AHTD, through its Environmental Division, provides multidisciplinary review and analysis of project development and operations to ensure compliance with environmental laws, regulations and policies. Federal environmental legislation includes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and others. AHTD is committed to environmental stewardship and mitigation of environmental and cultural impacts. The partial list of programs below describes how AHTD participates directly and indirectly in the NPS Management Program.
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Project Review. The NEPA of 1969 establishes procedures that all federal agencies are required to implement to make environmental consideration a necessary part of their decision-making processes, including approval and construction of federally funded highway projects. To this end, AHTD produces environmental documentation for all construction projects. Full disclosure of environmental issues includes scoping with resource agencies and a public involvement process that includes early public involvement meetings and public hearings. NPS related activities routinely undertaken include geographic information systems analysis, wetland impact assessments, and storm water permitting. In addition, the Division monitors water quality and implements wetland mitigation property management strategies.
- Storm Water Management. The AHTD recently developed and filed a notice of intent for a statewide small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) NPDES permit. AHTD is working on a plan to address minimum control measures, including public education and outreach, public participation/involvement; illicit discharge detection and elimination; construction site runoff control; post-construction runoff control and pollution prevention/good housekeeping. The Environmental Division provides training to AHTD personnel on storm water management and permit requirements. Training for contractors is planned in the future.
- Resource Agency Permit Facilitation. AHTD obtains all required environmental permits for state and federal highway projects, including filing notices of intent, preparing permit applications and obtaining permits.
- Highway Construction Best Management Practices. AHTD maintains a manual of best management practices for construction storm water management and provides training to its contractors and staff on best management practices. Training for contractors is planned in the future.
- Along with the Environmental Division, AHTD operates the T2 Technology Transfer Program, which is responsible for assisting cities and counties in implementation of transportation related technology. While the program focuses on construction and maintenance, materials, administration and computer programs, cities and counties also could benefit from training on storm water BMPs. The Arkansas Technology Transfer Program is a cooperative effort of AHTD, the Federal Highway Administration's Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.