Natural Resource Management Guide by lzi10112


                                  Natural Resource Management Guide

State Supplement to:

RD Instruction 1940-G &
RUS Bulletin 1794A-602

Prepared by:

Joshua W. Miller
State Environmental Coordinator

                                          Office of the State Environmental Coordinator
Version 2.2                           655 Parfet Street - Room E100, Lakewood, CO 80215
Last Update: 24 July 2008                (Voice) 720.544.2912 • (Fax) 720.544.2972


                                               Committed to the future of rural communities
                                    Rural Development is an Equal Opportunity Lender, Provider, and Employer.
                                                 Complaints of discrimination should be sent to:
                                       USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, D. C. 20250-9410
1    Overview

2    Endangered and Threatened Species

3    Wild and Scenic Rivers

4    Historical and Archaeological Properties

5    Floodplains & Riparian Areas

6    Wetlands

7    Important Farmlands

8    Important Rangelands & National Grasslands

9    Important Forestlands

10   National Wilderness Areas

11   National Natural Landmarks

12   National Parks

13   National Monuments

14   National Historic Sites

15   National Recreation Areas

16   National Scenic and Historic Trails

17   National Wildlife Areas

18   State Parks and Recreation Areas

19   Native American Cultural Resources

20   Renewable Energy Projects and Other Energy Concerns

21   Air Quality

22   Noise Pollution

23   Water Quality

24   Lead Hazards

25   Radon Hazards

26   Asbestos Hazards

27   Solid Waste Hazards

28   Hazardous and Special Waste

29   Radioactive Waste Hazards

30   Underground Storage Tanks

31   Geological Hazards and Constraints
                                       1               Overview

                                                      This Natural Resource Management Guide provides an overview of “how to
                                                      make projects happen” while maintaining compliance with Rural
                                                      Development environmental requirements. This guide has been authored for
                                                      the Colorado State Rural Development Office of the United States Department
                                                      of Agriculture to take into account important state, regional, and local natural
                                                      resource management objectives.

                                                      Information contained in the Natural Resource Management Guide is
                                                      presented in a summarized form. Many specific technical and legal
                                                      requirements have been generalized. Summary descriptions provided herein
                                                      were not prepared or reviewed by attorneys-at-law or other authorized legal
                                                      experts. This directory, therefore, should only be used as a general reference
                                                      source. This Natural Resource Management Guide is not intended to be
                                                      used in place of legal advice.

                                                      All contents of the Natural Resource Management Guide have been reviewed
                                                      for comment by relevant agencies.

   “We must take heed to use aright the gifts         INTRODUCTION
entrusted to our care. It is not what we have         The Colorado State Office of the United States Department of Agriculture
    that will make us a great nation; it is the       (USDA) – Rural Development has developed this Natural Resource
     way in which we use it.....We must keep          Management Guide for Colorado. This guide has been prepared to assist
steadfastly in mind that no people were ever
    yet benefited by riches if their prosperity       applicants, architects, engineers, and environmental consultants in preparation
  corrupted their virtue.” – Teddy Roosevelt          of the required environmental documentation for Rural Development funded
                                                      projects within the State of Colorado. Rural Development assistance is
                                                      provided through three separate agencies within the Department of
                                                      Agriculture: Rural Housing Service (RHS), Rural Business Service (RBS),
                                                      and Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The environmental reporting requirements
                                                      vary between each of these agencies. Projects receiving financial assistance
                                                      from RHS and RBS comply with RD Instruction 1940-G, Environmental
                                                      Program. Projects receiving financial assistance from RUS comply with Staff
                                                      Instruction 1794-1, Administrative Procedure for Environmental Policies and
                                                      Procedures for Water and Waste Loans and Grants.

                                                      The National Environmental Policy Act is our basic national charter for
                                                      protecting environmental resources. It establishes policy, sets goals, and
                                                      provides a means for carrying these to fruition. The Act contains provisions to
                                                      ensure that Federal agencies act in accordance with the letter and spirit of the

    NEPA procedures ensure that relevant environmental information is available
    and disclosed to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and
    before federal actions are taken. The law requires that this information be of
    high quality. As such, accurate scientific analysis, expert agency comments,
    and proper public scrutiny are essential parts of implementing the NEPA
    process. Most importantly, a NEPA document shall concentrate on those
    issues that are truly significant to the action in question rather than amassing
    needless detail.

    The NEPA process is intended to help public officials make decisions based
    on an understanding of environmental consequences and take actions that
    protect, restore, and enhance the environment.

