North Carolina's Transportation Improvement Program: Incorporat'mg GIS into a State-wide Mitigation Study
HOLDSTOCK D, North Carolina State University, DC ROBINSON and B SCHALLER, North Carolina Department of Transportation, USA
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is the largest state DOT in the United States, responsible for over 77,000 miles of state roads and bridges. As a result, NCDOT has one of the nation's most comprehensive transportation improvement p
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is the largest state DOT in the United States, responsible for over 77,000 miles of state roads and bridges. As a result, NCDOT has one of the nation's most comprehensive transportation improvement plans. North Carolina also has an abundance or" environmentally sensitive wetlands along its expansive coast and coastal plain area, as well as in the piedmont and mountain regions. Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. Such areas generally include swamps, marshes, and bogs, .all offering invaluable functions that may include flood control, groundwater recharge, and pollutant filtering; wildlife habitat and sanctuaries for rare and endangered species; and educational, recreational, and aesthetic value.
Under the law and the Federal guidelines developers seeking to build in wetland areas are required to secure permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). The guidelines require applicants to take all steps possible to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands - whether this is through mitigation (restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation), avoidance, or minimization. Until recently NCDOT had no systematic way of predicting the impact of 2,500 scheduled highway and bridge improvement projects on wetlands to forecast wetland mitigation needs. Utilizing the tools afforded by G-eographie Information systems (GIS) a state-wide study was conducted to estimate acres of wetlands impacted by highway construction projects programmed for 1996-2004. This analysis would allow NCDOT take a more pro-active approach to forecasting wetland mitigation needs.
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