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Criterion Details

PD-07 Habitat Restoration

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Project Development Scorecard

  • Rural Basic
  • Urban Basic
  • Rural Extended
  • Urban Extended


Avoid, minimize, rectify, reduce, and compensate the loss and alteration of natural (stream and terrestrial) habitat caused by project construction and/or restore, preserve, and protect natural habitat beyond regulatory requirements.

Sustainability Linkage

Triple Bottom Line

Minimizing or avoiding impacts to habitat and restoring habitat beyond required regulations enhances the ecosystem and therefore supports the environmental principle of the triple bottom line.

Background & Scoring Requirements


For the purposes of this criterion, the key terms are defined as follows:

  • “Traditional Alternative” – The traditional alternative is the alternative that would most likely be approached without consideration of impacts to habitat. For new alignments, this is typically the alignment that is most geometrically fitting given the beginning and end points. For reconstruction, this is typically the alignment option that widens the cross-section in-place without shifting alignments.

In no case should the traditional alternative be exaggerated beyond alignments that would be considered appropriate for the context in order to inflate the perceived reduction in impacts to habitats for this criterion.

  •  “Mitigation” – Per the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s NEPA Act, Part 1508 Terminology and Definitions1, mitigation includes:
  • Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action.
  • Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation.
  • Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment.
  • Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action; and 
  • Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

Credit for enhancement can be obtained for this criterion through project-specific mitigation or through the use of mitigation banking.

Scoring Requirements

Requirement PD-07.1

1-3 points. Avoid or Minimize Impacts to Habitats or Enhance Features

Points shall be achieved per table PD-07.1.A. Points are not cumulative; rather the highest point value earned should be used.



Requirement PD-07.2

1-2 points. Avoid or Minimize Impacts to High Quality Aquatic Resources (HQAR)

Points shall be achieved per the table PD-07.1.A. