Seminar: A Collaborative Approach – A NEPA/Section 404 Clean Water Act Merger Process: What it is and Lessons Learned
Presented by Josh Fitzpatrick, FAA
A collaborative approach to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and resource agency coordination is key to project implementation. A successful NEPA review for a runway improvement project at Detroit Lakes – Becker County Airport will be discussed at this presentation. Over the years, this long-planned project had stalled because of agency and public concerns due to wetland impacts. After an impasse, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated renewed engagement with the agencies to determine how to move the project forward. The outcome of this effort was the decision to pursue a NEPA/Clean Water Act (CWA)-Concurrent Review Merger process.
By approaching the project in a spirit of cooperation, the project team was able to build concurrence with agency partners on the purpose and need, alternatives, Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA), and a development plan that minimized impacts to wetlands and cultivated collaborative environmental mitigation strategies acceptable to all interested parties. The NEPA/CWA merger required successive closure at each of the first three concurrence points (purpose and need, alternatives, and LEDPA), so that these were not revisited during the actual permitting process.
The merger process utilized in this project illustrates that developing a collaborative approach early in the NEPA process can facilitate finding solutions to problems as they arise and aligns with the President’s mandate of streamlining environmental reviews.
4:30-5:00 pre-seminar meet & greet
5:00-6:00pm presentation/Q&A and elections
The event will be in the Lake Superior Room on the 4th floor of the Osborn 370 building. Participants should go in through the front door of the building and up to the 4th floor.
Free for members. $5 for non-members.
NOTE: 2019 elections will be part of this event