Like other stakeholders, resource and regulatory agency staff have particular perspectives and specific constraints relating to their availability for involvement in the project.
Develop Agency Outreach Plan
The "Reflecting Community Values" section of the report described
the development of a public involvement plan (Section D). The development of
a plan for involving resource, regulatory, and other agencies is similar, and
is often included as part of the public involvement plan. Organizations typically
consulted include federal transportation agencies (Federal Highway Administration,
Federal Transit Administration); state DOTs; local transportation and land use
agencies (cities, counties, MPOs); Native American tribal organizations; federal
resource agencies (Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Forest
Service, U.S. Parks Department); and other state natural resource/environmental
protection/land use agencies such as Departments of Natural Resources and State
Historic Preservation Offices.
Like other stakeholders, resource and regulatory agency staff have particular
perspectives and specific constraints relating to their availability for involvement
in the project. In planning for the participation of federal resource agencies,
for example, it is important to remember that their operating procedures often
make it very difficult for staff to participate in activities not directly connected
to an ongoing NEPA process or permit action. Moreover, in most regulatory agencies
staff is often spread very thin and forced to prioritize among many important
projects and concurrent activities. Limited availability of agency staff often
requires scheduling of special activities for them at selected project milestones
rather than assuming they can participate as regular members of broad-based
project advisory groups that will meet often during the development process.
Field trips, special resource agency advisory groups that meet only several
times during project development, and focused resource agency workshops are
proven effective approaches for achieving agency involvement.
Pilot states working with agency stakeholders have attempted to maintain an
environmental stewardship focus and at the same time improve efficiencies. The
Connecticut DOT is working with the FHWA Division Office and Connecticut State
Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to develop programmatic agreements covering
minor projects and even minor work efforts on the Merritt Parkway, which is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other agreements involve
continual coordination at every stage of an archaeological investigation. In
Kentucky, as part of a section 106 Programmatic agreement, a consultation procedure
is being established between the State and Native Americans, even though there
are no federally recognized tribes in the state.
North Carolina DOT is acting as an environmental streamlining laboratory. The
vision of NCDOT is to engage all stakeholders in a shared, efficient, and balanced
process that advances environmental streamlining while maintaining environmental
Despite budget and time constraints, it is critical to the success of the CSD/CSS
(and NEPA) process to obtain information from the appropriate resource and regulatory
agencies concerning problem definition, evaluation criteria, alternatives development,
alternatives evaluation, and the identification of a preferred alternative.