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Chapter 2
Organizational Environmental Stewardship Practices
2.3. Setting Objectives and Targets & Tracking Environmental Commitments

2.3.1 Establishing Environmental Objectives and Targets
 

Once a DOT, Maintenance & Operations Division, or an Engineering Region/District has identified environmentally significant aspects of operations and organizational priorities within those, a DOT may want to set objectives and targets. Too often, objectives and targets are identified based only on what is measurable, whereas that which is important and ways progress can be meaningfully evaluated should drive metrics.

MDSHA Environmental Objectives and Targets

MDSHA's Environmental Stewardship Strategic Plan comprehensively addresses MDSHA environmental activities and establishes measurable outcomes. MDSHA is also working on combining management systems, including their permit tracking system, maintenance, and other management systems, which will further the agency's ability to track and measure environmental performance. MDSHA's current environmental targets and measures are to:

  • Meet 100 percent of environmental commitments. MDSHA is working on this objective or target on two levels. First the agency is making a list of all commitments made in the NEPA Record of Decision and tracking whether they are implemented in design. The next stage is making sure the commitments are implemented in construction and implementation is confirmed or evaluated after construction. MDSHA is using the process designed for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and lessons learned as a model. MDSHA already utilizes environmental monitors (beyond erosion and sedimentation control inspection and quality assurance inspectors) on all major projects, design-build projects, and those in sensitive environments.
  • Create and restore 200 acres of wetlands and restore 5 miles of streams by June 2006. This stewardship commitment helps the state achieve regional, watershed, and statewide conservation objectives and is above and beyond what the agency is doing to satisfy Clean Water Act mitigation requirements. MDSHA is using transportation enhancement and other dedicated funds to enable the agency to achieve this objective.
  • Reduce Canada thistle in the right-of-way. MDSHA has calculated the acres of Canada thistle in the ROW and is coming up with an estimate of what the agency can feasibly eliminate by 2006.
  • Annual "in compliance" rating on NPDES statewide permit. Every January, MDSHA submits an annual report and receives review and comment from the state water quality oversight agency. MDSHA seeks to maintain the agency's reputation as a leader in the field nationally.
  • 80 percent or more of MDSHA stormwater management facilities rated functionally adequate by 2006. MDSHA has developed a thorough and duplicable grade-based rating system for stormwater management facilities and has developed an inventory, database, and photo record of all facilities statewide and their maintenance status. Under the rating system, those graded A or B are considered functionally adequate. As of late 2003, between 73 and 75 percent of MDSHA stormwater were functionally adequate (A=everything fine, working fine, no maintenance required, B= minor maintenance, need mowing or trash removal), leaving approximately 25 percent needing maintenance or retrofitting to achieve functional requirements. By 2010 MDSHA is aiming for 95 percent of facilities functioning adequately.
  • Accomplish 35 percent of needed industrial facility improvements by 2006. MDSHA has assessed shortcomings at industrial facilities from an NPDES or water quality standpoint. The agency is committed to rectifying those deficiencies and is aiming for 100 percent completion by 2010.
  • Achieve 100 percent compliance with erosion and sedimentation control requirements on all MDSHA construction projects. MDSHA believes the agency maintains one of the better DOT enforcement systems in the country. To assess compliance, MDSHA implemented a six-layer system that includes independent quality assurance ratings for each project. Certified Quality Assurance inspectors inspect projects biweekly and rate the sediment controls on a letter grade scale. Projects can be shut down based on these inspections. Ratings for all projects are summarized quarterly and annually to comply with the MDSHA Business Plan. In the past the agency has pursued ratings of B or better on 95 percent of construction projects annually. As part of a primary agency commitment though, the Chief Administrator is seeking to improve performance to achievement of 100 percent compliance in construction.
  • In addition to leadership and communication of the agency's commitment, MDSHA has formed a team that is considering certification and recertification of inspectors, contractors, and designers. The certification requires refresher courses and certification could be lost for poor performance. MDSHA is working with private industry and will be training contractors as well as staff.
  • Maintain the priority level accorded to historic bridges on the MDSHA network so preservation is not in jeopardy. MDSHA has conducted inventories to identify historic bridges and potential historic bridges. The agency is addressing needs and strategies for 12 different aspects of historic bridge preservation.

