Preparing Specialist Reports as Part of the NEPA Process
To prepare resource specialists (e.g. range specialists, hydrologists, cultural resource specialists) to actively and meaningfully participate in the NEPA process from inception through completion.
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to understand how to actively and meaningfully participate in the NEPA process from inception through completion.
- To integrate resource information and impact analyses from specialists into the NEPA process and NEPA documents.
- To identify team and agency expectations for resource information in NEPA documents: Categorical Exclusions, EAs, or EISs, along with their associated decision documents.
- To match a resource specialist’s tasks to the scope and timeline for a NEPA process.
- To coordinate information from a resource specialist with project details: for example, purpose and need language, issue identification, and design decisions about a range of reasonable alternatives.
- To develop quality criteria for adequate baseline conditions and parallel impact projections of future conditions.
- To identify techniques for recording both baseline conditions and impact projections (especially the comparison information in the traditional NEPA Chapter 2).
- To plan for specialists to contribute to project scoping and ongoing scoping information, especially suggestions from the public dealing with potential impact questions.
- To coordinate information from overlapping or related resources so that the NEPA process moves along efficiently.
- To set quality expectations as to the extent of the literature review, both from a resource perspective and from the role of such information in an efficient NEPA analysis process.
- To link a resource specialist’s responsibilities in regard to the legal tests of a “hard look” at possible impacts and a “good faith” effort to contribute to a legally adequate NEPA analysis.
- To assess the differences between a single resource specialist’s information and the necessary team decisions relating to the overall NEPA analysis process.
- To survey practices and procedures for collaborative review of all specialist reports and then to identify quality criteria for assessing each specialist’s contributions to the overall process.
- To discuss feedback strategies for assessing the overall team success in making NEPA an efficient process and in creating a quality NEPA document.
We tailor each workshop to meet the needs of the participants.
Participants for this training generally include resource specialists, external and/or contracted resource specialists, team leaders, decisionmakers, and other agency professionals who must understand the NEPA process to fully execute their responsibilities.
Participants work with sample resource reports while completing a series of exercises. Some lectures, but most of the workshop time will be group discussion, especially comments and observations about their work on the exercises. The workshop is normally a 2-day session, with an optional third day that allows for more hands-on work with the exercises.
Participants receive copies of How to Write Quality EISs and EAs and Documentation Strategies for Environmental Writers. Both of these are Shipley Group publications. In addition, participants will receive a workbook with workshop tailoring—including several sample resource reports, selected pages from published EAs and EISs, and several Shipley Group newsletters on topics related to resource reports.