The goals of environmental planning and management are to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of development and to maintain or enhance the ecological integrity and functions of the natural system. The principles can be applied to development as diverse as an agricultural crop, housing tract, power plant, or oil production. The interdisciplinary process of environmental planning and management requires interaction of the environmental sciences, engineering, and operations. It can be applied to ongoing operations or new projects, though it has its greatest effect when applied to new projects early in their development, when siting, design, and engineering options are still open.
Figure 1 illustrates the process. The process begins when a project proposal is developed, including siting and design alternatives. An environmental reconnaissance study is conducted to identify the major ecological features of each site.