The Managing For Results (MFR) portion of MDSHA's business and stewardship plan is being used to measure the progress and success of MDSHA's environmental stewardship and to define timelines and milestones for the numerous elements of the program. Using the MFR approach, progress is measured every month for each of the major elements, and every six months for all the elements of the program. An example of this is the stormwater management retrofits that needed to be completed by December 2003. The retrofit completion progress was tracked every month and new strategies were developed continuously. As a result, this requirement was exceeded by 300 percent. Individual projects, such as watershed retrofits, stormwater improvements and watershed partnerships that are generated as a part of the program are managed using MS Project and milestone reviews.

For maintenance facilities, the discharge sampling of the outfalls is a direct method for measurement of success, which is defined based on state and federal requirements. As a stewardship measure, MDSHA tracks implementation of strategic upgrades to the facilities identified during the pollution prevention plan development and needed changes in systems identified by the independent inspection program.

Charts are developed for all the major programs to visually demonstrate successes and progress. Once a year, an annual report summarizing all the activities, including compliance with the NPDES program is prepared and submitted for review to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). So far, every report was thoroughly reviewed and approved by MDE, which means MDSHA remains in compliance and is actually being commended for showing stewardship by exceeding the permit requirements. A copy of the recent annual report is attached.

PennDOT's Targets, Scorecards and Dashboards

Beginning early in 1998, PennDOT adopted a scorecard of measures to more clearly link performance metrics and agency goals and objectives. Effective scorecard measures were defined as those that would make a difference to customers and stakeholders, drive behavior throughout the organization, and be used for evaluation and decisionmaking. An internal Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence assessment identified both procedural and technical shortcomings in department strategic planning and performance measurement. Particularly significant among the agency's findings was a lack of focus resulted from the combination of too many "number #1 priorities" and too many measures.

To create a shared vision for 12,000 employees, PennDOT embarked on a four-year improvement effort to link more rigorous strategic planning practices to measurable targets of organization performance. The task was divided into four phases: determine the approach, develop the agenda, align business plans, and manage with measures. PennDOT conducted extensive surveys and interviews to supplement existing data and suggest value-adding strategies. The leadership team reached consensus on eight strategic focus areas that were forwarded to cross-functional teams for formulation of goals and objectives. The cross-functional teams performed an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats based on external and internal scan data. In some cases, measurable targets and meaningful performance indicators were considered, so the agency was able to "back in" to goals and objectives.

In 2000, the leadership team adopted thirteen high level goals and twenty-one strategic objectives under the eight strategic focus areas. Goals and objectives were supported by a scorecard of measures consisting of lagging indicators that were assigned short-term and long-term targets. Each major PennDOT business unit used the department level process to develop its own objectives and scorecard. Organization-specific workshops were conducted to help those leadership teams support top-down direction while adding bottom-up priorities. Strategies and performance targets became the focus of their annual business plan and budget presentations to the agency leadership team.

In 2001, the agency added "dashboard measures" to supplement the business plan scorecards. The dashboards monitored progress toward scorecard metrics and other fundamental core business targets. By adding leading indicators and interim outcome measures, the dashboards provided a forum for tactical and resource decisions at monthly reviews by business unit leadership teams. Organizations were encouraged to move from reactive to proactive problem solving with the ultimate goal of focusing on continuous improvement opportunities. PennDOT borrowed the concept of red, yellow, and green flags to highlight how actual data compared to projected targets or acceptable variance ranges.

Standards for Establishing Environmental Objectives and Targets

ISO 14001 outlines standards for establishing environmental objectives and targets in section 4.3.3, which states that the "organization shall establish and maintain documented environmental objectives and targets, at each relevant function and level within the organization." When establishing and reviewing its objectives, the standard further states that an organization shall consider its legal and other requirements, significant environmental aspects, technological options and its financial, operational and business requirements, and the views of interested parties. The views of interested parties may include employee feedback, issues in the community, or regulatory hot topics or high level concerns.

