All documents, forms, and templates referred to on this page that are available for download are included at the bottom of the page for your convenience. These files are also available for download in the comprehensive Document Guide.

Background

In accordance with WEPA and the regulations of the Federal Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), 40 CFR 1500-1508, agencies are required to identify classes of action which will normally require an environmental impact statement; which normally will not require an environmental impact statement; and which will normally require an environmental impact assessment, but not necessarily an environmental impact statement. The UW System has characterized as “Type I”, those actions that always require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Below is a reference table to assist in determining the need for an environmental impact statement.

Item Description and Comments
Construction of major new buildings (including new heating, chilling, or power plants) or major site development projects.

Note: Not all new buildings need a full EIS since many are interior to the campus and don’t have significant environmental impact.  All new building projects and building additions should be reviewed with a detailed Type II Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA, essentially a draft EIS) and a public hearing should be held by the consultant/campus to solicit public review of the proposed action. If unresolved conflicts arise at the hearing, the project is moved up to a full EIS and the detailed environmental assessment (EA) document is used as the draft EIS.  New building projects known to significantly affect the quality of the human environment or those that involve unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources should start with a full EIS.

Reference: WIS. Admin. Code ADM 60.04(2) – Determination of need for an EIS

New projects on parcels previously undeveloped by the state having significant effects on air/water quality, transportation, housing, and/or campus or community land use; or those that involve unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources as defined under Wis. Admin. Code ADM 60.04(2)
Projects and actions that would normally be a Type II action but impacts are judged to be a Type I action based on a preliminary assessment. Additions to existing buildings or new parking facilities that significantly impact the surrounding human environment.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process

In general, the environmental impact analysis process should begin as early as possible in project development. Since a consultant will be hired by the Division of Facilities Development & Management (DFDM) to prepare the EIS, the length of time required to hire that consultant and negotiate a contract needs to be considered when determining the schedule for completion of an EIS. At a minimum, the DEIS public hearing needs to have occurred prior to receiving authority to construct from the BOR and the SBC, so that any issues that could affect the project scope and budget have been identified.

For those actions initiated by the UW System or an institution within the UW System the Environmental Impact Statement (if called for) should be written late enough in the project or program development process to contain meaningful information, but early enough so that whatever information is contained in the EIS can serve as a practical input into the decision-making process. The formal WEPA process should be initiated when a decision is being made which will foreclose alternative policy options.

Scoping

The initial step in the development of an EIS is the scoping process, which identifies issues and potential areas of concern specific to the proposed action. The EIS consultant:

  • Prepares a scoping letter is for review by the EIS team and sent to those individuals and groups identified in the Distribution List.
  • Develops a distribution list of legislators, state agencies, municipalities, neighborhood associations, nearby residents, interest groups, student groups, faculty and staff representatives, and individuals who should receive scoping and other WEPA documentation.
  • Undertakes a relevant database search and completes the [UW Historic Assessment Form] and submits that form to the UW System Historic Preservation Officer for review and a determination on whether a [WI Historic Assessment Form] (SHPO 44.40) will need to be prepared.
  • Prepares a legal notice of the public scoping meeting that is published a minimum of 15 days prior to the meeting.
  • Prepares a draft electronic presentation for the scoping meeting that is provided to the EIS team members and A/E Design consultant for review and comment one week prior to the scheduled meeting. The EIS consultant also prepares a sign-in form, written public comments form, and obtains design concept/site elevation materials from the design consultant. An agenda and a handout that describes the project scope and schedule of the project are recommended.
  • Leads the scoping meeting, presents the concept of the proposed facility (with or without the assistance of the lead design consultant), identifies known impacts, and solicits comments from the participants. This provides guidance on the development of data needed to address the potential environmental effects and impacts (both positive and negative) of the proposed action. Issues identified throughout the scoping process are communicated to the EIS team for inclusion in the EIS and to determine whether or not further action is necessary.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

