Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study:
Tier 2 NEPA Study
Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel Counties, MD
Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)
Blackwater is currently supporting the Tier 2 NEPA Study for the Chesapeake Bay Crossing led by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Specifically, Blackwater is leading the equity initiative, the combined environmental justice (EJ) and equity analysis and greenhouse gas and climate change evaluation as well supporting the public engagement effort.Blackwater is leading the equity initiative for this major project which is the first time MDTA has developed an individual equity plan to cover project development during a NEPA study. This effort includes developing and implementing an Equity Framework and an Equity Engagement Plan.
To support this effort, Blackwater created an Equity Advisory Group which is a diverse group of professionals covering a variety of disciplines with the purpose of guiding the project development process through the lens of equity.As part of the NEPA review, Blackwater will be leading the combined EJ and equity technical analysis for the proposed action. This task will require developing a methodology following the EJ executive order, USDOT and FHWA guidance on equity and environmental justice, analyzing the effects of the proposed action on minority, low-income and underserved populations and documenting the findings for inclusion in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Additionally, Blackwater is leading the greenhouse gas and climate change evaluation which is also a new initiative for a major MDTA project. This effort will require developing a methodology that follows the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 2023 greenhouse gas emissions and climate change guidance, analyzing greenhouse gas and climate change effects of the proposed action under NEPA and drafting the findings for inclusion in the EIS.
Lastly, Blackwater is serving as a member of the Public Involvement Team and is responsible for assisting in the drafting the Public Involvement Plan (PIP), identifying stakeholders, and determining appropriate and effective public involvement outreach methods. Blackwater staff will also be participating in community events, small and large public meetings, and other stakeholder events as the Study progresses. This effort includes developing advertising and meeting material, tailored to each event. As part of the Equity Engagement Plan, Blackwater is responsible for identifying underserved, disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and communities that have been traditionally excluded from project related engagement or decision making, determining effective engagement techniques, facilitating grassroots level engagement and documenting the effort to ensure project outcomes are fair and equitable.