Flowchart 4: Environmental Clearance

Full Flowchart

You can also dig more deeply into the separate pieces of the flowchart below.

To initiate the environmental process you must request a scoping meeting with your CDOT project manager and region environmental manager. You will need to bring project details known at this point to the meeting and should use the NEPA scoping meeting checklist for this meeting, found on the CDOT NEPA Tools website.

CDOT region environmental will evaluate the project information you provide and determine the initial NEPA level required. CDOT environmental will also give initial feedback on resources present in the project area and/or surveys/clearances needed for the project. The review time is workload dependent and may not occur during the scoping meeting. See CDOT's NEPA Manual for an explanation of NEPA level.

You must provide the necessary project design detail, often 30 percent design (FIR level), (but may be more for a historic clearance) to a resource specialist or consultant so they can begin surveys or assessment on project impacts. See the CDOT NEPA Manual for project design needs by environmental resource, estimated timelines of surveys or consultations, and resource assessment detail.

CDOT environmental reviews resource input and survey reports. Comments are often given to help the documents meet requirements to allow clearance and may require additional effort by your agency. Review time by CDOT environmental is workload dependent.

If you have adequately addressed the comments and additional requirements, these revised reports are the final reports/analysis and can be accepted by CDOT. See CDOT's NEPA Manual for resource detail necessary for this analysis.

CDOT delivers the "top part" or box B signature on the Form 128 (Catex form) for this level of project design. This step may still need to be verified if you have a NEPA Record of Decision for an EIS or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for an EA. CDOT will help identify the "bottom part" of the 128 requirements that may include required permits or other reports that will be necessary to complete the environmental clearance process. Flowchart 4A: Environmental and ROW Options provides information on how you might be able to purchase ROW prior to completing the environmental clearance process.

You start working on final design, required mitigations, permits or other reports such as a wetland finding report, as required for the "bottom part" clearance (box E) of the Form 128. This includes any project specials specifications. See CDOT's MS4 Construction Program Manual if any of the four water quality related specifications are being modified for acceptable process and for the stormwater management plan checklist that ensures all required information is included. See the CDOT NEPA Manual for requirement details. See CDOT's MS4 Construction and Permanent Water Quality Manuals for the water quality-related specification change process and MS4 Permanent Water Quality requirements.

You must sign a template IGA for:

  • Any project-related permanent water quality (PWQ) control measure (CM) maintenance prior to advertisement; or
  • Any construction project using Permanent Water Quality Mitigation Pool funds.

See the CDOT Permanent Water Quality Program Manual and Permanent Water Quality website for details on the permanent water quality control measure requirements or for the use of the $6.5M/year Permanent Water Quality Mitigation Pool funds available to local agencies in partnership with CDOT.

CDOT environmental reviews reports, verifies the permit is in hand or permit requirement is in the contract documents. Mitigations either have commitments in the contract or are done by others. CDOT signs the "bottom part" or box E of Form 128. Please remember that this is not the end of your environmental requirements. The project must complete these mitigations and comply with all permits, including the stormwater construction permit, during construction.