SECTION: ENVIRONMENT & MITIGATION
IMPACTS & MITIGATION OPPORTUNITIES ––
Water resources are by far the most likely environmental feature to be potentially impacted by the projects on the current TIP. In an effort to identify potential mitigation projects that would enhance water resources on a local or regional scale, HATS conducted an extensive outreach effort to municipalities throughout the MPO and compiled a list of planned projects from Pollution Prevention Plans and other sources that would enhance water resources across the region while also filling MS4 permit requirements for municipalities.
Information including project descriptions, cost and anticipated pollution reduction potential has been compiled in an effort to provide matches for project-specific impacts. Working through the environmental advisory committee, it may be possible to complete many of these projects as a form of "mitigation bank" for future water resource impacts.
Historic or other cultural resources may also be impacted by the projects on the 2019 TIP. However, while the number of potential impacts is significant, HATS is also aware that the available data on historic resources throughout the region is limited, so the potential for even greater impacts is clear. In an effort to help clarify potential impacts, minimize actual impacts, and offer mitigation opportunities with the greatest possible value, HATS is currently working with the PA Historic and Museum Commission (PHMC) to expand the National Register eligibility database throughout the HATS region. Once this improved database is available, impacts and mitigation opportunities can be more clearly defined and evaluated through the advisory committee.
Potential impacts to agricultural lands are the last category with a large number of transportation system potential impacts. The Dauphin County Conservation District and Manada Conservancy both play significant roles in efforts to preserve/protect agricultural resources in Dauphin County, as do the Perry County Conservation District and Cumberland County Planning Department in their respective counties.
All three public entities participate in the state agricultural preservation program and each have the mandatory property evaluation process focusing on high quality soil and likelihood for conversion without preservation, thereby making participation in their programs an ideal opportunity for addressing agricultural resource and/or secondary or cumulative growth impacts caused by improved transportation system access.
There is also the potential for working with private organizations like the Manada Conservancy that may provide additional program flexibility. Therefore, it is the desire of the MPO to work with PennDOT, FHWA, and the Agency Coordination Meeting (ACM) to develop a viable "mitigation bank" involving contributions to the applicable county programs to account for agricultural resource and/or secondary/cumulative impacts arising from the current TIP.
In addition to the specifically identified mitigation opportunities identified above, PennDOT has created a Watershed Resources Registry which includes areas best suited for wetland, riparian and stormwater preservation and restoration. Using this tool during the transportation planning process is an important tool for HATS in the identification of ideal areas for project-specific mitigation opportunities. This tool is expected to be especially valuable where more specific mitigation opportunities are not well-matched to project-specific resource impacts. View the Watershed Resources Registry here.