Environmental Review Services

DNR conducts environmental reviews (ER) for all water and wastewater infrastructure projects, complying with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Nonpoint source projects are not subject to NEPA or NHPA (as long as IFA uses non-federal funds for project disbursements). Detailed procedures and background information can be found in the “SRF ER Services Official Guidebook.”
The SRF Coordinator assigns new projects every quarter based on workload balancing. Projects are assigned when enough information is available to begin the environmental review. If the ER Checklist materials have not been submitted, the file is kept as “IUP only.”
ER Specialists are responsible for:
       Requesting the ER Checklist if it has not been submitted. Sending periodic reminders as needed.
       Reviewing the ER Checklist to determine if it is complete or if additional information is needed.
       Making an initial determination of whether the project will qualify for a Categorical Exclusion (CX) or will need a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI).
       Coordinating with the DNR Project Manager, Consultant, Applicant, and Grant Administrator (as needed) on project readiness, scheduling, and requirements.
       Keeping W/Wisard updated on project milestones throughout the process.
 
Categorical Exclusion (CX)
The ER Specialist determines whether or not a CX is warranted. Part of this determination is gaining concurrence from SHPO.
 The ER Specialist:
       Confirms that all conditions of the CX are met (including possible floodplain permitting).
       Prepares CX and notifies the Applicant to place a public notice in local newspaper in order to begin 30-day public comment period. No public hearing is required for the CX.
       Posts the CX on the IowaSRF.com website via the SiteViz Enterprise Edition for the length of the public review.
       Sends CX to interested parties for the 30-day review period. Provided no parties raise irresolvable issues, CX may be finalized after ER Specialist receives proof of publication from Applicant.
       Checks to make sure W/Wisard data is fully entered and project files (paper and electronic) are well organized and complete.
       Hands off the paper file to the SRF Administrative Assistant for incorporation into the SRF project file. Provides instructions on any confidential materials.
 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI)
If the ER Specialist determines that a CX is not applicable, the FNSI process must be followed.
 The ER Specialist:
       Verifies the project scope with the DNR Project Manager and/or Consultant.
       Corresponds with various Federal, state and local agencies to better assess the potential impact to the environment and determines if permits will be required.
       Communicates to the Applicant and Consultant if any permits are necessary; Consultant/Applicant will be responsible for obtaining required permits and turning them in to the ER Specialist.
       Obtains an archeological site file search from the Office of the State Archeology (OSA) if the situation warrants.
       Contracts with an archeologist or architectural historian as the project warrants using the existing contracts to perform a Phase 1 or Phase 1A Survey or Reconnaissance survey.
       Completes Iowa Site inventory forms for any structures to be impacted that are over 50 years old.
       Submits proper information to the State Historic Preservation Office.
       Coordinates with the Applicant to conduct a public hearing with a 30-day public notice regarding the environmental impacts of the project; provides the Applicant with an Environmental Information Document summarizing the environmental review to date.
       Collects relevant comments and paperwork after the hearing is held.
       Evaluates any public comments, permits, and comments from agencies regarding the impacts of the project.
       Confirms that all the conditions of the FNSI are met.
       Prepares FNSI and notifies the Applicant.
       Posts the FNSI on the IowaSRF.com website via the SiteViz Enterprise Edition for the length of the public review.
       Sends FNSI to interested parties for the 30-day review period. Provided no parties raise irresolvable issues, FNSI may be finalized.
       Checks to make sure W/Wisard data is fully entered and project files (paper and electronic) are well organized and complete.
       Hands off the paper file to the SRF Administrative Assistant for incorporation into the SRF project file. Provides instructions on any confidential materials.
 
Archaeological or Architectural History Surveys
 
The ER Specialist:
       Verifies the project scope with the DNR Project Manager and/or Consultant.
       Prepares Work Order Request for Phase I archaeological survey and/or Phase IA architectural history reconnaissance survey.
       Issues Work Order Requests and solicits bid proposals from contractors included in Master Contract for archaeological and/or architectural history survey.
       Collects bid proposals and awards Work Order to the lowest responsive bidder or other criteria (e.g. ability to expedite deliverables, past performance, etc) as defined in Master Contract.
       Distributes permission form for archaeological survey work to Applicant to have affected landowners sign and return.  Forwards permission forms to contractor.
       Corresponds with contractor regarding project details and scheduling field work with Applicant and other affected landowners.  
       Reviews final report for completeness and requests additional clarification as needed for approval by State Historic Preservation Office.
       Processes invoices submitted by contractor.