Standards for evaluating a DOT's environmental objectives and targets may include the following:

  • Are environmental objectives and targets documented?
  • Have environmental objectives and targets been developed for each relevant function and level of the organization?
  • Are these objectives and targets linked to a larger framework and based in the organization's environmental policy?
  • Do environmental objectives and targets allow for the ability to measure, monitor, and improve?

 

2.3.2 Environmental Commitment Tracking Through Construction & Maintenance
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Many environmental laws and regulations have permitting or approval requirements, and without which approvals or permits a project cannot proceed. While some mitigation may result from requirements for receiving an approval or permit to offset unregulated impacts DOTs make other mitigation commitments as a part of their environmental stewardship role.

Once a commitment to provide any of these mitigation features in a project is included in the final environmental documentation, whether it be a categorical exclusion determination for small projects, an Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact for mid-range projects, or an Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision for large projects, that commitment becomes a condition of the FHWA project approval. Such a commitment is inadvertently deleted from the project, that removal could jeopardize the project approval and could result in remedial actions such as stopping construction until corrections can be made.

Some practices for ensuring that environmental mitigation features get incorporated into a project include:

  • Having a mechanism to relay from the environmental staff to the design staff, the various mitigation features of the project and why they are necessary so that these items are designed into the constructions plans and specifications.
  • Emphasizing to both design and construction staff that mitigation features are not the kinds of items that can be Value Engineered or removed from a project just because they do not appear to be directly related to a transportation need. When they inadvertently get removed from a project, this may make the environmental documentation out of compliance and jeopardizes the project until it is fixed.
  • Educating highway agency staff and contractors that failure to implement mitigation measures can lead to civil, and in some cases, criminal penalties.
  • Hiring "environmental monitors" to ensure that environmental features are implemented as intended and that any changes are processed through the appropriate agencies.

DOT "Green Sheets" and the Emergence of Electronic Commitment Tracking Systems

As of 2002 twenty state DOTs reported having systems for tracking environmental mitigation commitments. [N] In many cases, these are paper copies attached to plans, often called "green sheets;" eleven state DOTs used the latter method. [N] For example, Georgia DOT's green sheet consists of a page listing the following information, in addition to project number, county, status, and date: commitments/requirements; document in which the commitment was stipulated; responsible offices; whether special provisions are required; and status of the commitment/requirement. Eight state DOTs said they had developed or were in the process of developing electronic tracking systems for mitigation commitments, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Virginia. [N] The above information and some of that which is included in the remainder of this section on commitment tracking was included in FHWA's Domestic Scan on Environmental Commitment Implementation: Innovative and Successful Approaches [N] .

South Carolina DOT Interdisciplinary Accountability Teams

South Carolina DOT offers an intermediate model: on projects with substantial mitigation commitments an interdisciplinary commitment accountability team has been developed, consisting of the SCDOT Construction Engineer & District Field Engineer, SCDOT Environmental Manager or Specialist, and the FHWA Division Environmental Program Manager and Operations Engineer. This team reviews all environmental commitments made in the Final EIS, Record of Decision, 404 permit, and 401 certification, and any other relevant consultation or permitting areas. The team lists and evaluates each commitment for the degree to which it has been fulfilled or is currently being fulfilled. Issues in implementation and the results of visual surveys, where appropriate, are included in the report, as are copies of the original permits. [N]

New Jersey DOT Environmental Re-evaluation Checklists, Meetings, and Construction Field Reviews

NJDOT uses both environmental plan sheets and environmental re-evaluation checklists to communicate commitments throughout all phases of project development. Instead of writing commitments only in the contract document, NJDOT outlines commitments in environmental plan sheets and includes those sheets directly in project plans. By placing the environmental commitments in its project plans, NJDOT increases the likelihood of meeting environmental commitments. The environmental re-evaluation checklist reflects the commitments stated in the NEPA document. The checklist was developed to compensate for the length of time between issuance of the Record of Decision and the start of construction. NJDOT also uses the checklist for any new or supplemental funding requests for NEPA projects. The checklist contains permit information, agency approvals, Executive Orders for wetlands and floodplains, and an environmental inventory of impacted resources.