    The basic contents, purposes, and uses of this Natural Resource Management
    Guide are as follows:

    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide will assist applicants receiving
        financial assistance from either RHS or RBS in the preparation of all
        NEPA documentation as outlined within RD Instruction 1940-G,
        Environmental Program. This documentation will primarily consist of
        completing Form RD 1940-20, Request for Environmental Information.
    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide will assist applicants receiving
        financial assistance from RUS in the preparation of the Environmental
        Report (ER) as outlined in RUS Bulletin 1794A-602, Guide for
        Preparing the Environmental Report for Water and Waste Projects. The
        Environmental Report is to be developed by a pre-qualified
        environmental consultant.
    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide lists environmental regulations
        applicable to RHS, RBS, and RUS projects. It lists degrees of protection
        required by each environmental regulation and lists applicable State and
        Federal Agencies that can be contacted by applicants and/or consultants
        for assistance in determining if their project involves important land
        resources, endangered species, historical sites, etc.
    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide shall serve as a mechanism for
        assembling an inventory of locations within the State where natural
        resources, land uses, or other environmental factors have been identified
        by federal, state, or local authorities whereby some degree of special
        protection or consideration is required.
    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide shall summarize the various
        standards of federal, state, or local protection that apply to those natural
        resources, land uses, and environmental factors identified in the
    •   The Natural Resource Management Guide shall be considered by Rural
        Development in all decisions relating to the use of available program
    •   Applications for individual projects must be reviewed for consistency
        with the Natural Resource Management Guide.

              •   The Natural Resource Management Guide is NOT intended to result in a
                  plan or to be a plan itself. It IS intended to be an explicit framework of
                  major environmental standards and review requirements that have been
                  promulgated at the federal level as well as those particular to the State of

              Rural Development will not approve loans, grants, or guarantees for any
              project which proposes to convert prime or important farmland, forest-
              land, rangeland, or wetlands; or proposes to encroach upon FEMA iden-
              tified 100 Year floodplains – unless it can be documented that no
              practical alternative exists. Such actions are expressly forbidden by law.

 ACHP         Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
   BOR        Bureau of Reclamation (U.S.)
  CCIA        Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs
CDPHE         Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  CNHI        Colorado Natural Heritage Inventory
   COE        Army Corps of Engineers (U.S.)
  CPSC        Consumer Product Safety Commission (U.S.)
   CDA        State Department of Agriculture (Colorado)
    CFS       State Forest Service (Colorado)
   CGS        Geological Survey (Colorado)
   CHS        State Historical Society (Colorado)
   CWC        Wildlife Commission (Colorado)
 CWCB         Water Conservation Board (Colorado)
   DNR        Department of Natural Resources (Colorado)
   DOE        Department of Energy (U.S.)
    DOI       Department of the Interior (U.S.)
   DOT        Department of Transportation (U.S.)
  DOW         Division of Wildlife (Colorado)
    EPA       Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.)
   FAA        Federal Aviation Administration (U.S.)
   FDA        Food and Drug Administration (U.S.)
     FS       Forest Service (U.S.)
   FWS        Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S.)
   HUD        Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S.)
 MSHA         Mine Safety and Health Administration (U.S.)
   NAP        Natural Areas Program (Colorado)
 NEPA         National Environmental Policy Act
    NPS       National Park Service (U.S.)
 OSHA         Occupational Safety and Health Administration (U.S.)
  NRCS        Natural Resource Conservation Service (U.S.)
     RD       Rural Development (U.S.)
    RHS       Rural Housing Service (U.S.)
    RBS       Rural Business-Cooperative Service (U.S.)
    RUS       Rural Utilities Service (U.S.)
  SHPO        State Historic Preservation Officer
 USDA         Department of Agriculture (U.S.)
  USGS        Geological Survey (U.S.)
   WRC        Water Resources Council (U.S.)
                               POLICIES AND GUIDELINES

         General Policy        Rural Development shall consider environmental quality as equal with
                               economic, social, and other relevant factors in program development and the
                               decision making process.

                               In assessing the potential environmental impacts of its actions, Rural
                               Development shall consult early with appropriate federal, state, and local
                               agencies and other organizations to provide decision-makers with the
                               technical and human aspects of environmental planning.

                               When adverse environmental impacts are identified, either direct or indirect,
                               an examination shall be made of alternative courses of action (including their
                               potential environmental impacts). The objective of the environmental review
                               shall be to develop a reasonable alternative with the least adverse
                               environmental impact. The alternative of not proceeding with the proposal
                               shall also be considered, particularly with respect to the need for the proposal.

