2008 Environmental Consultation and Mitigation Outreach effort
Strategizing Moving Forward with Envirnonmental Consultation and Mitigation in the National Capital Region
In March 2008 the TPB held its second consulatation meeting with state environmental resource agencies and state and local transportation agencies to review the outcomes of the initial consultation effort, learn about how other regions are responding to the new environmental consultation requirements and discuss what would be the most helpful way to move forward in the National Capital Region.
Summary of Presentations and Discussion
TPB staff presented the products developed out of the first environmental consultation effort undertaken in March 2007. The products included seven maps showing the 2007 long-range plan with various environmentally sensitive resources and an environmental mitigation discussion. Also, information was presented on transportation projects proposed for the 2008 CLRP.
A presentation was given on how other regions have addressed the environmental consultation requirements for long-range transportation planning, in order to inform discussion about the future direction for consultation efforts in the National Capital Region. The group was asked to discuss opportunities for future rounds of the environmental consultation process, including expanding on last year's work, the possibility of regional environmental data sharing, possible regional coordination of environmental mitigation efforts related to transportation, and other planning activities that would best facilitate consultation. Both transportation and environmental planners said it would be helpful to take the mapping further to show where highly sensitive avoidance areas are located, as well as areas that are in need of restoration or conservation. Also, they felt that it would be helpful to update the maps on a regular basis. Environmental agencies emphasized that the earlier that possible conflicts and impacts for potential transportation projects are considered, the more cost effective and efficient the possible solutions may be.
Following this, it was expressed that opportunities for "meaningful mitigation" should be identified and pursued. Instead of transportation projects focusing their limited mitigation resources on small restoration projects, those mitigation resources should be pooled to implement larger mitigation projects that will result in greater net environmental benefits.