From information garnered through the scoping process and collection of site-specific data, the EIS consultant prepares the (DEIS). The DEIS describes the proposed action and alternatives in sufficient detail that reviewing agencies and the public can assess the environmental effects of the proposed action as it relates to their area of expertise and/or interest. The format and content of the DEIS should follow the UW System model, as shown in [EIS Services Request] template. The EIS consultant:

  • Analyzes existing or readily available information to provide supplemental information on site soils, flora/fauna, social and economic effects and other information necessary to describe the proposed action and impacts as reflected in the EIS outline.
  • Addresses probable effects of alternatives to the proposed action including justification as to why the selected alternative was chosen. Impacts of sustainability features that are being considered are also included.
  • Once the DEIS is developed, distributes review copies of the document are provided to the EIS team for input prior to public release. The EIS consultant incorporates appropriate review comments into the DEIS, prints and distributes copies.
  • Provides a 45-day public comment period is required for the DEIS and, during that timeframe, conducts a public meeting. Publication of a legal notice of availability of the DEIS is coordinated by the EIS consultant typically in combination with the legal notice of the DEIS public meeting, or a separate DEIS legal notice may be published at least 15 days prior to the public meeting. At a minimum, the legal notice is published in the local daily/weekly newspaper and campus newspaper(s) including on-campus electronic faculty/staff and student news media where available. Notices for projects of a larger magnitude, especially those with potential statewide impact, are also published in the designated official state newspaper. Notices should include a brief description of the project, cost/funding, anticipated project implementation schedule, date/time/location of the public meeting, and a website link and physical locations where copies of the DEIS can be reviewed (typically a local library and the main campus library). The notice should specify the deadline for receipt of public comments and provide contact information for the EIS consultant, who is responsible for dissemination,discussion with the EIS team, and follow-up.
  • Conducts the public meeting on the DEIS. The EIS consultant prepares a draft PowerPoint presentation for the DEIS meeting and provides it to the EIS Team members for review and comment one week prior to the scheduled meeting. The EIS consultant also develops a sign-in sheet for meeting attendees and a form for those who prefer to submit written public comments. A handout that describes the project scope and schedule of the project is recommended. At the meeting, the EIS consultant advises attendees that the meeting is being recorded and summarizes the EIS process to be followed and the initial determination of need for an EIS on the proposed action. The lead design team should have a representative at the meeting to present and clarify any design issues. Typically, representatives from the EIS Team (DFDM, UWSA, the campus) are present. Current graphic materials describing the project are provided to the extent available from the lead design consultant. The EIS consultant fields questions and makes verbal clarifications for the public as appropriate at the meeting and draws upon other members of the EIS Team for input when needed. The EIS consultant collects all meeting comments (both verbal and written) and produces meeting minutes for inclusion in the final EIS (FEIS).
  • During the 45-day DEIS review period, consults with the EIS team to review all comments and determine how, and to what extent, those comments will be addressed in the FEIS.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

The EIS consultant:

  • Prepares the final EIS following the public meeting and close of the public comment period on the DEIS.
  • Sends a review copy of the FEIS to the EIS team as well as a draft of the legal notice prior to public release. The format of the FEIS follows that of the DEIS and addresses, by incorporation, the responses to comments raised in the DEIS. As with the DEIS, the EIS consultant prints and distributes the FEIS, which must be available a minimum of 30 days for public review.
  • Publishes a Class I Notice of Hearing in the local media a minimum of 15 days prior to the hearing and follows procedures as outlined above for DEIS publication for the FEIS.
  • Leads and records the final EIS public hearing that is typically scheduled near the end of the FEIS review period. The EIS consultant summarizes the EIS process, describes the project proposal, identifies the substantial changes between the DEIS and FEIS, summarizes the final findings detailed in the EIS, and describes how major comments raised during the DEIS process were addressed. Current design graphics should be provided and presented by the EIS consultant if the lead design consultant is unable to attend. The EIS consultant is responsible for collecting signatures of all public hearing attendees and all comments, verbal and written, for the record.

