Biology Monitoring Guidance
The Geo-Environmental (GE) Section provides standards and procedures for ODOT to streamline environmental compliance procedures. This includes biological monitoring, which is typically required as a condition of biological permits, such as federal and state Endangered Species Act (ESA) incidental take permits and state fish passage permits. Resources have been developed to support biological monitoring efforts, including a database, template reports, field checklist, GIS files, GPS/field mapping applications. Check this website periodically for the latest information and guidance. |
The symbol indicates requirements for ODOT Environmental employees and consultants on ODOT projects (as per ODOT Tech Bulletin GE09-04(b)). Implementation procedures follow each requirement.
This web site contains resources for ODOT Environmental employees (and consultants on ODOT projects) to complete the most common biological monitoring requirements for mitigation projects owned by ODOT. The monitoring guidelines described here do not apply to mitigation banks, Special Management Areas, mitigation for 4(f) resources, or local agency-owned projects funded by ODOT or Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) programs. However, local agencies may utlilize the guidance and templates here to meet their biological monitoring obligations. Monitoring guidelines for wetland mitigation are provided in the Wetlands program website, at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/WETMANUAL/post_const_monitor.shtml.
These procedures are effective beginning September 1, 2008.
ODOT Biologists also monitor our Special Management Areas that have listed and protected plants and animals. In preparation for a Habitat Conservation Plan that the Geo-Environmental Section and Office of Maintenance are working on, we have new SMA/botanical monitoring standards and documentation, for implementation in 2011. Each year, Region Biologists will complete a Site Check of each SMA and botanical site, and every third year detailed monitoring. All of the information to be collected and instructions are provided in the SMA/Botanical Monitoring Form, and SMA/Botanical Site Inspection Form. Update SMA GIS data, at a minimum, during Monitoring surveys (see Field Monitoring Protocols). For more information, contact Mindy Trask, Geo-Environmental Section Monitoring Program Coordinator (Melinda.email@example.com) or (503) 986-3504.
|Types of Biological Monitoring|
|The following types of permits require post-construction or annual biological monitoring: |
- ESA Section 7 Biological Opinions
- SLOPES (Standard Local Operating Procedures for Endangered Species) Programmatic Biological Opinions
- ODOT Cut/Fill Emergency/Urgency Programmatic Biological Opinion
- OTIA (Oregon Transportation Investment Act) III Bridge Programmatic Biological Opinion
- Department of State Lands (DSL) fill/removal permit for work in Essential Salmonid Habitat (non-wetland permits)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Section 404 permit for work in waters of the United States (non-wetland permits that require riparian monitoring)
|Annual Monitoring Report – a report required in most ESA Section 7 Biological Opinions. The annual monitoring report describes how well the project is meeting performance standards or success criteria set forth in the permit. The monitoring period is indicated in the Biological Opinion (typically 5 years, but may be longer performance standards not been met within that period). |
Mitigation Feature - a component of the mitigation site that is being tracked for success according to ESA Section 7 commitments. It may be an area with riparian plantings, a section of stream with root wads, a patch of noxious weeds, etc.
Mitigation Site - the location of restoration and compensatory mitigation associated with a permit. The mitigation site typically includes the entire area of direct impact associated with an action (temporary and permanent disturbances within the construction limits) and possibly also the area where off-site mitigation was performed.
Post-Construction Monitoring Report – a report that is required in most ESA Section 7 Biological Opinions. The post-construction monitoring report describes how a project met the terms and conditions of a Biological Opinion during construction, such as work area isolation, erosion control, and vegetation removal. The due date for the post-construction monitoring report is specified in the Biological Opinion (typically 120-days after completion of construction).
Project Completion Report – a specific type of post-construction monitoring report for programmatic Biological Opinions, such as SLOPES and OTIA III.
|Biological Monitoring Data|
|Tracking Databases |
The GIS Unit and GE Section cooperatively maintain Biology Mitigation Monitoring Databases to map and track mitigation compliance for all projects with biology mitigation and monitoring requirements.
- The GE Section uses information in the database to forecast and justify the ODOT post-construction monitoring budget to insure that monitoring funds are continually available.
- GE also uses the database to track budgets, track success of statewide mitigation efforts, determine if and when mitigation banking is justified, and provide continuous improvement of ODOT mitigation efforts.
- Environmental employees and Region environmental manager may use the database for work scheduling and project tracking.
The databases are on the statewide GIS server, requiring check-out, as described in Field Monitoring Protocols. Access to the database is restricted to ODOT Environmental employees and consultants.
Most of the project permit and annual performance information is in the Project_Pt (Site Point) database. There are separate databases for mapping the project boundary and mitigation features (such as stream features, At this time, the GE Section updates this database based on annual monitoring reports. The GE Section uses information in this database to forecast and justify needs for the ODOT post-construction monitoring budget, to insure that monitoring funds are continually available. GE also uses this database to track success of statewide mitigation efforts, and provide continuous improvement of ODOT mitigation efforts. Environmental employees and Region environmental manager may use the various monitoring databases for maintenance work scheduling and project tracking.
||ODOT Environmental employees are required to update the Biology Mitigation Monitoring Database for each ODOT project with biology mitigation obligations, and shall ensure that all active mitigation sites are mapped in the Biology Mitigation Site Point GIS file.|
i. In the email, request that they create a new GIS record site point and
- If a project has no key number already (e.g., maintenance projects), request that one be assigned by GE, via e-mail to GeoAdminWorkOrders@odot.state.or.us. This should be done during project development, or at minimum, by bid-let.
- For new mitigation sites, submit a request for a new environmental site ID. This should be done before construction has been completed.
- Once you have a key number and environmental site ID, create a new record in the statewide GIS database as follows:
- Request a check-out of the layers you wish to edit either using the GIS Units online check-out request form: http://intranet.odot.state.or.us/gis/gps.htm#Checkoutor send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include similar information in your checkout request.
- Create a new Site Point in the GIS database. Typically, each permitted action will have one site Site_ID and one corresponding mapped site point. The location of the point is the approximate center of the permitted action, or nearest Route/MP-tenth. You can map multiple boundary features with the same Site_ID if a permitted action has multiple and geographically distinct mitigation areas.
- To do this, EITHER:
boundary for that site, at the site location you provide.
ii. Provide the site location in terms of ODOT Highway Number or Route
(if on a highway, or Road if not on a highway), Region, County,
Maintenance Unit (if known), and center MP (tenth). Include project
name and key or maintenance number.
iii. If you are not GIS-saavy, GE will add additional the attribute
information to the GIS layers based on your first monitoring report.
iv. Or, if you are capable of editing GIS shapefiles in ArcView or ArcMap,
instead, request check-out of the Biology mitigation site point and
Boundary layers so that you can create your new records.
v. When you receive the response e-email with the check-out file location,
add this to a GIS map document, begin an editing session, and create
your new site point record and complete as many of the attribute fields
as you can, particularly project information, final construction year, and
vi. When you have completed editing the record, export the layer to your
GPS check-in folder, and e-mail ODOT GPS Data to check-in the edits
to the statewide GIS database.
|Field Monitoring Protocols|
|Before heading out for field monitoring, you may complete the Biology Monitoring Checklist to ensure that you are well prepared to gather the appropriate data. |
ODOT’s Transportation Data Section (Transportation Development Division) maintains the statewide Biology Mitigation Geographic Information System (GIS) files.
||ODOT Environmental employees shall ensure that the boundary/extent of all active mitigation sites are mapped in the Biology Mitigation GIS Database.|
- At least one week prior to your first monitoring site visit, or even towards the end of the construction monitoring period, contact ODOT’s GIS unit via ODOT GPS Data@odot.state.or.us, to check-out the GIS files.
- Request to check-out, at a minimum, the existing site point layer (that you should have already created), and a “blank” boundary layer. If you do not know what is needed for the check-out process, contact the GIS Unit for assistance. If you are heading out to do your field monitoring with GPS, also check-out the feature layers.
