbo for many years
• More recently, Montana DOT and
  its contractors made a concerted
  effort to involve the public in the
  reconstruction design

                                                              Patricia White, Defenders of Wildlife
• The new effort called for the
  reconstruction to incorporate a
  “spirit of place”
• That “spirit of place” or context
  sensitive design will include at
  least 42 wildlife crossings,
  ranging from fish culverts to
  open-span overpasses

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 Recommendations for Wildlife
• Conduct habitat connectivity studies to
  determine the best locations for crossings
• Retrofit existing roadways to include
• Ensure the success of crossings by
  acquiring habitat on either side of the
• Monitor the crossings
• Use signs to alert motorists of wildlife
• Reduce speed limits in wildlife areas
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    Opportunities for Wildlife
   Crossings in Reauthorization
• Maintain funding for the Transportation
  Enhancements program at present levels or
• Provide research funding for habitat
  connectivity studies
• Enable states to use federal funds to
  construct crossings even when no other
  roadway work is being done
• Create a safety grant program to encourage
  states to build crossings to reduce collisions
  between motorists and animals
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             Public Lands
• Federal lands provide habitat for about two-
  thirds of threatened or endangered species
• Public land managers must provide access
  to the public while protecting biodiversity
• A car-oriented strategy to providing public
  access has led National Parks and Refuges
  to become choked with polluting, noisy
• Some National Parks and Refuges are now
  turning to public transit to provide access

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     Utah’s Zion National Park
            Shuttle Bus
• Zion National Park had been overwhelmed by cars, RVs,
  and tour buses
• Traffic congestion, lack of
  parking, air pollution, and noise
  was frustrating visitors and park
• In response, the park began
  offering free shuttle buses
  during peak months, at the

                                                          National Park Service
  same time prohibiting private
• The shuttles, including 2 electric
  buses, are popular with visitors

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    Texas’s Santa Ana National
      Wildlife Refuge Tram
• The Santa Ana National
  Wildlife Refuge interpretative
  tram has been operating for
  more than 15 years
• Cooperative effort between
  the Valley Nature Center and
  the National Wildlife Refuge
• Private vehicles are
  prohibited from the Refuge

                                        Mike Quinn
  when the tram is in operation
• Annual ridership exceeds
  6,000 passengers

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  Recommendations for Public
• Maintain roads on public lands in an
  environmentally-sensitive manner,
  and use only native species in ROWs
• Practice context-sensitive solutions
• Weigh the need for additional roads
  against environmental impacts
• Increase public awareness of wildlife
• Provide alternatives to driving
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 Opportunities for Public Lands
      in Reauthorization
• Reauthorize and fully fund the
  National Scenic Byways, Emergency
  Relief for Federally-Owned Roads,
  Recreational Trails, and Transportation
  Enhancements programs
• Increase funding for Fix-it-First
  programs on public lands
• Provide dedicated funding for
  alternative transportation
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           Native Vegetation
• Invasive species threaten biodiversity and
  cause $137 billion in economic losses
• 1999 Executive Order seeks “to prevent the
  introduction of invasive species and provide
  for their control”
• US DOT Policy Statement directed state
  DOTs to actively implement the Executive
• FHWA issued guidelines to help states meet
  these directives
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Iowa’s Living Roadway Program
• Established through a partnership between the Iowa DOT
  and the Roadside Management Program at the University of
  Northern Iowa
• Roadside ROW provides
  600,000 acres of prairie
  habitat in Iowa
• The program establishes a
  trust fund to provide funds for
  the development and
  implementation of Integrated

                                                             Iowa Living Roadway Program
  Roadside Vegetation
  Management plans
• Requires 50 percent of trees
  and shrubs, and all grasses
  and forbs to be native species

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   Recommendations for Native
• Develop and adopt Integrated Roadside
  Vegetation Management plans
• Coordinate and compile vegetation inventories
• Establish statewide invasives clearinghouses
• Provide training
• Develop education programs for the public
• Sponsor pilot projects
• Conduct research and monitoring of project
• Reward managers and communities for
  exemplary efforts
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    Opportunities for Native
  Vegetation in Reauthorization
• Provide funding for statewide inventories of
  vegetation in ROWs
• Require discontinuation of non-native
  species in vegetation management
• Provide incentives for native species
• Institute a small business loan program for
  growers to establish native seeds and stock
• Provide funding to educate and train
  practitioners on native vegetation
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• Conflicts between transportation and
  biodiversity have never been greater
• Current efforts to weaken NEPA will do
  little to improve project delivery and
  could seriously jeopardize the natural
  and cultural resources
• Instead, many states and agencies are
  beginning to recognize that there are
  ways to both meet transportation needs
  and do a better job of protecting
  environmental and cultural resources
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           Conclusion Cont’d
• The states and agencies profiled in this
  report have met these dual goals through
  innovative practices such as:
  – Comprehensively planning for biodiversity
  – Proactively mitigating environmental impacts
    through conservation banking and wildlife
  – Improving coordination among transportation
    and resource agencies
  – Promoting alternative transportation on public
  – Promoting the use of native vegetation
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1.   Integrate conservation      4. Build wildlife crossings
     planning into                  where necessary to repair
     transportation planning        ecological damage and
2.   Use conservation               restore connectivity
     banking in concert with     5. Provide alternative
     large scale conservation       transportation and
     plans to mitigate for          maintain roads on public
     unavoidable impacts            lands in a manner
3.   Coordinate with                consistent with
     resource agencies early,       surrounding natural
     substantively, and             resources
     continuously throughout     6. Use only native species in
     the planning process           roadside vegetation
     and project development        management
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For More Information…

  Habitat and Highways Campaign

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