Integration of Conservation, Highway Planning, and Environmental Permitting Through Development of an Outcome-Based Ecosystem-Scale Approach and Corresponding Credit System

Ecosystem approaches to environmental conservation are now widely accepted and increasingly practiced by federal, state, and local resource agencies. From a highway perspective, the Federal Highway Administration document Eco-Logical: an Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects provides conceptual groundwork for integrated conservation plans and mitigation activities that transcend individual agency jurisdictional boundaries and encourages an outcome-based ecosystem approach to conservation. However, Eco-Logical stops short of providing the tools to implement the principles. SHRP 2 projects C06A (Integration of Conservation, Highway Planning, and Environmental Permitting Environmental Permitting Using an Outcome-Based Ecosystem Approach) and C06B (Integration of Conservation, Highway Planning, and Environmental Permitting Through development of an Outcome-based Ecosystem-scale Approach and Corresponding Credit System) are intended to provide the tools needed to implement the ecological approach. The objective of this project was to create an ecological assessment method for highway capacity enhancements that supports the ecological framework and business model being developed in SHRP 2 Project C06A. The method may be a credits system, an index system, or some other scientifically justifiable method. This project used the cumulative effects assessment and alternatives (CEAA) process to create a credit-based framework for assessing the ecological impacts of highway capacity enhancement projects. Using the latest geospatially explicit conservation planning methods, transportation agencies and resource agencies can develop a shared conservation vision for areas likely to be affected by new transportation projects, resulting in a regional ecosystem framework. Within the CEAA process, guidance is provided on methods that can be used to enhance information about resources regulated under the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act to reach early agreement with the resource agencies on which resources need to be avoided to reduce impacts and agree on mitigation priorities. After the framework--including the CEAA and supporting strategies--was developed, the project team pilot tested the framework in Oregon, Michigan, and Colorado to see if the new approach would result in different decisions, outcomes, or time and cost savings when compared to the traditional planning and project delivery system. The results of this project and project C06A (Integration of Conservation, Highway Planning, and Environmental Permitting Using an Outcome-Based Ecosystem Approach) will be pilot tested in projects C21A-D (Pilot Test the C06A&B Approaches to Environmental Protection).


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project C06(B)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Strategic Highway Research Program 2

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Andrle, Stephen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Oregon State University, Corvallis

    Corvallis, OR  United States  97331
  • Principal Investigators:

    Achterman, Gail

  • Start Date: 20081010
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20130303
  • Source Data: RiP Project 20252

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464316
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project C06(B)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:40PM