NJDOT uses pre-construction meetings to communicate with all stakeholders, and NJDOT environmental staff attends pre-bid and pre-construction meetings to ensure that all parties understand a project's environmental commitments. NJDOT also holds post-construction reviews for wetland monitoring to confirm performance and compliance with stated mitigation goals.

NJDOT conducts randomly selected Construction Field Reviews on its construction projects every six months to supplement more frequent visits by other NJDOT personnel and as the agency is in the process of developing a method to insure more frequent construction monitoring. The one-day reviews are conducted by Environment Teams (E-Teams) that include a NJDOT Environmental Specialist. The E-Team meets with the resident engineer and then prepares a brief written report that not only focuses on compliance, but also identifies unique construction activities. See description of NJDOT's construction audit and contractor rating program under the audit section.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet "Communicating All Promises (CAP )"

KYTC has developed a commitment tracking approach called "Communicating All Promises" (CAP). The CAP tracks and demonstrates follow through on all commitments made from planning through construction and maintenance. Commitments are posted in the State's online tracking system for use by contractors and placed in the lead project engineer's files. The approach institutionalizes commitments made by the agency and improves communication among all parties involved in the transportation process, increasing efficiency.

KYTC took a "blitz team" approach of "promise makers" and "implementers" to educate the department and contractors about the CAP. Information about the program and approach was also incorporated into the agency's Context Sensitive Solutions for Construction Workshops. All project engineers learn how to develop a Commitment Action Plan as part of their preconstruction planning activities. A Project Commitment Action Plan is a detailed work plan that addresses each of the natural and human issues and other commitments specifically identified for each project in bid documents, and how each issue/commitment will be handled during construction. The plan is developed and agreed upon prior to the start of construction by the contractor, the resident engineer, and the KYTC environmental coordinator.

KYTC's Guidance Accountability Form (GAF) for all environmental base studies and impacts and mitigation commitments from that document and NEPA are summarized in the Project Impact Profile (PIP), which both feed into KYTC's CAP system. Promises are accumulated in KYTC's PRECON database system, which allows entry of a description of the promise, to whom the promise was made, documentation, and the date of the promise. The Project Manager enters the promises from the planning report into the PRECON-CAP system and remains the keeper of the CAP for each individual project. All subsequent project promises are then communicated to the Project Manager and endorsed by the Project Team. The Project Manager retains the responsibility for ensuring that all promises (roadway features, environmental, right-of-way, utilities, structure design, etc.) are ultimately brought to reside in the PRECON CAP. A report function is included in the CAP system, which is run and included in the documents submitted to PS&E for letting, in the bid package, and in the contract document. The ledger of commitments enables tracking of commitments through all phases from planning through construction and maintenance.

Indiana DOT Environmental Compliance Certification

INDOT uses a "Scope/Environmental Compliance Certification/Permit Application Certification" at four different design stages to ensure that its project designs incorporate all environmental commitments. This tool certifies that the requisite permits have been acquired and that the associated conditions/requirements have been included in project plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E). In addition, a Mitigation Memo is prepared by the INDOT Public Hearings Section, which reviews the six-month letting list to identify projects ready for construction. The Mitigation Memo includes the mitigation chapter of the approved environmental document, a design summary that documents how environmental commitments are implemented in the final design, and the Fish and Wildlife Review Form that documents stream-related restrictions and special provisions. This Mitigation Memo serves as a reminder for project designers and land acquisition and construction personnel to assure that all requisite and special provisions have been included in the final PS&E assembly. In addition, the Mitigation Memo notifies construction staff of the commitments they are expected to implement. INDOT includes its mitigation commitment summary in NEPA documents and project plans; this is being incorporated into the agency's electronic project tracking system.

