US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

IEFStep 7 : Develop Programmatic Consultation, Biological Opinion or Permit

Integrated Ecological Framework Step

Purpose & Outcome


Ensure that documentation has occurred and regulatory connections have been made.

  • Agreement on resource management roles and methods.
  • Incorporation of outcome-based performance standards into programmatic agreements to improve project avoidance and minimization and to aid effective monitoring and adaptive management actions.
  • Programmatic ESA Section 7 consultation, Special Area Management Plan, Regional General Permit, or agreements enabling agencies to proceed with conservation action in line with CWA Section 404 and ESA program objectives/requirements and with maximum assurance that conservation or restoration investments count and will be sufficient, as transportation projects continue through the design and development process.


TIP: To access more information on sub-steps, please visit the complete Guide to the Integrated Ecological Framework.

  1. Ensure agreements are documented relating to CWA Section 404 permitting, avoidance and minimization, ESA Section 7 consultation, roles and responsibilities, land ownership and management, conservation measures, etc.
  2. Plan for long-term management make arrangements with land management agencies/organizations (e.g. land trusts or bankers) for permanent protection of conservation and restoration parcels. Notify and coordinate with local governments for supportive action.
  3. Design performance measures for transportation projects that will be practical for long-term adaptive management and include in 404 permit and/or Section 7 BA/BO.
  4. Choose a monitoring strategy for mitigation sites based on practical measures above, ideally using the same metrics as those used for impact assessment, site selection, and credit development.
  5. Set up periodic meetings (at least annual) to identify what is working well and what could be improved.

Technical Questions

  • Who will lead the development of needed agreements?
  • Under what conditions would the agreement be revisited?
  • How often will parties meet to monitor and evaluate progress?
  • What monitoring strategy will be most effective for this region or these parties?


None identified

Case Study Examples

Click on the arrows below for detailed information on each case

Tools & Methods

Click on the arrows below for detailed information on each tool or method.

  • Description: The Mitigation Ration Calculator is an analytical tool that can be used to develop wetland mitigation ratios that are technically and legally defensible, and are based on achieving "full" replacement of lost wetland services. The tool can be used to establish appropriate ratios for specific wetland permitting decisions, to "score" wetland mitigation trades, or to assign "credits" to wetland mitigation banks. Using the tool, in most cases, will result in higher mitigation requirements than not using the tool. Using the tool also provides economic incentives for developers to avoid and minimize wetland impacts. Because the tool links the quantity of mitigation required (number of acres) to the quality of mitigation offered (gains in wetland services per acre), it also provides economic incentives for developers who cannot avoid wetland impacts to invest in higher quality wetland restoration.

  • Description: NEPAssist is a GIS application that automates and web-enables the collection and coordination of information inherent in the environmental review process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).