- Map the boundary, either:
- In the field using GPS,
- Or, create the record via hand-digitizing in a desktop GIS environment.
- NOTE: GPS field mapping is more accurate, and ODOT’s GIS Unit has ArcPad/GPS software specifically for ODOT Biology monitoring.
- The boundary is the geographic extent of the mitigation features associated with a permitted project. More than one boundary may be applicable if the mitigation includes geographically discontinuous features. It is up to the discretion of the lead Environmental employee what constitutes separate boundaries. The combination of all boundaries per site will be used as the total area of mitigation for that project.
GPS Application User's Guide
- Environmental employees may seek assistance from the GIS Unit employees to hand-digitize boundaries.
- ODOT’s Biology Monitoring ArcPad applications, ArcPad equipment, and software are required if GPS mapping is used.
- ODOT’s GIS Unit provides support and training on use of the Biology Mitigation GIS and GPS applications.
- A quick reference guide for using the GeoXT and ArcPad is available at: http://intranet.odot.state.or.us/gis/PDF/docs/BioApp_One_Page_PLS.pdf
- A more complete user-guide is available for the ODOT Biology Mitigation GPS applications.
GE recommends that Environmental employees also map important mitigation features using GPS (ArcPad applications for biology mitigation features are also available), although this is not mandatory.
The GPS applications are excellent tools for tracking changes over time, creating maps for monitoring reports, or developing site plans for maintenance contracts. However, you should maintain rough sketches or As-Built Plans of site boundary and mitigation features as back-up (in case of technical glitches with the electronic applications).
|Biological Monitoring Reports|
||To improve consistency and success tracking, all ODOT biology mitigation monitoring reports shall be prepared with the Template Monitoring Report. |
The same template can be used for post-construction or annual monitoring reports.
||Monitoring reports must include the exact permit requirements or terms and conditions relevant to mitigation and monitoring requirements. This may be mitigation commitments in the permit application or Biological Assessment, or monitoring conditions in the Biological Opinion or fill/removal permit. |
- The easiest way to do this is to cut/paste the relevant conditions and attach them to the report.
- Do not simply reference the permit document because it is too difficult to track down the permit each time one wants to review the monitoring report.
|Report Distribution Guidelines|
||All mitigation monitoring reports shall be sent directly to the permitting authority from the Region Tech Centers (except GE-managed Mitigation Management Contract, in which Consultant transmits reports), regardless of action agency (ODOT, FHWA, or Corps). |
- Combine monitoring report, figures & attachments into one Adobe Acrobat document (cover letter not needed with new Biology Monitoring Template). Use GE file naming convention (e.g. 11522_BMR2010_Kitson_Ridge)
- Except SLOPES IV and OTIA III programmatics, mail a hard copy of the original, complete document directly to the appropriate regulatory authority (see addresses below).
- E-mail copy distribution (Files larger than 10mb must be uploaded to ftp://ftp.odot.state.or.us.NRUTrans/ with email notification as below):
- Appropriate regulatory liaisons (particularly your ODFW liaison if fish or wildlife passage was required
- NRU-Trans@odot.state.or.us (important for asset management, tracking, and quality assurance). Subject line should have Key#, Bio Mon Report, Project Name.
- For SLOPES projects, e-mail complete document directly to NMFS, using the SLOPES IV email box (or NMFS online submittal when appropriate/available). For SLOPES IV, only Action Completion and Final Monitoring reports are required to be submitted to regulators. But GE standards require completion of annual monitoring and reporting to NRU-Trans for all active mitigation sites.
- For OTIA III projects, upload to appropriate monitoring folder in EDMS, and send email notification as per #3 above.
- Mail a hard copy also to Corps only if: (1) they were the federal nexus and permittee; (2) they required monitoring for aquatic or riparian impacts; or (3) one of the SLOPES programmatics was used. If applicable, indicate in the cover letter that you have already submitted the report to NMFS.