New York State DOT Environmental Commitment and Obligations Package for Construction (ECOPAC )

NYSDOT's Program Support System (PSS) lists all projects in progress within the department along with information about project costs, status, and anticipated milestones. An Environmental Commitments & Obligations Package for Construction (ECOPAC) records the actual compliance of construction projects. ECOPAC tracks commitment compliance throughout all construction activities with respect to the environmental issues identified and highlighted during project development. The form, which is now being used by all NYSDOT design and construction staff, is available on-line at the link above. It allows NYSDOT to transmit environmental commitments to construction staff.

Caltrans' Environmental Commitment Record and Applications

All Caltrans districts now maintain an Environmental Commitments Record (ECR), per headquarters direction in June 2005. The purpose of the ECR is to ensure that the Department meets its environmental commitments by: 1) recording each environmental mitigation, compensation, and enhancement commitment made for an individual project; 2) specifying how each commitment will be met; and 3) documenting the completion of each commitment. The ECR brings all relevant environmental compliance information together in a single place, making it easier to track progress and identify needed actions. The ECR is to be used by the Project Team as a detailed reference throughout all project phases, both to identify and track commitments and to locate the most current, detailed source of information. ECR review is now a standing item at each team meeting; its specificity also facilitates quality control and continuity through staff turnover. The ECR is being integrated into Caltrans process of preparing and updating the RE Pending File, executing Environmental Certification at Ready to List, and preparing the Certificate of Environmental Compliance. Commitments may be identified during any phase and extend beyond project construction. Importantly, the ECR does not require a specific form, but establishes standards that must be achieved. Caltrans District 11 had previously developed a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Record (MMRR) and District 4 used Permits, Agreements, and Mitigation (PAM) forms, which have been used by resident engineers and field personnel to ensure that the construction process remains in compliance with all the commitments made during the life of the project. These forms and records have also been used by headquarters to track how well the District is doing in meeting its commitments. The MMRR helps identify specific sections and staff responsible for follow-through, to ensure the items are incorporated in the PS&E and construction when it occurs. In addition to project and basic information, the ECR (and MMR and PAM applications) lists, for each environmental commitment: 1) who is responsible - functional unit and individual; 2) what/how regarding action to be taken to comply with the commitment; 3) when it needs to be done and timing of completion; 4) where the commitment or resource is located, within the limits of the project; 5) a reference or further definition of the commitment; and 6) space for notes/remarks/comments on any problems with meeting the commitment, shortcomings, or deviations from the original plan, as well as how and when issues were resolved. Changes are referenced and recommendations presented.

MDSHA Environmental Compliance/Consideration Checklists and Databases for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Intercounty Connector (ICC)

MDSHA prepares Environmental Compliance/ Consideration Checklists for all major projects and summarizes all environmental mitigation and project commitments to ensure that environmental commitments are not lost through value engineering or other plan revisions. NEPA documentation re-evaluation occurs at least twice during design activities to assess whether the approved environmental documentation remains valid. The review occurs at the 30 percent, 65 percent, and 90 percent design completion stage or when major design modifications are proposed. For large and environmentally controversial projects such as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge , MDSHA has used a commitment tracking system in Microsoft Access. In the latter case, the database housed 1200+ ROD commitments and permit special conditions. Each contract was accompanied by 1:400 scale maps and plans depicting permitted impacts. Compliance was documented in concert with daily inspections, and actual vs. projected impacts were tabulated/estimated separately from the database, for reporting purposes. The system is not web-accessible; however, the one that is currently under development for the ICC will be. The latter will include commitments from the planning phase of the project (FEIS and ROD) as well as commitments identified in the various project permits, and other documents, including interagency memoranda of agreement and understanding. MDSHA is now in the process of developing a simplified, less labor intensive system for monitoring implementation across a wider set of projects, ensuring all environmental commitments made in the NEPA Record of Decision are incorporated into designs, and ensuring all design commitments and construction process commitments are implemented as promised.

