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Q 12 - Full EAF (Part 2) Critical Environmental Areas

Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) Workbook

The proposed action may be located within or adjacent to a critical environmental area (CEA).

Critical Environmental Areas (CEA's) are specific locations in a town, village, city, county, or the State that have identified because they have one or more of the following unique characteristics:

  • Are a benefit or threat to human health
  • Have an important or unique natural setting (e.g., fish and wildlife habitat, forest and vegetation, open space and areas of important aesthetic or scenic quality)
  • Hold important agricultural, social, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, or educational values; or
  • Have an inherent ecological, geological or hydrological sensitivity that may be adversely affected by any change

Local governments can identify and designate specific areas within their boundaries as CEA's according to 617.14 (g). State agencies may also designate geographic areas they own, manage, or regulate. Once an area is designated as a CEA, the reviewing agency must consider the potential impact of any Type I or Unlisted Action on the environmental characteristics of that CEA as part of the determination of significance.

To answer this question

Review Part 1 questions E.3.d.

If there is a CEA located on or adjacent to the proposed project site, there may be adverse impacts on the CEA. If so, check "yes" to Question 12 and answer sub-questions (a) through (c).

If there are no CEAs located on or adjacent to the proposed project site, check "no" to Question 12 and move on to Question 13.

Identifying potential impacts

The reviewing agency should evaluate the following sub-questions and decide if there will be any impact. If there will be an impact, the reviewing agency must then evaluate the magnitude of that impact, and decide if the impact will be small or moderate to large. This will depend on the overall scale and context of the proposed project as described in the Introduction to Part 2. The reviewing agency should be reasonable when conducting this review.

  • If the proposed project exceeds a numeric threshold in a question, it is presumed to be a moderate to large impact.
  • If the proposed project does not exceed a numeric threshold in a question, the reviewing agency should consider the scale and context of the project in determining if an impact may be small or moderate to large.
  • These sub-questions are not meant to be exhaustive. The reviewing agency should use the "Other impacts:" sub-question to include any additional elements they feel need to be analyzed for potential impacts.

a. The proposed action may result in a reduction in the quantity of the resource or characteristic which was the basis for designation of the CEA.

b. The proposed action may result in a reduction in the quality of the resource or characteristic which was the basis for designation of the CEA.

It is important to know both the unique characteristics that resulted in the designation of the CEA, and the possible impacts to that feature. Wherever these two might overlap, there is the potential for some impact. The wide variety of reasons for forming a CEA makes it difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating potential adverse impacts.

If the CEA is an archeological site that has been documented as being limited to a single parcel, and the proposed project is located on an adjacent parcel, there will be no disturbance of the CEA, and therefore probably result in no impact at all. If the CEA is a municipal water supply, and the aquifer or watershed extends over many acres of surrounding land, a proposed project may have an impact, even though it is not adjacent to the CEA.

To begin reviewing possible impacts to the CEA, the reviewing agency should answer the two questions regarding quantity and quality of the CEA. Question (a) asks about a change in the size of the CEA. If the

Applicable Part 1 Information

E.3.d.

Analysis

  • Is there a CEA located on the proposed project site?
  • Are there any CEAs in the surrounding area?
  • If there is a CEA, for what purpose was it established?
  • Do any of the reasons for the CEAs establishment extend outside the CEA boundaries?
    • If the CEA is a water supply, how extensive is the aquifer?
    • If the CEA is a wetland, where does the water come from?
    • If the CEA is a landfill, is there a groundwater connection?
    • If the CEA is a wildlife corridor, what larger habitats does it connect?
  • Could there be a negative impact to the CEA, even though the CEA may not be within the proposed project boundaries?
  • Does the proposed project negatively affect or reduce any of the qualities that led to the CEA being designated?
  • Does the proposed project reduce the size of the CEA?

Will there be an impact?

If the project is not located within a CEA, there will be no reduction in the size of the CEA. Therefore, there will be no impact. Check 'No, or small impact may occur" to question (a).

If the project is not located within a CEA and it will not affect any of the qualities of an adjacent CEA that led to its designation, there will be no impact. Check 'No, or small impact may occur" to question (b).

Small Impact:

A small impact could occur under one or more of these circumstances:

  • A proposed project may be entirely or partially within a CEA. Likewise, a CEA might be entirely contained within, or partially overlap a proposed project's boundaries.
  • If there is very little conflict between the reasons for a CEA's designation, and the proposed projects goals, there will likely only be a small impact.
Moderate to Large Impact:

A moderate to large impact could occur under one or more of these circumstances:

  • If the proposed action is incompatible with the reasons for designating the CEA.

c. Other impacts:

There may be other impacts identified by the reviewing agency that are not addressed by the above questions. If so, they should be identified and briefly described here.

Some proposed actions may have beneficial impacts on the environment. The reviewing agency can use the 'other' category for that purpose, too.

Back to Part 2 (FEAF) Identification of Potential Project Impacts || Continue to Part 2 (FEAF) Question 13 Impact on Transportation


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