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51 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Documented below are all substantive changes that were made from the original IEF Guide. Any IEF steps or substeps that are not included did not have substantive changes. Minor edits made for clarity are not documented. STEP 2 Title â¢ Original title. Characterize Resource Status, Integrate Conservation, Natural Re- source, Watershed and Species Recovery and State Wildlife Action Plans â¢ Updated title. Create the Regional Ecosystem Framework Summary of Changes The most signifi cant updates to the IEF start in Step 2 and include updates to Steps 3 and 4. These updates address confusion about the order of the IEF process and how each step is described. The original Step 2 was the creation of an ecological conserva- tion strategy, which resulted from combining all conservation plans and data, and getting appropriate experts and specialists to agree on environmental conservation priorities and goals. In this updated IEF Managerâs Guide, Step 2 is the same process of creating an environmental conservation strategy, but the resulting product has been recharacterized as the Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF). Initially, the REF was the product resulting from original Step 3, which included an overlay of the conserva- tion strategy with the transportation plans and data. The C06 project team determined that it was useful to have a title for the environmental conservationârelated product that resulted from the Step 2 process, and that the REF title more accurately described this ecologically focused product. A DETAILED UPDATES TO THE IEF
52 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Changes to Substeps Minor changes were made to Substeps 2e, 2f, and 2g. Substep 2e Original Substep 2e Produce geospatial overlays of data and plans outlined above, as well as support- ing priorities, to guide the development of an overall conservation strategy for the planning region that identifies conservation priorities and opportunities, and evaluates stressors and opportunities for mitigation and restoration. Updated Substep 2e Delineate priority areas for conservation and mitigation, if these do not already exist. These should include all of the identified resources and follow principles from system- atic conservation planning and should include opportunities for off-site mitigation through restoring habitat. Summary of Substep 2e Updates Although the product of Substep 2e is the sameâpriority conservation and mitigation areasâthis substep was updated to more accurately describe the necessary process of delineating these areas based on a systematic conservation planning process involving conservation expertise rather than just an âoverlayâ of data and plans. Substep 2f Original Substep 2f Convene a team of stakeholders to review the geospatial overlay and associated goals/ priorities, and identify actions to support them. Updated Substep 2f Convene a team of stakeholders to review the draft REF generated from the preced- ing steps. Identify any issues that need correction, and finalize the REF. This step was refocused from reviewing an overlay and identifying actions to support identified pri- orities to reviewing the REF to identify any issues that need to be addressed for all the stakeholders to finalize it. Summary of Substep 2f Updates The original version included the identification of actions; but since the integration of information about potential impacts (Step 4) is critical to complete before appropriate actions are identified, this part of the step was modified. Thus, this step focuses on only reviewing and finalizing the REF with input from stakeholders. Substep 2g Original Substep 2g Record methods, concurrence, and rationales of this step based on stakeholder input (e.g., how the identified areas address the conservation/preservation, or restoration needs and goals identified for the area).
53 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Updated Substep 2g Document the REF objectives, decisions, and methods based on stakeholder input and the technical and scientific methods used in Substeps 2aâ2f. Document formats should be suitable for GIS metadata, formal reporting, and outreach to support use, updating, and external products. Summary of Substep 2g Updates Mostly the wording was clarified in this substep, but it is also more explicit in recom- mending how to document decisions. STEP 3 Title â¢ Original title. Create Regional Ecosystem Framework (Conservation Strategy + Transportation Plan) â¢ Updated title. Define Transportation and Infrastructure Scenarios for Assessment Summary of Changes Originally, Step 3 was an overlay of the integrated conservation strategy and trans- portation plan; but the team received input indicating that this was confusing since a separate process needs to be led by transportation practitioners to integrate transpor- tation and infrastructure plans and data to determine the transportation needs, goals, and priorities. This same concept applies to Step 2, since creating the REF is typically done separately by environmental, conservation, and natural resource stakeholders from various organizations and agencies. The infrastructure and environmental stake- holders typically begin to work together during the process of developing a regional vision (Step 1), and then again when the overlay and integration of the REF with the transportation and other infrastructure plans, information, and scenarios happens (updated Step 4). This does not mean that stakeholders involved in the transportation/ infrastructure side and the stakeholders involved in the environmental side will not have any communication during Step 2 and Step 3, but the majority of the discussion will happen during Step 1 and then again in Step 4 during the development and review of the REIDF. Changes to Substeps Summary of All Substep 3 Changes All of the changes to the Step 3 substeps support the fundamental change to this step from the focus on the integration of transportation and environmental strategies to the integration of just the transportation-related data, plans, priorities, and goals, and the creation of transportation scenarios that can then be overlaid with the REF in Step 4 to determine impacts.
