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  HOME »  FACTS & HIGHLIGHTS
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Facts & Highlights:
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NCDOT’s Environmental Milestones...

July 2007 NCDOT adopted a new department-wide mission statement, "connecting people and places in North Carolina - safely and efficiently, with accountability and environmental sensitivity."


environmental stewardship 
	and streamlining in North Carolina

February 2007 NCDOT and NCDENR's partnership, the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP), stood among the recipients of the highest environmental awards given annually in North Carolina with its designation as Natural Resources Agency of the Year in the 2006 Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards. The awards are sponsored jointly by the N.C. Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation and "honor individuals, governmental bodies, organizations and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina."

January 2006 NCDOT launched the development of an environmental strategic plan, known internally as the Environmental Management Plan. This plan identifies environmental-related goals, objectives and performance measures.

August 2005 NCDOT's Ferry Division adopted an Environmental Policy and began an ambitious campaign to become ISO 14001 compliant by initiating the development of an environmental management system. This level of performance delivers the highest standard for preserving and protecting the state's natural resources. See NCDOT Ferry Division website for more information.


NADO

July 2005 NCDOT's hosted and chaired the Transportation Research Board's conference on Waste Management and Environmental Management Systems in Charlotte, North Carolina

June 2005 NCDOT was nationally recognized by the National Association of Development Organizations with two Innovation Awards for "North Carolina's Congestion and Mitigation and Air Quality Application and Project Selection Process Improvement" and NCDOT's Environmental Research Program.

April 2005 NCDOT received an unprecedented three 2005 Environmental Excellence Awards from the Federal Highway Administration for its Environmental Research Program, Scenic Byways Program and the Reedy Creek Greenway and Pedestrian Bridge.

January 2005 The Interagency Leadership Team was formed to develop an interagency leadership plan for North Carolina to balance successfully mobility, natural and cultural resource protection, community values, and economic vitality at the confluence of each agencies mission. See NCILT website for more information.


Environment

September 2004 NCDOT launched a new long-range plan that prioritizing transportation investments for the next 25 years. The Statewide Transportation Plan provides a blueprint for greater investments in maintenance, preservation and modernization of the state's existing highway system as well as other transportation options such as rail, and public transportation.





September 2004 NCDOT and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources' partnership to form with the Ecosystem Enhancement Program was nationally recognized as an Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative by the Federal Highway Administration.

August 2004 AASHTO's Center for Environmental Excellence awarded NCDOT an Honorable Mention for the Smart Growth Awards Competition for the Hillsborough Street Partnership.

May 2004 NCDOT was nationally recognized by the National Association of Development Organizations with three Innovation Awards. The nationally awarded initiatives are:

  • Creation of NCDOT's Office of Environmental Quality
  • The Rural Planning Consultation Process
  • The Development of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan
  • April 2004 The NC Land Trust Council recognized NCDOT and the Department of Environment and Natural resources with the Government Conservation Partner of the Year Award for their outstanding support of public policies and programs that have a positive influence on land and water preservation in North Carolina. They were specifically recognized for their role in creating the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program.

    September 2003 NCDOT was awarded as an overall winner for the Best Practices in Environmental Stewardship Competition for the "institutional change" category. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) sponsored this national award competition. This prestigious award recognizes NCDOT's outstanding environmental leadership and partnership efforts.

    September 2003 NCDOT was awarded as an overall winner for the Best Practices in Environmental Stewardship Competition for the "institutional change" category. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) sponsored this national award competition. This prestigious award recognizes NCDOT's outstanding environmental leadership and partnership efforts.

    July 2003 NCDOT was presented with three National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Innovation Awards. The nationally awarded initiatives are:

    May 2003 A storyboard of the environmental history of transportation decision making in North Carolina was created. This process was the first time NCDOT documented its environmental history in written form. The storyboard describes how environmental issues, both human and natural, have impacted North Carolina’s transportation decision-making processes.
    For more information on the state history storyboard, click here
    For more information on the federal history storyboard, click here

    May 19-21, 2003 NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration – North Carolina Division, hosted the 2003 Southern Environmental Leadership Summit (SELS). This conference, held in Raleigh, focused on what is needed to create cultural change within transportation agencies, including the aspects of leadership, accountability, process improvement, customer focus, communication and partnership.

    Environmental Excellence Awards

    April 2003 NCDOT received national recognition as the recipient of the 2003 Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Leadership from the Federal Highway Administration. This award recognizes both NCDOT and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources as national leaders for their outstanding partnership efforts committed to providing for North Carolina’s transportation needs while protecting the State’s natural and human environment.

    October 17, 2002 In partnership with DENR, NCDOT contributed $720,000 towards the purchase of Bird Island in Brunswick County, the last privately-owned and undeveloped barrier island. The island offers 147 acres of high ground and 1,150 acres of submerged lands and becomes a part of the N.C. Coastal Reserve System. Bird Island will serve as a sanctuary for birds, sea turtles and rare plants and will now be preserved from development forever.

    August 2002 The Department celebrated the completion of the U.S. 64/264 Manteo Bypass and the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge over the Croatan Sound. Because of the high quality of the wetlands along the Croatan Sound, NCDOT bridged the entire 3,000 feet of coastal marsh.

    • Over these areas, the highway runoff is piped into a separate basin, which keeps these areas clean.
    • The marshes serve as nurseries for many fish and crustacean species.

