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Early Mitigation for Net Environmental Benefit: Meaningful Off-Setting Measures for Unavoidable Impacts

The objective of this National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) project is to “develop guidance on the development and implementation of successful alternative/early mitigation strategies to address environmental goals.” Early mitigation/conservation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act section 7(a)(2) is proving to be a powerful tool to provide net benefits for the environment and greater predictability in the regulatory process and for conservation outcomes. These partnerships have expedited project approvals and drawn partners together in ways that maximize what each can contribute. Together, agencies and private entities are accomplishing more, with less, than any of the partners could have accomplished separately—a “win-win” model of particular relevance in an era of tighter budgets and increasing attention to stewardship. This NCHRP report describes advance mitigation or conservation, the limits of standard project-by-project approaches, and common trade-offs with and benefits of pursuing earlier, integrated planning and programmatic conservation or mitigation. It examines the regulatory basis of using and funding advance mitigation/conservation, in transportation law and regulation, and in the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts and associated guidance, regulations, case law, and ongoing agency activities. Key issues and lessons learned are discussed as well. A more detailed version of the regulatory discussion is provided in Appendix A. To facilitate more conservation and partnerships, Appendix B outlines further communication and action that may be taken with and within resource agencies. Appendix C describes steps to implement advance mitigation and conservation partnerships on a state or local level.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Photos;
  • Pagination: 84p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01499299
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NCHRP Project 25-25 Task 10
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 12 2013 11:24AM