Department of the Interior Categorical Exclusions. 43 CFR Part 46. § 46.205 Actions categorically excluded from further NEPA review. Categorical Exclusion
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Existing Categorical Exclusions U.S. Department of the Interior The following pages include all the Department of the Interi or (Department) Categorical available for use by all bureaus and offices within the Department. Bureau and o ffice CEs are onl y used by that specific bureau or office. Content s Department of the Interior Categorical Exclusions .. .. .. 2 Office of Native Hawaiian Relations .. .. .. 4 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .. .. .. 4 U.S. Geological Survey .. .. .. .. . 8 Bureau of Indian Affairs .. .. .. . 9 Bureau of Land Management .. .. .. . 15 National Park Service .. .. .. .. . 24 Office of Surface Mining .. .. .. . 29 Bureau of Reclamation .. .. .. . 32 Minera ls Management Service (used by the Bureau of Safety and Environmetnal Enforcement and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) .. .. .. 35
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2 Department of the Interior Categorical Exclusions 43 CFR Part 46 § 46.2 05 Actions categorically excluded from further NEPA review. Categorical Exclusion means a category or kind of action that has no significant individual or cumulative effect on the quality of the human environment. See 40 CFR 1508.4. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, if an action is covered by a Departmental categorical exclusion, the bureau is not required to prepare an environmental assessment (see subpart D of this part) or an environmental impact statement (see subpart E of this part). If a proposed action does not meet the criteria for any of the listed Departmental categorical exclusions or any of the individual bureau categorical exclusions, then the proposed action must be analyzed in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. (b) The actions listed in section 46.210 are c ategorically excluded, Department – wide, from preparation of environmental assessments or environmental impact statements. (c) The CEQ Regulations at 40 CFR 1508.4 require agency procedures to provide for extraordinary circumstances in which a normally exclud ed action may have a significant environmental effect and require additional analysis and action. Section 46.215 lists the extraordinary circumstances under which actions otherwise covered by a categorical exclusion require analyses under NEPA. (1) Any action that is normally categorically excluded must be evaluated to determine whether it meets any of the extraordinary circumstances in section 46.215; if it does, further analysis and environmental documents m ust be prepared for the action. (2) Bureaus must work within existing administrative frameworks, including any existing programmatic agreements, when deciding how to apply any of the section 46.215 extraordinary circumstances. (d) Congress may establish categorical exclusions by legislation, in which case the terms of the legislation determine how to apply those categorical exclusions. § 46.210 Listing of Departmental categorical exclusions. The following actions are categorically excluded under paragraph 46.205(b), unless any of the extraordinary circumstances in section 46.215 apply: (a) Personnel actions and investigations and personnel services contracts. (b) Internal organizational changes and facility and bureau reductions and closings.
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3 (c) Routine financial transactions including such things as salaries and expenses, procurement contracts (e.g., in accordance with applicable procedures and Executive Orders for sustainable or green procurement), guarantees, financial assistance, income transfers, audits, fees, bonds, and royalties. (d) Departmental legal activities including, but not limited to, such things as arrests, investigations, patents, claims, and legal opinions. This does not include bring ing judicial or administrative civil or criminal enforcement actions which are outside the scope of NEPA in accordance with 40 CFR 1508.18(a). (e) Nondestructive data collection, inventory (including field, aerial, and satellite surveying and mapping), study , research, and monitoring activities. (f) Routine and continuing government business, including such things as supervision, administration, operations, maintenance, renovations, and replacement activities having limited context and intensity (e.g., limited size and magnitude or short term effects). (g) budget at all levels. (This does not exclude the preparation of environmental documents for proposals included in the budget wh en otherwise required.) (h) Legislative proposals of an administrative or technical nature (including such things as changes in authorizations for appropriations and minor boundary changes and land title transactions) or having primarily economic, social, in dividual, or institutional effects; and comments and reports on referrals of legislative proposals. (i) Policies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: that are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature; or whose environmenta l effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or case – by – case. (j) Activities which are educational, informational, advisory, or consultative to other agencies, public and private entities, visitors, individuals, or the general public. (k) Hazardous fuels reduction activities using prescribed fire not to exceed 4,500 acres, and mechanical methods for crushing, piling, thinning, pruning, cutting, chipping, mulching, and mowing, not to exceed 1,000 acres. Such activities: (1) Shall be limited to areas (i) In wildland – urban interface; and (ii) Condition Classes 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III, outside the wildland – urban interface; (2) Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the En vironment 10 –