This guidance applies to all post-construction and annual monitoring reports. Some permits may have unique report submittal requirements, but still require an e-mail copy to NRU-trans and your liaisons. We no longer send FHWA copies of monitoring reports; instead GE will provide an annual summary to FHWA.
||Mailing Addresses: |
||Mr. Kim Kratz
National Marine Fisheries Service
Habitat Conservation Division, Oregon State Office
1201 Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100
Portland, OR 97232-2737
|Compliance Section |
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204-3495
||Joe Zisa, Division Chief
Division of Energy, Infrastructure and Ecosystems Services
2600 SE 89th Ave., Suite 100
Portland, OR 97266
|Russ Klassen |
Department of State Lands
775 Summer Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
||GE provides budgets for post-construction site management (monitoring and site maintenance). Expenditure accounts and sub jobs are assigned per Region and Program, with a loaded budget that was developed based on site-specific projections from Environmental employees. The environmental monitoring expenditure accounts are based on the biennium budget cycle. |
Mitigation sites that require remediation or corrective work, or maintenance costs greater than $5,000 (or as indicated by GE) for post-construction site management must use project-specific a Corrective Action expenditure account rather than the Region/Program accounts.
||Requests for Corrective Action expenditure accounts must be submitted to the Monitoring Program Coordinator, with a completed Corrective Action Plan. |
Mitigation Capitol Improvement Plan
||The Corrective Action budget request should encompass all monitoring, maintenance and corrective work anticipated to bring the project into compliance and to final close-out. Corrective Action budgets are not limited to the biennium budget cycle, but remain active until the budget is spent or the project is completed (close-out). |
||Regions are required to provide budget forecasts in preparation for biennium budgets (when requested by GE), track their environmental monitoring accounts, and limit expenses to within the loaded budgets. |
||Sub jobs may be closed by GE when budgets are expended, but not without coordinating with the Region's environmental manager and staff to discuss budget needs or reconcile questionable expenditures.|
||Region Environmental employees are responsible for post-construction monitoring and tracking mitigation site establishment as part of the overall construction project and environmental permits. However, even after the construction projects closes, ODOT is responsible for managing the mitigation site sufficiently to meet permit objectives. |
||The Region Environmental employee must coordinate site management each year during the permitted monitoring period. |
- Management activities may be conducted by ODOT’s Maintenance employees or a Contractor, but the Region Environmental employee must coordinate directly with the Maintenance Supervisor or Contractor to plan and schedule the work. To find out which Maintenance Supervisor or Contractor is appropriate for a particular project location, check the following guide: Click Here
- The GE provides Contracting Services for maintenance work in Regions where contracts were successfully bid. If the local Maintenance crew is not available, you can hire OYCC or Maintenance Contractors (available in some areas only – see map above). More information on maintenance contracts can be found in Maintenance Contracts (or contact the GE Conservation Programs Manager).
- Region Environmental employees must review & pay invoices for work completed by OYCC or Maintenance Contractors, using appropriate charge accounts (See Monitoring Budgets section above).
- Typically, regular coordination with the Maintenance Supervisor or consultant is needed to ensure the work takes place as agreed-upon.
- When using a Maintenance Contractor, the hiring Environmental Employee is responsible for inspecting the work. These contracts specify that they must meet with ODOT to inspect work completed. An Inspection Checklist has been developed to assist with inspecting work performed by Contractors, and can also be used to inspect work performed by OYCC and maintenance crews.
- Site management shall cease after related permit obligations have been met. On a case-by-case basis, site management may be allowed to continue after permit obligations are met but this will require written approval from GE and the Region Tech Center.
GE also has a more comprehensive Mitigation Site Management Contract (with Mason, Bruce, & Girard) that Region Tech Centers may use, for project-specific post-construction mitigation monitoring and management services (wetland and biology). If a Region elects to use this Mitigation Site Management Contract for a project, it must be for all subsequent post-construction biological and wetland monitoring and maintenance services (monitoring, Site Maintenance, Corrective Action). For example, this Contract may not be used for site maintenance alone, while monitoring is conducted by Region Environmental employees. Contact the GE Conservation Programs Manager for more information.