James K. Polk Building, Suite 900
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0334
John Hewitt, Manager
TThe Natural Resources Office meets the requirements of state and federal environmental laws and regulations to allow the Department to protect water quality while building transportation projects. The Office is comprised of two sections: Ecology Section and Environmental Permits Section.
The Ecology Section is responsible for the identification, classification and documentation of natural resources (e.g., streams, wetlands, sinkholes, caves) for all transportation projects. Field studies are conducted for every project to ensure all environmental features are identified. Each project is coordinated with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and/or TDEC Division of Natural Areas to ensure protection of threatened and endangered species. Documents and reports based on these tasks are provided to TDOT Environmental Permits Section, Design Division, Structures Division, and other divisions as necessary. The information obtained is used to avoid, minimize and/or mitigate impacts caused by projects.
The Environmental Permits Section is responsible for conducting reviews of environmental data and plans, preparing permit applications, coordinating with state and federal regulatory agencies during the permits processing and public notice periods, and acquiring and distributing water quality permits for construction. Water quality permits for impacts to wetlands, streams and rivers are obtained from federal and/or state environmental agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Permit application requirements include using information from the Ecology Section to identify and locate on construction plans the proposed impacts to jurisdictional water resources; describing the extent of the construction–related impacts and any required mitigation for the proposed project impacts; and providing other necessary information for permit processing.
The Environmental Permits Section is also responsible, on a statewide basis, for obtaining coverage under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction Storm Water Permit from TDEC, for all transportation projects that will disturb one acre or more of land during construction. This program, regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and delegated to TDEC, requires that construction projects incorporate appropriate erosion prevention and sediment controls (EPSC) and the preparation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).