The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) needs to enhance its environmental program to ensure its highway projects do not adversely affect the environment. The Departments Strategic Plan emphasizes environmental values by including the following goal: SDDOT will design, construct, and operate a transportation system that preserves and protects the environment.
Most importantly, the Department needs a simple but comprehensive program that addresses water quality. Highway construction sites can provide unwanted soil erosion into lakes, rivers, and streams. This sediment can adversely affect aquatic organisms and fish, including fish, such as the Topeka Shiner, that are on the endangered species list.
Environmental resource agencies approve permits and monitor highway projects to ensure compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations. Currently, the Department lacks several tools necessary to ensure sound environmental stewardship and to ensure compliance with these rules and regulations:
The Department does not have erosion and sediment control design guide and construction guide in an easy to access format. Such guides would help ensure consistent application of erosion and sediment control methods on SDDOT projects.
A training and certification program needs to be developed and provided to SDDOT personnel, consultants, and contractors in erosion and sediment control design, construction, maintenance, and inspection.
A checklist of essential erosion and sediment control items for the design and construction of a highway project would be a valuable aid to ensure that critical items are not overlooked.
Research is needed to document the Departments environmental policies and procedures pertaining to erosion and sediment control and to produce the tools necessary to ensure that they are followed.