54 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Substep 3a Original Substep 3a Overlay the geospatially mapped long-range transportation plan (or the TIP or STIP) with conservation priorities and other land uses. Updated Substep 3a Convene stakeholders and identify appropriate scenarios to represent. Formal sce- nario-based planning approaches can be very useful for envisioning, describing, and prioritizing scenarios for assessment. This step should include what time frames to represent (e.g., current, 15 years, 50 years), the scope of information included in the scenarios (i.e., transportation only or in combination with all relevant uses and stress- ors), and what future assumptions to incorporate and represent in alternate scenarios (e.g., low versus high growth, climate changes, transportation funding). Substep 3b Original Substep 3b Identify and show (1) areas and resources potentially impacted by transportation proj- ects, and (2) potential opportunities for joint action on conservation or restoration priorities that could count for Section 404 and Section 7 regulatory requirements. Updated Substep 3b Obtain data to represent the land uses, activities, and other features for each scenario. Specific to transportation, include the long-range transportation plan (or the TIP or STIP) and preferably the full set of land use and management plans from the major local, state, and federal regulatory, land management, and planning agencies in the region. Substep 3c Original Substep 3c Identify the high-level conservation goals and priorities, and opportunities for achiev- ing them, relative to the transportation plan and other land uses/plans. Updated Substep 3c Assemble the draft scenarios and review with the stakeholders. Note and make cor- rections as needed. Substep 3d Original Substep 3d Review and verify REF with stakeholders. Updated Substep 3d Provide the scenario to the stakeholders.
55 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK STEP 4 Title â¢ Original title. Assess Land Use and Transportation Effects on Resource Conserva- tion Objectives Identified in the REF â¢ Updated title. Create a Regional Ecosystem and Infrastructure Development Framework (REIDF) Summary of Changes Although the focus and products of Step 4 remain the sameâan assessment of the ef- fects of land use and transportation effects on resource conservation objectivesâthe title and substeps were changed for clarity. Originally the product resulting from the analyses in Step 4 was called the Regional Ecosystem Framework, but the team felt that this title did not adequately characterize the fact that it included an analysis of the impacts of transportation and other infrastructure on environmental resources. So the title of the step was changed, and several changes were made to the substeps. In addition, some processes included in the substeps were combined, resulting in the elimination of the last two steps included in the original IEF Guide. Changes to Substeps Substep 4b Original Substep 4b Identify/rate how priority conservation areas and individual resources respond to dif- ferent land uses and types of transportation improvements. Updated Substep 4b Establish individual resource conservation requirements (e.g., minimum viable habitat sizes, connectivity requirements) and their response to different types of transportation improvements and other stressors. Summary of Substep 4b Changes Added process of establishing resource conservation requirements before rating their response to different stressors. Substep 4c Original Substep 4c Develop programmatic cumulative effects assessment scenarios that combine trans- portation plan scenarios with existing development and disturbances, other impact- ing stressors, and existing secured conservation areas. Include climate change threats to better understand what resources/areas may no longer be viable or what new re- sources may become conservation priorities in the planning region during the planning horizon.
56 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Updated Substep 4c Create the REIDF by combining the REF (from Step 2) with the scenarios from Step 3 to identify which priority areas or resources would be affected and the nature of the effect (e.g., negative, neutral, beneficial) and to quantify the effect, noting the level of precision of mapping inputs. An initial visual overlay of the scenarios with the REF can point to particular problem areas, while a quantitative assessment of cumulative effects facilitates better comparison among scenarios and quantifies needs for mitiga- tion. It can also identify potential performance measures. Summary of Substep 4c Changes No significant changes in the content of the step but reworded it to be clearer and added the suggestion of including a climate change threat assessment. Substep 4d Original Substep 4d Intersect the REF with one or more cumulative effects assessment scenarios to identify which priority areas and/or resources would be affected, to identify the nature of the effect (e.g., negative, neutral, beneficial), and to quantify the effect, noting the level of precision based on the precision of the map inputs. Updated Substep 4d Compare scenarios and select the one that optimizes transportation/infrastructure ob- jectives and minimizes adverse environmental impacts (the least damaging scenario), or use the results to create a new scenario. Summary of Substep 4d Changes Originally this step included intersecting the REF with the cumulative effects assess- ment scenarios, but those analyses are outlined in Substep 4c. Thus, this step focuses on the process of comparing the results of the various scenarios (created in Substep 4c) and selecting the one with the best overall conservation results and minimal impacts. Substep 4e Original Substep 4e Compare plan scenarios and select the one that optimizes transportation objectives and minimizes adverse environmental impacts (the least environmentally damaging practicable scenario). Updated Substep 4e Identify mitigation needs for impacts that are unavoidable; that may require minimi- zation through project design, implementation, and/or maintenance; and that may require off-site mitigation. For impacts that do not appear practicable to mitigate in- kind, review with appropriate resource agency partners the feasibility of mitigating out-of-kind (e.g., by helping secure a very high-priority conservation area supporting other resource objectives).
