Environmental Processes and Compliance
- What is optimization and when does optimization occur in the feasibility study process?
- Can optimization begin before the Agency Decision Milestone?
- When is optimization of a plan finished?
Project performance is continually improved throughout planning, design, and operations. However, attempts to optimize
information used in the planning study should stop once that information is sufficient for decision making. So, the intuitive
optimization that begins prior to TSP is complete once a distinctly different array of alternatives has been formulated. Optimization
in the detailed feasibility analysis (post-Agency Decision Milestone) is complete once we have confidence that our estimates of costs,
impacts and benefits are sufficient to support authorization, NEPA requirements, and budgeting.
- The goal is to complete feasibility studies in less than 3-years. There are statutory timeframes for completing certain consultations,
such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and ultimately this may drive the study schedule. How can schedule impacts be avoided?
- If a biological assessment indicates that an alternative plan(s) may affect a listed endangered or threatened species or critical habitat,
and formal consultation with USFWS/NMFS is required, where in the SMART Planning process will this formal process take place?
- Full consideration of effects an alternative plan has on fish and wildlife resources is part of the plan formulation process. This evaluation
is done by USFWS in a Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA) Report. Ideally the FWCA Report is used to assist in the development
of the environmental analysis in the Civil Works Planning Study Feasibility Report. How will the FWCA coordination process integrate in
the SMART Planning process during development of the Feasibility Report?
- How is it determined if USFWS and NMFS are invited to a planning charette?