    Summer 2002 NCDOT embarked on a new partnership -- called the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) -- with DENR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow the Department to identify mitigation sites in advance of construction, which will save time and reduce costs throughout the planning process.

    June 2002 NCDOT was presented with three National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Innovation Awards. The nationally awarded initiatives are:

    February 7, 2002 The Board of Transportation and Secretary Tippett approved the departments first PDF Downlaod Environmental Stewardship Policy. This policy was developed department-wide and encourages each employee to practice environmental stewardship in his or her day-to-day responsibilities.

    January 29, 2002 Secretary Tippett announced the acquisition of 2,500 acres of land in Hoke County to establish a preserve for the federally-endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This acquisition will not only preserve five colonies of woodpeckers—and possibly increase their numbers—but will also link together an important ecosystem of long leaf pines throughout the Southeast.

    December 2001 NCDOT unveiled its environmental streamlining pilot. Prior to December, the departments environmental streamlining efforts were selected as a TEA-21 Environmental Streamlining Pilot Laboratory. This new pilot strengthens the environmental planning and transportation decision-making process through a variety of steps, including improved communication with environmental agencies, expanded technology and procedures that support the early identification and resolution of impacts upon both the natural and human environment. NCDOT’s environmental streamlining efforts will serve as a national role model.

    November 2001 The department worked with the General Assembly to pass a special provision in the budget bill that will allow NCDOT to use a portion of its cash balances for maintenance and improved signals.

    • RPOs give local officials the opportunity to take the lead in planning local transportation and to help shape the future of their region.

    • RPOs improve quality of life by providing more local public involvement opportunities in the transportation decision-making process.

    • More efficient transportation planning for our rural regions will boost economic development throughout the state, which will benefit all North Carolina.

    From the mountains to the coast, our rural areas are home to some of the state’s most fragile natural resources. Improved planning in our rural areas helps protect natural resources and gives local citizens a unified voice in the transportation decision-making process. Since the formation of Mid-Carolina RPO, the department has announced a total of 20 RPOs—incorporating all NC rural counties. Some of the RPOs Include:

    • October 2001 Secretary Tippett presented a charter to local officials for the Unifour RPO in Hickory, representing the counties of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba.
    • October 2001 The Cape Fear Regional RPO was announced in LeLand, representing the counties of Brunswick, Columbus and Pender.
    • November 2001 The Department announced the Albemarle RPO in Hertford for the counties of Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington.
    • November 2001 The Department announced the Kerr-Tar RPO in Henderson for the counties of Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance and Warren.
    • December 2001 The Department announced the Southwestern RPO for the counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain.
    • February 2002 The Department announced the Isothermal RPO for the counties of McDowell, Polk and Rutherford.
    • February 2002 The Department announced the Northwest Piedmont RPO for the counties of Davie, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin.
    • February 2002 The Department announced the High Country RPO for the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.
    • February 2002 The Department announced the Lake Norman RPO for the counties of Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln.
    • June 2002 The Department announced the Eastern Carolina RPO for the counties of Duplin, Greene, Lenoir and Wayne.
    • June 2002 The Department announced the Peanut Belt RPO for the counties of Berite, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton.
    • July 2002 The Department announced the Down East RPO for the counties of Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow and Pamlico.
    • September 2002 The Department announced the Rocky River RPO for the counties of Anson, Stanley and Union.
    • September 2002 The Department announced the Upper Coastal Plain RPO for the counties of Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash and Wilson.

    September 2001 Secretary Tippett announced the formation of the state’s first Rural Transportation Planning Organization (RPO), the Mid-Carolina RPO.

    June 2001 Secretary Tippett and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary William Ross signed an agreement signifying a shared responsibility to meet the state’s transportation needs while protecting the state’s environment.

    • The agreement outlines specific efforts that will strengthen the relationship between the two agencies including:

      • Establishment of an elevation process to quickly resolve problems that may arise;
      • Development of joint business plans;
      • Monthly joint DOT/DENR senior staff meetings to address policy issues; and
      • Sponsorship of process improvement workshops to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the DOT, DENR and US Army Corps of Engineers permit development, coordination and issuance process.


    • Minimization of impacts of highway construction by providing DOT more information about critical land conservation areas.

    • DENR will be involved earlier in the environmental planning stages for transportation improvements to help avoid delays in the transportation decision-making and permitting process.

    • Regular measurement of progress toward meeting Governor Easley’s charge to both agencies to focus on improving water quality in the state’s 17 river basins.

    March 2001 The Board of Transportation’s first Environmental Planning and Policy Committee was established to provide direction for the integration of an environmental ethic into all NCDOT work. Board Member Nina Szlosberg chairs the committee and is the first board member appointed by NC Governor Michael F. Easley to represent the environmental issues within the state.

    February 2001 Secretary Lyndo Tippett named Roger Sheats as the department’s first Deputy Secretary for Environment, Planning and Local Governmental Affairs.

    May 1997 A team approach was developed between the NCDOT, Federal Highway Administration, and the US Army Corps of Engineers – Wilmington District by jointly signing an interagency agreement integrating requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

    Summer – Fall 1999 Environmental Leadership Seminars were facilitated by the Southern Resource Center and the Federal Highway Administration with the departments management to identify environmental commitments and goals.




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