                               If no reasonable alternative exists, including the no-action alternative, then
                               measures to mitigate the identified adverse environmental impacts shall be
                               included in the proposal.

                               The performance of environmental reviews and the consideration of
                               alternatives shall occur as early as possible in the Rural Development decision
                               making process so that the agency will be in the most objective position to
                               evaluate all considerations. For RUS programs, the Environmental Report
                               must be developed concurrently with the Preliminary Engineering Report
                               (PER). Additionally, the Environmental Report shall be a stand-alone
                               document and shall not reference the PER; however, the PER may reference
                               the Environmental Report.

        Special Policies
Important Land Resources       Rural Development recognizes that its specific mission of assisting rural
                               communities, farms, and towns goes hand-in-hand with protecting
                               environmental resources upon which such systems are dependent. Basic
                               resources necessary to rural settlements include prime or important farmlands,
                               rangelands, and forestlands as well as wetlands and floodplains. The definition
                               of these areas is contained in the Appendix to the Departmental Regulation
                               9500-3, Land Use Policy.

                               Given the importance of these resources, as emphasized in the Departmental
                               Regulation, Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management, Executive
                               Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands, and SEC 363 [7 USC 2006e] of the
                               Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT), it is the policy of
                               Rural Development that no loan or program shall be approved or funded
                               that, as a result of identifiable direct or indirect impacts, would lead to or
                               accommodate either the conversion of these land uses or encroachment
                               upon them – unless it can be documented that no practical alternative

            Endangered Species         Rural Development shall not authorize or fund any proposal or project that is
                                       likely to (1) jeopardize the continued existence of any plant or wildlife species
                                       listed by the Secretary of the Interior or Commerce as endangered or
                                       threatened; or (2) destroy or adversely modify the habitats of listed species
                                       when such habitats have been determined critical to the species’ existence by
                                       the Secretary of Interior or Commerce, unless Rural Development has been
                                       granted an exemption for such proposal by the Endangered Species
                                       Committee pursuant to subsection (h) of Section 7 of the Endangered Species
                                       Act. Equal protection is provided for state identified species.

         Wild and Scenic Rivers        Rural Development shall not provide financial assistance or plan approval for
                                       any water resource project that would have any effect upon a river which has
                                       been either included in or is designated for potential addition to the National
                                       Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Additionally, Rural Development shall not
                                       approve or assist any development (commercial, industrial, residential,
                                       farming, community facility, etc.) located above or below a wild, scenic, or
                                       recreational river area, nor on any stream or tributary thereto which will
                                       invade the area or unreasonable diminish the scenic, recreational, fish, or
                                       wildlife values present.

Historic and Cultural Properties       At the earliest stages of consideration of an application, Rural Development
                                       will initiate Section 106 Consultation, identify any properties that are listed in,
                                       or may be eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places and
                                       are located within the project’s “area of potential effect,” apply the criteria of
                                       effect, make a finding of effect, and resolve any adverse effects. Section 106
                                       Consultation shall be undertaken with the office of the State Historic
                                       Preservation Officer, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, appropriate Indian
                                       Tribal Nations, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
                                       Additionally, public involvement shall be encouraged throughout the process
                                       and may require publication and or public meeting as warranted.

                                       All Section 106 Consultation for Historic and Cultural Properties shall be
                                       performed in compliance with the Colorado Programmatic Agreement for
                                       Compliance with Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act.

Water and Energy Conservation          Rural Development shall encourage the conservation of water and energy in
                                       the development of its programs and policies, and Rural Development shall
                                       likewise encourage applicants to incorporate all economically feasible water
                                       and energy saving features and designs within their proposals.

   Intergovernmental Initiatives       On a broad scale, Rural Development shall advocate, in coordination with
                                       other USDA agencies (through the USDA state-level-committee system), the
                                       retention of important farmlands, rangelands, and forestlands as well as
                                       wetlands and floodplains whenever proposed conversions to other uses (1) are
                                       caused or encouraged by actions or programs of a federal agency, or (2)
                                       require licensing or approval by a federal and/or a state agency unless other
                                       needs clearly override the benefits derived from retention of such lands.

                  Water Quality        Rural Development shall not provide financial assistance for any activity that
                                       would either impair a state water quality standard (including designated and/or
                                       existing beneficial uses that water quality criteria are designed to protect) or
                                       would not meet anti-degradation requirements.

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