U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
Definitions
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The following are definitions commonly used during an EIS preparation process:
 
Affected environment
Existing biological, physical, social, and economic conditions of an area subject to change, both directly and indirectly, as the result of a proposed human action.
 
Air Quality
The cleanliness of air as measured by the levels of pollutants relative to standards and guideline levels established to protect human health and welfare.
 
Biological Assessment
The gathering and evaluation of information on proposed endangered and threatened species, critical habitat and proposed critical habitat. Required when a management action potentially conflicts with endangered or threatened species, the biological assessment is the way federal agencies enter into formal consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and describe a proposed action and the consequences to the species the action would affect.
 
Biological Opinion
A document prepared by USFWS stating their opinion as to whether or not a federal action will likely jeopardize the continued existence or adversely modify the habitat of a listed threatened or endangered species.
 
Candidate Species
Species for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support the issuance of a proposed rule to list but issuance of the proposed rule is precluded.
 
Cooperating Agency
The cooperating agency assists the lead federal agency in developing an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act define a cooperating agency as an agency that has jurisdiction by law or special expertise for proposals covered by the National Environmental Policy Act (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1501.6). Any federal, State, local government jurisdiction with such qualifications may become a cooperating agency by agreement with the lead agency.
 
Cultural Resources
Cultural resources include archaeological, historic, or architectural sites, structures, or places with important public and scientific uses, and locations of traditional cultural or religious importance to specific social and/or cultural groups.

Draft EIS
A draft version of the Environmental Impact Statement that documents the purpose and need, alternatives screening process, and methods and results of the environmental analysis.  The draft is released to the public and impacted agencies for review and comment.

Endangered Species
Any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 
 
Environmental Analysis
Evaluates the environmental impacts and results arising from activities at a site.
 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
A formal public document required by the Federal government under NEPA for certain Federal actions, that documents the information required to evaluate the environmental impact of a project. It informs decision makers and the public of the reasonable alternatives that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the environment. This is the highest level of environmental analysis and documentation in the NEPA process.
 
Environmentally Preferred Alternative
As expressed in NEPA, the environmentally “Preferred Alternative” is an alternative that will best protect, preserve and enhance historic, cultural, and natural resources and that causes the least damage to the biological and physical environment while also satisfying the purpose and need for the Project.
 
Final EIS
The final version of the EIS that is prepared and submitted based on comments made by the public; Federal, state, and local government agencies; and Native American tribes on the Draft EIS.  The Final EIS must contain the lead agency’s responses to all received comments and must discuss any opposing views on issues raised. The FEIS is filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a 30-day time period is allotted for public review. Once the FEIS is submitted, the lead agency prepares a Record of Decision (ROD) on the proposed action.
 
Hazardous Materials
A substance, pollutant, or contaminant that, due to its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics, poses a potential hazard to human health and safety or to the environment if released into the workplace or the environment.
 
Human environment
The natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with the environment.

Land Use Plan 
A plan that reflects an analysis of activity systems and a carefully studied estimate of future land requirements for expansion, growth control, and revitalization or renewal. The plan shows how development in the area should proceed in the future to ensure the best possible physical environment for living, the most economic and environmentally sensitive use of land, and the proper balance in use from a cost revenue point of view. The land use plan embodies a proposal as to how land should be used in the future, recognizing local objectives and generally accepted principals of health, safety, convenience, economy, and general living amenities.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)
The basic national charter for protection of the environment, NEPA ensures that high quality, accurate scientific analysis and environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken.
 
Notice of Availability (NOA)
For the Draft or Final EIS or Record of Decision (ROD), a public notice that states that the document is available to the public for review.
 
Notice of Intent (NOI)
A notice published in the Federal Register advising that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared, with a brief description of the proposed action and possible alternatives, and contact information for obtaining further information about the project and preparation of the DEIS.
 
Paleontology
The science that deals with the life of past geological ages through the study of the fossil remains of organisms.
 
Proposed Action
The action (or Project) proposed by the Project Sponsor, Rinker Materials and Service Rock Products, proposes to mine limestone and dolomite from a series of rugged hills at Sloan, Nevada.
 
Public Comment Period/Hearing
(approximately 30 days following Draft EIS) Provides opportunities for the public; Federal, state, and local government agencies; and Native American tribes to provide oral or written comments on the Draft EIS..
 
Purpose and Need
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires the development of a Purpose Statement and Project Need as part of the environmental documentation for projects that receive federal funding. This statement provides the basis for evaluating project alternatives.
 
Record of Decision (ROD)
A written public record issued by the lead federal agency once all requirements of the environmental review process have been satisfied. It explains the reasoning behind why a particular course of action was chosen, identifies alternatives that were considered, and summarizes specific mitigation measures that will be incorporated into a project.
 
Scoping
(Completed December 5&6, 2007) Invited public and public agencies to participate in an early and open process that will determine the issues and alternatives addressed in the EIS.
 
Socioeconomic 
Have or involving both social and economic factors. A given geographical area delineated for specific research.
 
Special Status Species
Plant or animal species known or suspected to be limited in distribution, rare or uncommon within a specific area, and/or vulnerable to activities which may affect their survival. Wildlife and plant species can either be federally listed, proposed for listing, or a candidate as endangered or threatened, state-listed, or BLM determined priority species.
 
Threatened Species
Any species or significant population of that species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Usually includes only those species that have been recognized and listed as threatened by federal and State governments, but may include species categorized as rare, very rare, or depleted
 
Visual Resources
The visible physical features on a landscape, topography, water, vegetation, animals, structures, and other features that comprise the scenery of the area.
 
Visual Resource Management (VRM)
The inventory and planning actions taken to identify visual resource values and to establish objectives for managing those values, and the management actions taken to achieve the visual resource management objectives.
 
Visual Resource Management Classes
VRM classes identify the degree of acceptable visual change within a characteristic landscape. A classification is assigned to public lands based on the guidelines established for scenic quality, visual sensitivity, and visibility.
 
Wilderness Area
An area designated by Congress as defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964 as a place “where the earth and it community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Designation is aimed at ensuring that these lands are preserved and protected in their natural condition. Wilderness areas, which are opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; such areas may also contain ecological, geological, or other features that have scientific, scenic, or historical value.

 
Last updated: 03-30-2009