Washington State DOT Commitment Tracking System, EMS , and Construction Compliance Program

WSDOT's commitment tracking system is a component of the agency's EMS approach to addressing their top environmental issues. WSDOT's internally developed commitment tracking system (CTS) ensures that permit conditions are adequately incorporated into contract documents and allows commitments to be matched with Standard Specs, General Special Provisions, and Standard Plans. The CTS tracks all formal commitments (environmental, design, right-of-way) from inception through construction to completion or handoff to Maintenance and Operations Office. It will also provide "job-aids" to help ensure all environmental commitments and permit conditions are implemented (e.g. project inspection checklists, compliance binders for site inspectors, summarized notification requirements, etc.) System implementation began in July 2005. Generated reports show whether all environmental commitments have been met prior to completion of the project, and if Maintenance and Operations have received and confirmed understanding of all long-term compliance expectations for the site. Overall, the system allows WSDOT to "k now what we committed to do, ensure it is done, document it, look for ways to do it better next time, and if applicable, ensure we maintain it." WSDOT is also building environmental procedures into the agency's construction manual and standard specifications, drawing from the NCHRP 25-25(04) Environmental Stewardship Practices Guide.

WSDOT has also developed a database for tracking construction site erosion and sedimentation control risk, requirements/commitments, and performance assesses trends and provides reports at the project, regional, and state levels. The report will also include data on the use frequency, correct application, maintenance, and overall effectiveness of 37 BMPs. All construction sites are evaluated and characterized based on inherent risk of erosion (size, timing and duration of work, soils, slopes, groundwater levels, need for in-water work); runoff from 20% of projects that meet the risk criteria is tested during storm events and during critical periods of in-water work. Monitoring results are used to evaluate project performance and to validate results of the TESC assessment database. The assessment program identifies 1) how well WSDOT is protecting water quality, 2) areas that need improvement, 3) strategies to use in making improvements.

As part of its EMS development effort, and to improve its compliance performance, WSDOT has developed an accompanying Construction Compliance Program. The program was outlined at the Headquarters level, but is being fleshed by the regions. The key elements of the program include: [N]

Written Procedures
  • Clear direction from executive(s) in writing to communicate a commitment to compliance.
  • Use of existing instructional letters and directives (ex. IL 4055.02 - Environmental Compliance Assurance Procedure for Construction Projects).
  • Provision of each Project Engineer with contact information for environmental compliance assistance for both routine and emergency situations.
Training

Support environmental training for project inspectors tasked with oversight of compliance issues on project sites. Including the following courses:

  • Environmental Compliance for Construction Inspectors
  • Temporary Erosion & Sedimentation Control Certification
  • Spill Plan Reviewer Training
  • Wetlands Recognition, Regulations, Resource Value
  • Excavation and Embankment Inspection
  • Drainage Inspection
  • Environmental Permitting 101
Compliance Performance Standards
  • Regions track and report non-compliance events, per IL 4055.02
  • Regions assess compliance performance on at least an annual basis, and participate in developing annual statewide compliance performance report in the Grey Notebook (4 th Quarter annually).
Constructability Review and Commitment Tracking
  • Insurance of adequate project support to Construction Office from other offices typically focused on Planning and Design phases of project delivery.
  • Process to ensure permit conditions are adequately incorporated into contract documents.
  • Constructability review completed for all work covered by environmental permits.
  • Adequate coverage of environmental compliance issues in preconstruction and pre-activity meetings between WSDOT and its contractor.
  • Tracking of environmental commitments. An information system to track formal commitments made during the project development process will be available May 2005. This system will track all formal commitments (environmental, design, right-of-way) from inception through construction to completion or handoff to Maintenance and Operations Office.
  • Provision of job-aids to help ensure all environmental commitments and permit conditions are implemented (regional examples include project inspection checklists, compliance binders for site inspectors, summarized notification requirements, etc.).
  • Documentation that all environmental commitments have been met prior to completion of the project, and that Maintenance and Operations have received and understand all long-term compliance expectations for the site.

