Monday, March 27, 2006

Building on a Brownfield? Concerned about endangered critters?

By Sharon Kophs, brownfields program manager for Washington State Community, Trade and Economic Development
"The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to conserve the nation's natural heritage for the enjoyment and benefit of current and future generations. As such, the ESA directs all federal agencies to participate in conservation of species endangered or threatened with extinction. "Section 7(a)(2) of the act charges federal agencies with ensuring their activities "will not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitats." This means any project using federal funds must comply with Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA through a consultation process. This includes all projects using EPA 128 grant, direct brownfields assessment or cleanup grants, and cleanup funding through Brownfields revolving loan funds. "EPA Region 10 requests its nonfederal partners and grantees to provide sufficient information to make such a determination. Generally, the ESA consultation is conducted as part of a project's eligibility determination for an assessment pilot, or before initiating construction work for a cleanup site. A consultation may need to be completed for each phase if conditions change."

Read the rest. It's a good place to start on a critical part of your project, giving several useful links to helpful websites and offering excellent advice. Plus, Ms. Kophs can be a good ally to have.