CDOT Section 6(f) Clearance Process

The Section 6(f) evaluation and clearance process should be conducted separately from the Section 4(f) evaluation and process. These are two different laws with different oversight agencies and separate clearance time frames. The Section 6(f) process should be started when alternatives for the proposed action are first being designed and developed, or during the scoping phase of a proposed action. Below are steps that should be taken in the clearance process and an approximation of how long some of these steps should take:

  • Determine if a 6(f) resource is present in or near the project study area.
    • If there is an outdoor recreational facility (i.e. a park, trail, swimming pool, fairground, etc.) near the project location, the Environmental Project Manager should contact the Section 6(f) Specialist at EPB. The EPB specialist will search the State LWCF grant database to determine if funds were used on properties near the study area.
  • If grant funds were used on a property near the study area, the EPB specialist will obtain a map from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) that shows the boundary area of where the grant was applied.
    • As some examples, the boundary area can be a small area within a park, can be the whole park, can be a trail, or can be an area that a trail traverses, such as a river floodplain.
    • Timeframe: 1 to 2 weeks
  • Once the boundary is known, work with project staff to avoid the property if possible.
  • If the property within the boundary cannot be avoided, all practicable alternatives need to be evaluated and rejected on a sound basis. In addition, there needs to be an effort to minimize the impact as much as possible.
    • At this point, coordination with the CPW Section 6(f) State Liaison Officer and the official with jurisdiction of the recreational facility should occur. The EPB Section 6(f) specialist will coordinate directly with the State Liaison Officer.
  • Begin to identify mitigation property.
    • Only acceptable mitigation is the substitution of replacement property of equal value
      • Must be at least equal fair market value as determined by a state approved appraisal that follows the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, and is approximately the same acreage.
      • Must have reasonably equivalent usefulness and location as the property being converted. Does not necessarily need to be directly adjacent to the property being impacted.
  • Compose a letter that formally requests permission to convert a Section 6(f) property to other than public outdoor recreation use. This letter will be submitted by CDOT to CPW and conforms with the prerequisites set forth in 36 CFR 59.
    • The letter should identify the LWCF assisted property; show the area of conversion; summarize the alternatives analysis; describe the commitment to mitigate; and demonstrate support from the official with jurisdiction. The official with jurisdiction support usually comes from a separate letter attached. In this letter, the official with jurisdiction must commit to manage the mitigation property under the requirements of Section 6(f) in perpetuity.
    • The CPW State Liaison Officer will review and evaluate the letter. If there are no comments, or once all comments have been adequately addressed, CPW will then submit the letter to NPS.
    • NPS will then indicate any concerns to CPW. If there are no concerns, CPW will give final conditional approval.
    • FHWA has indicated that approval, or lack of objection, at this point is sufficient for NEPA clearance.
    • The process from the initial coordination with CPW through this final conditional approval is 6 weeks to 3 months.
  • Through the normal CDOT right-of-way process, the land being converted should be acquired and the replacement property should be secured and deeded to the impacted Section 6(f) encumbered land.
  • Near the end of construction, but before closing the project, a formal Section 6(f) conversion proposal must be submitted to the NPS by CPW. CDOT will prepare the request for CPW with their approval.
    • Once the conversion has been approved by NPS, the project can be closed out.