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4 (3) Shall be conducted consistent with bureau and Departmental procedures and applicable land and resource management plans; (4) Shall not be conducted in wilderness areas or impair the suitabilit y of wilderness study areas for preservation as wilderness; and (5) Shall not include the use of herbicides or pesticides or the construction of new permanent roads or other new permanent infrastructure; and may include the sale of vegetative material if the primary purpose of the activity is hazardous fuels reduction. (Refer to the ESM Series for additional, required guidance.) (l) Post – fire rehabilitation activities not to exceed 4,200 acres (such as tree planting, fence replacement, habitat restoration, herit age site restoration, repair of roads and trails, and repair of damage to minor facilities such as campgrounds) to repair or improve lands unlikely to recover to a management approved condition from wildland fire damage, or to repair or replace minor facil ities damaged by fire. Such activities must comply with the following (Refer to the ESM Series for additional, required guidance.): (1) Shall be conducted consistent with bureau and Departmental procedures and applicable land and resource management plans; (2) S hall not include the use of herbicides or pesticides or the construction of new permanent roads or other new permanent infrastructure; and (3) Shall be completed within three years following a wildland fire. Office of Native Hawaiian Relations Part 516 Chapter 7: Managing the NEPA Process 7.5 Categorical Exclusion . In addition to the actions listed in the Departmental categorical exclusions specified in section 43 CFR Part 46.210, the following action is categorically excluded unless any of the extraordinary circumstances in section 43 CFR Part 46.215 apply, thus requiring an EA or an EIS: a pproval of conveyances, exchanges, and other transfers of land or interests in land between DHHL, and an agency of the State of Hawaii, or a Federal agency, where no change in the land use is planned. This activity is a single, independent action not associated with larger, existing, or proposed complexes or facilities. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service D M Part 516 Chapter 8 : Managing the NEPA Process 8.5 Categorical Exclusions . A. General . (1) Changes or amendments to an approved action when such changes have no or minor potential environmental impact.
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5 (2) Personnel training, environmental interpretation, public safety efforts, and other educational activities, w hich do not involve new construction or major additions to existing facilities. (3) The issuance and modification of procedures, including manuals, orders, guidelines, and field instructions, when the impacts are limited to administrative effects. (4) The acqui sition of real property obtained either through discretionary acts or when acquired by law, whether by way of condemnation, donation, escheat, right – of – entry, escrow, exchange, lapses, purchase, or transfer and that will be under the jurisdiction or contro l of the United States. Such acquisition of real property shall be in accordance with 602 DM 2 and the Service’s procedures, when the acquisition is from a willing seller, continuance of or minor modification to the existing land use is planned, and the a cquisition planning process has been performed in coordination with the affected public. B. Resource Management . Prior to carrying out these actions, the Service should coordinate with affected Federal agencies and State, tribal, and local governments. (1) Research, inventory, and information collection activities directly related to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources which involve negligible animal mortality or habitat destruction, no introduction of contaminants, or no introduction of organism s not indigenous to the affected ecosystem. (2) The operation, maintenance, and management of existing facilities and routine recurring management activities and improvements, including renovations and replacements which result in no or only minor changes in the use, and have no or negligible environmental effects on – site or in the vicinity of the site. (3) The construction of new, or the addition of, small structures or improvements, including structures and improvements for the restoration of wetland, riparian , instream, or native habitats, which result in no or only minor changes in the use of the affected local area. The following are examples of activities that may be included. (a) The installation of fences. (b) The construction of small water control structures. (c) The planting of seeds or seedlings and other minor revegetation actions. (d) The construction of small berms or dikes. (e) The development of limited access for routine maintenance and management purposes. (4) The use of prescribed burning for habitat improvement purposes, when conducted in accordance with local and State ordinances and laws.
