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Statewide Advanced Mitigation Funding and Financial Strategies

PI: Sciara
Funder: Caltrans

When developing or improving infrastructure in ways that could impact natural ecosystems, landscapes, habitats, and species, transportation agencies have the responsibility to contribute to the conservation of regional natural resources through compensatory mitigation. Traditionally, environmental mitigation is planned and implemented late in the long project development cycle and in a project-by-project piecemeal fashion, an approach that is costly and potentially less ecologically effective. This California Transportation Commission sponsored study considers potential funding and implementation strategies for earlier, more comprehensive environmental mitigation, shifting project planning and delivery from a single-project approach to a multi-project, regional approach. The study examines the extent to which early regional mitigation needs assessment and advance planning for habitat-level impacts from multiple infrastructure projects may promise such potential benefits as (1) reduced project delays, (2) reduced mitigation and transaction costs, and (3) improved mitigation quality. Importantly, it assesses options for an adequate, politically acceptable, and reliable funding source to implement advance mitigation planning in California. Further, the study identifies ways to develop and institutionalize state agency methods, practices, and resources for identifying programmatic mitigation needs and plans.

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