APPENDIX F

NEPA/404 INTEGRATION PROCESS

In May 1992, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Army-Civil Works, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted an agency policy to improve interagency coordination and to integrate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Clean Water Act Section 404 procedures. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed for Arizona, California, and Nevada that specifies how these states will implement the agency policy. The Western States MOU applies to all projects needing both Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)/Federal Transit Administration (FTA) action under NEPA and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) individual permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Under the MOU process, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Federal transit Administration (FTA), ACOE and EPA are asked to concur on the project purpose and need statement, criteria for alternative selection and range of alternatives to be considered. ACOE also verifies the delineation of jurisdictional wetlands. The MOU process also incorporates analysis of the project pursuant to 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act. Prior to release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), ACOE, EPA and USFWS are asked to provide preliminary agreement on conceptual mitigation for unavoidable impacts to special aquatic sites. ACOE and EPA are also asked to provide preliminary agreement on the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) pursuant to the Clean Water Act.

The goal of the MOU is to have regulatory agencies participate in the project early in its planning and to have decisions made once for each stage of the process in order to expedite matters. Regulatory agencies are to provide comments in a timely manner and are to provide written concurrence that information to date is adequate for a particular stage and that the project may proceed to the next stage. Agencies do not revisit previous concurrences unless there is significant new information or a significant change to the project, the environment, or laws and regulations. Agencies agree to attempt to resolve issues causing nonconcurrence and to try to do so informally before entering formal dispute resolution.

Consultation was initiated for the East Span Project with the ACOE, EPA, FTA, USFWS, and NMFS in accordance with the Western States MOU. A project overview and a preliminary project Purpose and Need Statement were presented to the federal agencies at the September 9, 1997 NEPA/404 Kick-off Meeting. A second Integration meeting was held on October 23, 1997. At this meeting, Purpose and Need Statement discussions continued, and an overview of the conceptual range of alternatives and design variations was presented. A third meeting was conducted on November 13, 1997, to continue the NEPA/404 Integration MOU process and finalize the criteria for alternative selection and range of alternatives.

Comments on the Purpose and Need Statement were received, and the statement was revised accordingly. Additional meetings with the ACOE and the EPA were held to gain

a greater understanding of the agenciesí comments. After the revisions were made, letters of concurrence were received from the federal agencies. The agencies also provided written concurrence (letters follow) with the criteria for alternative selection and the range of alternatives being included in the Environmental Impact Statement for the East Span Project. Consistent with the NEPA/404 Integration MOU, Caltrans and FHWA have identified a Preferred Alternative (Replacement Alternative N-6), and the EPA and ACOE have identified the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) as Replacement Alternative N-6.

The East Span Project requires a separate permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of fill and dredged materials into Waters of the U.S. According to Section 404 guidelines, projects involving several alternatives require an analysis of the alternatives to determine which is the LEDPA. Generally, this is the practicable alternative that either avoids Waters of the U.S. or impacts the smallest areas of waters, but exceptions can occur as a result of the alternatives analysis process. When conducting the process, The EPA and ACOE are to consider a wider range of environmental factors, such as Section 4(f) and Section 106 resources to determine which alternative would result in the least overall environmental harm.

A meeting was held on October 10, 2000 with ACOE, EPA, and USCG in which FHWA and Caltrans made a presentation to ACOE and EPA about the LEDPA. ACOE and EPA asked Caltrans to respond to several technical questions regarding environmental impacts and project design. Caltrans subsequently provided the agencies with responses to the questions that had been raised. In February and March 2001, ACOE identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the LEDPA. The EPA identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the LEDPA in March 2001.

Subsequent actions under the NEPA/404 Integration MOU will be the publication of this Final EIS by Caltrans and FHWA and notification and issuance of the Section 404 Individual Permit by the ACOE.

Other federal, state, and regional agencies with regulatory and permitting obligations for the East Span Seismic Safety Project were also invited to participate in the NEPA/404 MOU meetings. Participants included:

 

List of Letters

Date

From

To

Subject

9/12/1997

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commissions

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

9/18/1997

Caltrans

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

Purpose and Need Statement

9/26/1997

Caltrans

NEPA/404 Participants

Purpose and Need Statement

10/9/1997

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

10/23/1997

U.S. Coast Guard

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

11/26/1997

U.S. EPA

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

12/17/1997

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

12/23/1997

Caltrans

U.S. EPA

Purpose and Need Statement

1/21/1998

Federal Transit Administration

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

1/26/1998

Caltrans

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Purpose and Need Statement

1/26/1998

National Marine Fisheries Service

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

1/29/1998

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

2/13/1998

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

Purpose and Need Statement

2/17/1998

Caltrans

NEPA/404 Participant

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

3/17/1998

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Caltrans

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

4/2/1998

National Marine Fisheries Service

Caltrans

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

4/6/1998

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Caltrans

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

5/15/1998

Federal Transit Administration

Caltrans

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

5/22/1998

Caltrans

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Illustration of alignment alternatives

6/4/1998

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

Range of alternatives; selection criteria

Date

From

To

Subject

8/7/1998

Caltrans

U.S. Coast Guard

Replacement alternatives and ADEIS

8/7/1998

Caltrans

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Replacement alternatives and ADEIS

8/20/1998

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

Review of new alternatives

8/27/1998

Caltrans

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Review of new alternatives

9/1/1998

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Caltrans

ADEIS review

9/3/1998

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

Review of new alternatives

9/1998

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

Corps of Engineers jurisdiction

1/22/2001

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Caltrans

Conceptual Mitigation Plan for Special Aquatic Sites

2/12/2001

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Caltrans

LEDPA and Conceptual Mitigation Plan for Special Aquatic Sites

3/15/2001

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Caltrans

Preliminary agreement on LEDPA and Conceptual Mitigation Plan for Special Aquatic Sites.