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6 (5) Fire management activities, including prevention and restoration measures, when conducted in accordance with Departmental and Service procedures. (6) The reintroduction or suppl ementation (e.g., stocking) of native, formerly native, or established species into suitable habitat within their historic or established range, where no or negligible environmental disturbances are anticipated. (7) Minor changes in the amounts or types of pu blic use on Service or State – managed lands, in accordance with existing regulations, management plans, and procedures. (8) Consultation and technical assistance activities directly related to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources. (9) Minor changes in existing master plans, comprehensive conservation plans, or operations, when no or minor effects are anticipated. Examples could include minor changes in the type and location of compatible public use activities and land management practices. (10) The issuance of new or revised site, unit, or activity – specific management plans for public use, land use, or other management activities when only minor changes are planned. Examples could include an amended public use plan or fire management plan. (11) Natural r esource damage assessment restoration plans, prepared under sections 107, 111, and 122(j) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); section 311(f)(4) of the Clean Water Act; and the Oil Pollution Act; when only mi nor or negligible change in the use of the affected areas is planned. C. Permit and Regulatory Functions . (1) The issuance, denial, suspension, and revocation of permits for activities involving fish, wildlife, or plants regulated under 50 CFR Chapter 1, Subsec tion B, when such permits cause no or negligible environmental disturbance. These permits involve endangered and threatened species, species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), marine m ammals, exotic birds, migratory birds, eagles, and injurious wildlife. (2) The issuance of ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) “low – effect” incidental take permits that, individually or cumulatively, have a minor or negligible effect on the species covered in the habitat conservation plan.
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8 (2) Grants for categorically excluded actions in paragraphs A, B, and C, above; and categorically e xcluded actions in Appendix 1 of 516 DM 2. U.S. Geological Survey DM Part 516 Chapter 9 : Managing the NEPA Process 9.5 Categorical Exclusions. In addition to the actions listed in the Departmental categorical exclusions specified in 43 CFR § 46.210, many of which the USGS also performs, the following USGS actions are designated categorical exclusions unless one or more of the exclusions shall apply to intern al program initiatives performed in the United States and its Trust Territories and Possessions, including Federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. A. Topographic, land use and land cover, geological, mineralogic, resources evaluation, and hydrologic ma pping activities, including aerial topographic surveying, photography, and geophysical surveying. B. Collection of data and samples for geologic, paleontologic, hydrologic, mineralogic, geochemical and surface or subsurface geophysical investigations, and re source evaluation, including contracts therefor. C. Acquisition of existing geological, hydrological or geophysical data from private exploration ventures. D. Well logging, aquifer response testing, digital modeling, inventory of existing wells and water suppl ies, water – sample collection. E. Operation, construction, installation, and removal including restoration of sites to the pre – structure condition or equivalent of the surrounding environment of hydrologic and water quality monitoring structures and equip ment including but not limited to weirs, cableways, stream – gaging stations, groundwater wells, and meteorologic structures. F. Routine exploratory or observation groundwater well drilling operations that do not require a special access road, and that use por table tanks to recycle and remove drilling mud, and create no significant surface disturbance. G. Test or exploration drilling and downhole testing, including contracts therefor. H. Establishment of survey marks, placement and operation of field instruments, a nd installation of any research/monitoring devices.
