NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision Making
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Saratoga National Historical Park, NY6.2 Decision Documents — Record of Decision

When an EIS has been prepared, the ultimate choice of an alternative, mitigation measures, and the decision rationale are documented in an ROD.

A. CEQ requirement

Besides stating the decision, CEQ (1505.2) requires that an ROD include the following:

  1. a summary description of all alternatives analyzed in the EIS.
  2. identification of the environmentally preferable alternative.
  3. the decision rationale — what were the criteria (e.g., cost, degree of environmental impact, technical considerations, degree to which objectives were met, logistics) used in selecting an alternative, how did each alternative measure up against these criteria, how were the criteria weighted, and so forth.
  4. a clear statement of which mitigation measures will be implemented if they are not obviously integral to the alternative selected, and a summary of any monitoring or other enforcement programs or plans. The description of mitigation and monitoring should be specific enough to enable the public to determine whether measures have been effectively implemented, but not be so specific as to duplicate the EIS.
  5. a statement of whether all practical means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the selected alternative have been adopted, and if not, why not.

B. Length

An average ROD should be 10 pages. It should give enough information on the alternatives and their impacts, the decision-maker's rationale in selecting the chosen alternative, and the extent of mitigation and monitoring the public can expect, so that the reader can understand these major issues without referring to the EIS.

C. Notice

The ROD or a summary of the ROD must be published in the Federal Register as well as in the local newspaper of record.

D. Signatory

The signatory of RODs is the Regional Director. In some circumstances, signing RODs is the responsibility of the Director or Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Recent changes to Departmental procedures regarding “delegated and non-delegated EISs” are to be considered. Consult the EQD to determine the appropriate signatory level.

E. Wetlands and floodplains

If a preferred alternative proposes actions that would be located in or have adverse effects on a floodplain or wetland, a wetland/floodplain statement of findings must be combined with the draft and final EIS. When it has been signed by the Regional Director, the Statement of Findings is attached to the ROD as a separately identifiable document.

F. Compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

If the preferred alternative affects a historic property and thus requires consultation under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the information gathered as part of the section 106 review must be included in the EIS, and the section 106 process must be completed before an ROD can be signed. The ROD must include a statement on consultation under section 106. Revisions made to 36 CFR 800, June 17, 1999, further explain the integration of section 106 with NEPA requirements.

Bears at Yellowstone National Park, WYG. Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act

All consultation requirements defined under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act must be completed before an ROD can be signed.

H. Impairment

From the facts presented in the analysis in the environmental impact statement and summarized in the ROD, the ROD must indicate that after a review of the impacts that the alternative to be selected for implementation will not impair park resources or values and will not violate the NPS Organic Act.

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