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Using GIS to showcase “endangered species and transportation” initiatives in Georgia


Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) mandates federal agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agencies is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species which is determined by the secretary of the interior. ESA, therefore, has a significant effect on the selection of a roadway alignment and consequently the cost of the entire highway project. As evident in many parts of the country, developments experienced in the transportation industry have had a considerable impact on the environment and the general populace. This has resulted in significant changes in the use of land in many metropolitan regions in the country. Among the many environmental issues that transportation officials have to deal with is the issue of threatened and endangered species (TES). The study involved a review of best practices of TES issues as they relate to transportation. Three of such examples from the State of Georgia are presented as case studies in this paper. Geographic information system (GIS) applications were developed for all the projects used in the case studies, some of which are presented in this paper. The paper concludes by noting the influence of ESA on transportation projects.

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