WSDOT is exploring different ways of putting environmental requirements in an inspection format, for use in monitoring implementation of environmental commitments on construction sites. WSDOT's efforts have been scaled to the size of the project. For example the checklist for one bridge replacement project had 24 items. However, for the New Tacoma Narrows Bridge, a design build project, 850 separate commitments were condensed into a checklist of 75 items and incorporated into the project's quality assurance audit protocol. WSDOT is now implementing a statewide prototype. [N]

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Database for Tracking Environmental Commitments

In an effort to promote environmental accountability and stewardship during final design and construction, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission utilizes set of computerized spreadsheet/database tracking systems that identify and monitor additional ROW requirements not addressed in the final NEPA document, changes in environmental impacts that may result during final design, and fulfillment and incorporation of all mitigation commitments into the PS&E packages as well as implementation during construction.

NCDOT Environmental Control Teams, Field Monitoring, and Permits on the Web

In addition to noting environmental commitments on plans and providing summary sheets of environmental commitments, NCDOT has employed pre-construction meetings for the past nine years to help contractors understand commitments, to establish relationships and protocols, and identify whether a project-specific environmental control team is needed. The team decides how often random, periodic field monitoring should occur for environmental compliance, in addition to regular construction meetings and inspections. The agency has recently put environmental permits on the web for reference by contractors and to facilitate incorporation of such information into bids.

Texas DOT Environmental Tracking System

TxDOT's Environmental Tracking System (ETS) follows projects throughout the planning stages and ensures that NEPA issues are addressed and environmental permits are coordinated before the project is released for construction. All TxDOT districts use an Environmental Commitment Checklist, which was first developed by the TxDOT Houston District, to monitor construction, maintenance, and facilities projects. Contractors use the checklist to verify compliance with environmental commitments and permit conditions. The Texas DEQC uses the checklist when reviewing projects for compliance with environmental permits, issues, and commitments. TxDOT is now piloting an EMS in 3 Districts, including commitment tracking for all environmental responsibilities in Construction, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and improved training and understanding of environmental requirements, prevention, and control procedures. Currently the agency is examining the contractor's role, additional needs in communicating requirements, and compensation.

Colorado DOT Region 6 Environmental Commitment Tracking Database

Colorado DOT's Region 6 developed an Environmental Quality Assurance (EQA) Process for the Northwest Parkway (NWP) Design-Build project to insure that the commitments from EAs and FONSIs for multiple highways and interchanges were identified and met. The backbone of this process was development of a database that listed all the commitments made by these documents. Documentation or information associated with a given commitment was entered into the database and roles and responsibilities were assigned, assisting the team in communicating the status of commitments and in identifying issues or concerns. Daily environmental quality reports, logs, and results were also tracked in the database.

FHWA's Domestic Scan on Environmental Commitment Implementation and Lessons Learned

FHWA's Domestic Scan on Environmental Commitment Implementation: Innovative and Successful Approaches yielded the following "lessons learned," which were summarized in FHWA's Successes in Streamlining Newsletter: [N]

  • Agency leadership that adopts and promotes an environmental ethic at all levels fosters successful commitment implementation.
  • Communication of commitments from transportation planning though maintenance is essential.
  • Education and training allow staff and contractors to understand the importance of compliance and to promote stewardship.
  • Strong stakeholder relationships allow agencies to develop environmentally beneficial projects, promote efficient and effective processes, and further build trust and respect.
  • Learning from past experiences encourages future implementation success.

 

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Table of Contents
 
Chapter 2
Organizational Environmental Stewardship Practices
2.1 DOT Environmental Policies and Mission Statements
2.2 Environmental Strategic Planning at Transportation Agencies
2.3 Setting Objectives and Targets & Tracking Environmental Commitments
2.4 Environmental Management Systems - Benefits & Approaches
2.5 Operational Controls, Procedures, and Practices
2.6 Measuring Environmental Performance
2.7 Environmental Staffing, Roles, and Responsibilities
2.8 Environmental Training and Certification
2.9 Regional DOT Stewardship Practice Exchange & Discussion
   
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