Planning and Environmental Linkages
What are Planning and Environmental Linkages?
Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) represent a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision making that considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning stage and carries them through project development, design, and construction.
This can lead to a seamless decision-making process that can help reduce and minimize impacts, minimize duplication of effort, promote environmental stewardship, and reduce delays in project implementation.
With increased emphasis on transportation's role/impact on the environmental, community, and economic well-being of the region, the continuous introduction and consideration of environmental topics such as climate change emphasizes the important linkages between the long-range transportation planning process and environmental planning.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is working to implement PEL efforts in consultation with resource agencies.
Environmental Consultation Presentations
US Army Corps of Engineers Coordination - Section 404 Permitting
In October 2008, NCTCOG entered into an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to fund a position to expedite permitting for regionally significant transportation projects. This agreement allowed the USACE to assign a dedicated staff person to expedite permits. The USACE legislative authority to enter into these agreements is supported by the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA) and was extended through 2022, allowing NCTCOG to continue to enter into agreements with the USACE. NCTCOG and regional transportation partners have benefited greatly from this agreement. Enhanced communication has led to faster permitting times, reduced impact on the aquatic environment, and reduced cost for mitigation efforts.
Wetland and Stream Mitigation Assessment
The Mitigation Assessment analyzed the supply of mitigation credits and estimated the demand that will be created by roadway projects included in the North Central Texas region by accessing credit ledger data from the Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System. Models were generated in Geographic Information Systems to identify and prioritize potential wetland restoration, wetland enhancement, and stream enhancement mitigation sites.
NCTCOG received a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to integrate sustainability best practices into transportation planning. A completed feasibility study was analyzed using the web-based Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST). This analysis identified best practices that were then applied to a study on the Denton County Outer Loop/Greenbelt Parkway, which is expected to pass through a park that provides recreation trails and wildlife habitat.
Final Permit Decisions Funded through the WRDA Section 214 Authority (US Army Corps of Engineers)
Environmental Stewardship Program (NCTCOG)
Jeff Neal, Senior Program Manager