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9 I. Digging and subsequent site restoration of exploratory trenches not to exceed one acre of surface disturbance . J. Establishment of seasonal and temporary field camps. K. Off – road travel to drilling, data col lection, or observation sites that do not impact ecologically sensitive areas such as wilderness areas, wetlands, or areas of critical habitat for listed endangered or threatened species. L. Hydraulic fracturing of rock formations for the singular purpose of in situ stress measurements. M. Reports to surface management agencies, or any state, territorial, tribal, commonwealth, or Federal agencies concerning mineral and water resources appraisals. N. Other actions where USGS has concurrence or co – approval with ano ther Department bureau and the action is a categorical exclusion for that bureau. O. Minor, routine, or preventive maintenance activities at USGS facilities and lands, and geological, hydrological, or geophysical data collection stations; and P. Minor activities required to gain or prepare access to sites selected for completion of exploration drilling operations or construction of stations for hydrologic, geologic, or geophysical data collection. Bureau of Indian Affairs Part 516 Chapter 10: Managin g the NEPA Process 10.5 Categorical Exclusions. A. Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement of Existing Facilities . Examples are normal renovation of buildings, road maintenance and limited rehabilitation of irrigation structures. B. Transfer of Existing Federal Facilities to Other Entities . Transfer of existing operation and maintenance activities of Federal facilities to tribal groups, water user organizations, or other entities where the anticipated operation and maintenance activities are agreed to in a contract, follow BIA policy, and no change in operations or maintenance is anticipated. C. Human Resources Programs . Examples are social services, education services, employment assistance, tribal operations, law enforcement and credit and financing activities not related to development.
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10 D. Administrative Actions and Other Activities Relating to Trust Resources . Examples are: Management of trust funds (collection and distribution), budget, finance, estate planning, wills and appraisals. E. Self – Determin ation and Self – Governance . (1) Self – Determination Act contracts and grants for BIA programs listed as categorical exclusions, or for programs in which environmental impacts are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (2) Self – Governance compacts for BIA p rograms which are listed as categorical exclusions or for programs in which environmental impacts are adequately addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. F. Rights – of – Way . (1) Rights – of – Way inside another right – of – way, or amendments to rights – of – way where no deviati ons from or additions to the original right – of – way are involved and where there is an existing NEPA analysis covering the same or similar impacts in the right – of – way area. (2) Service line agreements to an individual residence, building or well from an existi ng facility where installation will involve no clearance of vegetation from the right – of – way other than for placement of poles, signs (including highway signs), or buried power/cable lines. (3) Renewals, assignments and conversions of existing rights – of – way w here there would be essentially no change in use and continuation would not lead to environmental degradation. G. Minerals . (1) Approval of permits for geologic mapping, inventory, reconnaissance and surface sample collecting. (2) Approval of unitization agreements, pooling or communitization agreements. (3) Approval of mineral lease adjustments and transfers, including assignments and subleases. (4) Approval of royalty determinations such as royalty rate adjustments of an existing lease or contract agreement.
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11 H. Forestry . (1) Approval of free – use cutting, without permit, to Indian owners for on – reservation personal use of forest products, not to exceed 2,500 feet board measure when cutting will not adversely affect associated resources such as riparian zones, areas of special significance, etc. (2) Approval and issuance of cutting permits for forest products not to exceed $5,000 in value. (3) Approval and issuance of paid timber cutting permits or contracts for products valued at less than $25,000 when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (4) Approval of annual logging plans when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addresse d in earlier NEPA analysis. (5) Approval of Fire Management Planning Analysis detailing emergency fire suppression activities. (6) Approval of emergency forest and range rehabilitation plans when limited to environmental stabilization on less than 10,000 acres and not including approval of salvage sales of damaged timber. (7) Approval of forest stand improvement projects of less than 2000 acres when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysi s. (8) Approval of timber management access skid trail and logging road construction when consistent with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (9) Approval of prescribed burning plans of less than 2 000 acres when in compliance with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (10) Approval of forestation projects with native species and associated protection and site preparation activities on less t han 2000 acres when consistent with policies and guidelines established by a current management plan addressed in earlier NEPA analysis. (11) Harvesting live trees not to exceed 70 acres, requiring no more than 0.5 mile of temporary road construction. Such ac tivities: (a) Shall not include eveaged regeneration harvests or vegetation type conversions.
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