57 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Summary of Substep 4e Changes The comparison and selection of scenarios is outlined in Substep 4d, so the focus of this step is on the process of identifying mitigation needs based on knowing what the impacts of the selected scenario will be. Substep 4f Original Substep 4f Identify mitigation needs for impacts that are unavoidable and that may require mini- mization through project design/implementation/maintenance, and that may require off-site mitigation. For impacts that do not appear practicable to mitigate in-kind, review with appropriate resource agency partners the desirability of mitigating out-of- kind (e.g., by helping secure a very high priority conservation area supporting other resource objectives). Updated Substep 4f Deleted. Summary of Substep 4f Changes All processes related to identifying mitigation needs were integrated into the updated Substep 4e, so the original Substep 4f was deleted. Step 4g Original Substep 4g Establish the preferred transportation plan, and quantify mitigation needs includ- ing the amount and quality of area by resource type for which impacts could not be avoided and require further mitigation attention. Updated Substep 4g Deleted. Summary of Substep 4g Changes All processes related to identifying mitigation needs were integrated into the updated Substep 4e, so the original Substep 4g was deleted. STEP 5 Title â¢ Original title. Establish and Prioritize Ecological Actions, Restoration and Conser- vation Sites â¢ Updated title. No change. Summary of Changes This step remained the same in terms of the title, processes, and products. One of the substeps was eliminated because it was redundant and more detail on mitigation- related processes was provided for Substeps 5b and 5d. All other changes were minor and not substantive but merely added clarity.
58 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Changes to Substeps Substep 5b Original Substep 5b Select potential mitigation areas according to the ranking protocols previously described. Updated Substep 5b Select potential mitigation areas according to the ranking protocols described in Sub- step 5a. Create a new scenario (repeat Step 3), specifying the mitigation actions for selected sites, and reevaluate the mitigation scenario (repeat Step 4) to validate that the expected mitigation benefits can be achieved. The development of a comprehen- sive REF in collaboration with regulatory agencies should expedite this step since the priority mitigation areas would already be designated by these agencies, reducing the time it takes to select and move forward on mitigation efforts that are more likely to contribute to high-priority conservation needs. Summary of Substep 5b Changes Added more detail about how to select potential mitigation areas and associated ac- tions, as well as information on how to get regulatory assurances associated with these sites and actions. Substep 5d Original Substep 5d Develop/refine a regional conservation and mitigation strategy (set of preferred ac- tions) to achieve eco-regional conservation/restoration goals and advance infrastruc- ture projects. Updated Substep 5d Develop/refine a regional conservation and mitigation plan and strategy to achieve ecoregional conservation and restoration goals, and advance infrastructure projects. This should address the timing of actions related to when impacts are expected to oc- cur and the urgency to secure mitigation sites before they are developed or used for other mitigation actions. Summary of Substep 5d Changes Added sentence to emphasize the importance of addressing the timing of actions as they relate to impacts. Substep 5e Original Substep 5e Decide on and create a map of areas to conserve, manage, protect, or restore, includ- ing documentation of the resources and their quantities to be retained/restored in each area, and the agency and mechanisms for conducting the mitigation. Updated Substep 5e Obtain agreement on actions from stakeholders to implement the mitigation.
59 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Summary of Substep 5e Changes Substeps 5b, 5c, and 5d are all processes that support and include the creation of areas that can potentially contribute to mitigation goals, so the original Substep 5e was redundant. Thus the original Substep 5e was deleted, and Substep 5f became 5e. Substep 5f Original Substep 5f Obtain agreement on ecological actions from stakeholders. Summary of Substep 5f Changes Deleted. Substep 5e in the original REF was deleted, so this step became Substep 5e. See the reason for deletion of the original Substep 5e. STEP 6 Title â¢ Original title. Develop Crediting Strategy â¢ Updated title. No change. Summary of Changes The title, focus, and approach of this step remain the same as in the original IEF Guide, but a more detailed summary of each substep was provided, and one significant con- cept was added to Substep 6b. Changes to Substeps Substep 6b Original Substep 6b Evaluate ecosystem and landscape needs and context to identify measurement options. Updated Substep 6b Identify ecosystem crediting protocols developed within the region, and evaluate their applicability to resources identified as priority within the REF. Summary of Substep 6b Changes Originally the step was worded to âevaluate ecosystem and landscape needs and con- text to identify measurement options.â The updated version describes the use of plat- forms and protocols either already developed or adopted from another region. STEP 7 Title â¢ Original title. Develop Programmatic Consultation, Biological Opinion, or Permit â¢ Updated title. No change.
