Environmental Context

The origin of much highway legislation, and the roots of CSS, come from concerns about the impact of a road project on the natural environment - air and water quality, endangered species and animal habitats, and landscapes and vegetation. The AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence and the Federal Highway Administration have compiled extensive resource centers on environmental issues for transportation.

Article Icon Second Nature: Improving Transportation Without Putting Nature Second
Because both mobility and biodiversity are national priorities, it is necessary to understand how they interact. Until recently, our understanding of how nature degrades roads far outweighed our understanding of how roads degrade nature. Mobility does not have to come at the expense of biodiversity. Second Nature: Improving Transportation Without Putting Nature Second profiles innovative programs that seek to improve transportation infrastructure while protecting biodiversity.
--  Defenders of Wildlife: Habitat and Highways
Article Icon Wetlands and Highways: A Natural Approach
Highlights the concept of mitigation banking by providing case study examples of wetland protection and enhancement measures conducted on highway projects nationwide.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Article Icon Considering Cumulative Effects Under the National Environmental Policy Act
This handbook presents the results of research and consultations by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) concerning the consideration of cumulative effects in analyses prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It introduces the NEPA practitioner and other interested parties to the complex issue of cumulative effects, outlines general principles, presents useful steps, and provides information on methods of cumulative effects analysis and data sources. Note: The handbook does not establish new requirements for such analyses. It is not and should not be viewed as formal CEQ guidance on this matter, nor are the recommendations in the handbook intended to be legally binding
-- Council on Environmental Quality
Article Icon Keeping it Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads and Bridges
"Keeping it simple" is more than a concept. It's a commitment. It means using simple solutions when simple solutions will work. It involves going beyond "compliance" to identify easy ways of helping fish and wildlife. It means doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do and because one has an opportunity to do it. "Doing simple things for wildlife when we get the chance is common sense," says Mary Peters, FHWA Administrator. "Something as simple as installing a peregrine falcon box can make tremendous difference." This website highlights more than 100 simple, successful activities from all 50 states and from FHWA's Western Federal Lands Division. All these activities are "easy." Most are low- or no-cost. All benefit fish and wildlife or their habitat.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Article Icon A Systematic but Not-Too-Complicated Approach to Cumulative Effects Assessment
The biggest obstacle facing the public and private sectors in conducting CEA is the lack of straightforward approach that can be applied inexpensively, quickly, and consistently in compliance with the CEQ handbook. In this paper, authors describe a five-part approach: scoping, organizing, screening, evaluating, mitigating, monitoring and adaptive management.
-- Senner, Colonell, Isaacs, Davis, Ban, Boers, and Erikson
Website Icon Website AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence (opens in a new window)
The AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) Center for Environmental Excellence has been developed in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration to promote environmental stewardship and to encourage innovative ways to streamline the transportation delivery process. The Center is designed to serve as an online resource for transportation professionals seeking technical assistance, training, information exchange, partnership-building opportunities, and quick and easy access to environmental tools.
--  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officals
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Taking the High Road: The Environmental and Social Contributions of America's Highway Programs

Jobs, mobility, economic prosperity - these are the kind of benefits that we usually attribute to transportation. But there's a lot more to say about the good transportation does, not just for today, but far into the future. Good things for the environment, for historic preservation, and for the way we enjoy life.

--  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officals
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Transportation Planning - The Watershed Connection
Paper provides a national focus for an envisioned relationship of transportation and watershed planning. A case-study example illustrates how the relationship can work to maximize coordination and cooperation between watershed and transportation stakeholders. This process may be used as a model for stakeholders in other parts of the country to protect and enhance critical watershed values, while meeting their area's need for a safe and efficient surface transportation system.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Website Icon Website Wildlife Crossings Toolkit (opens in a new window)

The Wildlife Crossings Toolkit is designed for professional wildlife biologists and engineers faced with integrating our highway infrastructure and wildlife resources. The Toolkit is a searchable database of case histories of mitigation measures as well as articles on decreasing wildlife mortality and increasing animals' ability to cross highways. Professional wildlife biologists and engineers can use the Toolkit interdisciplinarily to creatively solve challenges associated with highways.

External Links

--  USDA Forest Service

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