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?
- 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?
A charette is a structured, collaborative session in which a group comes together to develop a solution to a problem. In a SMART
feasibility study, a planning charette may be held early in the process to bring together the Corps study team, vertical team, expert
planners, project sponsor, and resource agencies in a structured workshop to work collaboratively through at least one iteration of the
six-step planning process. Corps districts coordinate with the USFWS and NMFS, as well as other Federal and State agencies at the
outset of the Scoping phase, inviting them to participate in charrettes, scoping meetings, or informal workshops. Early involvement
provides opportunities to avoid impacts to valued resources and areas with high-conflict potential prior to commitment of significant