60 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Summary of Changes A few minor editorial changes were made to Step 7 to add clarity, but one substantive change to Substep 7a led to the addition of a new substep (7e). Changes to Substeps Substep 7a Original Substep 7a Ensure agreements are documented relating to CWA Section 404 permitting, avoid- ance and minimization, ESA Section 7 consultation, roles and responsibilities, land ownership and management, conservation measures, etc. Updated Substep 7a Identify actions that could be taken to programmatically benefit regulated resources and ensure agreements are documented relating to CWA Section 404 permitting, avoidance and minimization, ESA Section 7 consultation, roles and responsibilities, land ownership and management, conservation measures, etc. Summary of Substep 7a Changes The change keeps the focus on first identifying actions that support a programmatic approach to working on regulatory processes rather than on the development of agree- ments upfront. Once actions are identified in Substep 7a, then Substeps 7b, 7c, and 7d continue to focus on actions that support a programmatic approach. Substep 7e New Substep 7e Develop programmatic ESA Section 7 consultation, special area management plan (SAMP), CWA Section 404 regional general permits (RGPs), or other programmatic agreements to advance conservation action in line with CWA Section 404 and ESA program objectives/requirements and with maximum assurance that conservation/res- toration investments by DOTs count or will count. Due to the addition of Substep 7e, the substep that was formerly 7e becomes 7f. Other than placement, there were no changes to this substep. Summary of Addition of Substep 7f The change in Substep 7a led to the need for a new substep (7e) that focuses on the development of programmatic agreements to codify the procedures and actions identi- fied in Substeps 7aâ7d. Formal programmatic agreements can easily include the type of technical approaches that are introduced in the IEF Steps 2â6, thereby institutional- izing a regional, multistakeholder, and multiresource approach to planning and project development.
61 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK STEP 8 Title â¢ Original title. Implement Agreements and Adaptive Management â¢ Updated title. Deliver Conservation and Transportation Projects Summary of Changes The change to the title better summarizes the focus of the substeps: to deliver or imple- ment conservation and transportation projects based on the outcomes and informa- tion from all the previous steps and substeps. No substantive changes to any of the substeps were made. STEP 9 Title â¢ Original title. Update the Regional Ecosystem Framework â¢ Updated title. Update Regional Ecosystem Framework, Scenarios, and Regional Assessment Summary of Changes The title was changed to emphasize that conservation data in the REF should be regu- larly updated. The best available transportation and other infrastructure data should also be available for conducting transportation scenario analysis. Substantive changes were made to two substeps. Changes to Substeps Substep 9b Original Substep 9b Update the area/resource conservation requirements, responses, and indicators in col- laboration with stakeholders (e.g., assess regional goals, update to minimum required area for species and/or habitat, review confidence threshold for achieving goals, review weighting values of resources in REF, evaluate responses to land use and infrastructure). Updated Substep 9b Update the conservation area/resource requirements, responses, and indicators in re- sponse to new research and data and the results of management actions and perfor- mance measures (e.g., assess regional goals, update to minimum required area for species and/or habitat, review weighting values of resources in REF, and evaluate re- sponses to stressors).
62 MANAGERâS GUIDE TO THE INTEGRATED ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK Summary of Substep 9b Changes This substep was changed to focus on environmental conservation updates only, and in addition the phrase âin collaboration with stakeholdersâ was taken out since this substep would likely not include all IEF stakeholders. Instead it would include stake- holders and others directly involved in developing conservation and natural resource data, goals, and plans. Substep 9c Original Substep 9c Update the implementation status of areas in the REF to review those areas that are contributing to REF goals and priorities, and determine if additional conservation/ protection action is required. Updated Substep 9c Update the implementation and performance status of mitigation areas (conservation/ restoration investments that have occurred) in the REF to evaluate whether those areas are contributing to REF goals and priorities. This will identify whether a mitigation area should be recategorized as an established conservation area for specific resources or if it is still available for future mitigation action. Summary of Substep 9c Changes Changes were made to clarify that the focus should be on mitigation areas. In addition, the changes emphasized that not only the implementation status of mitigation should be evaluated, but also whether established mitigation areas are meeting the conserva- tion performance goals that were developed in the REF. Lastly, an addition was made to ensure that all mitigation areas are recategorized so, if further action is needed to meet REF goals, that would be documented for future assessments.