Record of Decision (ROD)

After the close of the hearing the institution’s WEPA Coordinator will carefully review the hearing record, review comments received on the EIS and proposal, and make a decision on the proposed action. A written decision will be made on the proposed action that states the findings of fact including the findings on the environmental impact. A copy will be sent to all agencies, environmental groups, and citizens responding to the draft or final EIS, to other parties specifically requesting notification, and to others as required by law. It may be appropriate to issue a press release on the agency decision on the proposed action.

This written decision constitutes a legal finding of compliance with the WEPA process and notifies the public and interested parties that the FEIS is acceptable to the agency. The EIS and agency decision letter must be made prior to approval of contracts for facilities projects.

Contested, Inadequate, Revised, or Amended Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Contested FEIS

Should an FEIS be contested it may be necessary to cross- examine witnesses. Cross-examination of witnesses is possible under two circumstances:

  • In situations where a contested case hearing is not required, the party contesting the FEIS may request the opportunity to cross- examine and present witnesses and evidence. The agency should grant the request;
  • In situations where a contested case hearing is required by law, the environmental impact statement should be admitted as an evidentiary document subject to cross examination by any of the parties.

Inadequate FEIS

This decision rests with the sponsoring agency, which should be responsive to the recommendations of other agencies and the public. It may continue (postpone) the hearing and remand the FEIS for redraft including additional research as deemed necessary.

Revised or Amended FEIS

The FEIS can be amended or revised after a final decision on a reversible action under limited circumstances that include the length of time since the FEIS was completed. If the document is still useful as a programmatic or generic EIS, then revisions can occur any time that (a) new and significant information becomes available; or (b) a discussion in part of the FEIS is shown to be inaccurate, outdated or otherwise inadequate. When the action has not taken place and a modification of the proposed action is made, an environmental assessment should be prepared to determine whether the modified action constitutes a new action so as to require a new DEIS.

Inclusion of Other Critical Issues

Where appropriate, historical and archeological preservation, aesthetics, design, energy conservation and other critical issues should be included in the DEIS and FEIS. All Type I and Type II actions that involve physical alterations should include an assessment of the historical and archeological aspects.


Environmental Impact Statement Services Request
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Services Request

Description:  Request seeking professional services to develop an EIS related to a specific capital project and/or area of campus with multiple proposed capital projects with potentially significant environmental effects and classified as a Type I action. This template includes the WEPA document distribution list and the UW Historic Preservation Assessment form.

Purpose:  Describes project location, background, scope, budget estimate, schedule, and professional services requirements and process to develop an EIS for the proposed project or campus area.

Audience:  UW System Administration, Division of Facilities Development and Management, Architectural/Engineering/Planning Consultants.

Revision ID: Rev 2015-02

Historic Assessment Form (UW) Template
UW Historic Preservation Assessment Form (University of Wisconsin System)

Description:  Request for UW System Historical Preservation Officer review and comment on proposed work for UW property.

Purpose:  Describes address and location of historic properties, proposed project scope description, and indicates historic preservation findings of both the submitter and the historical preservation officer reviewing the proposal. Additional attachments (site plans, project drawings and details, photographs, etc.) typically accompany this form to fully articulate and illustrate the proposed work.

Audience:  UW System Administration.

Revision ID: Rev 2015-02

Historic Assessment Form (WI) Template
WI Historic Preservation Assessment Form (WI Historical Society 44.40 Form)

Description:  Request for State Historical Preservation Officer review and comment on proposed work for state property.

Purpose:  Describes address and location of historic properties, proposed project scope description, and indicates historic preservation findings of both the submitter and the historical preservation officer reviewing the proposal. Additional attachments (site plans, project drawings and details, photographs, etc.) typically accompany this form to fully articulate and illustrate the proposed work.

Audience:  State of Wisconsin Historical Society, UW System Administration.

Revision ID: Rev 2015-02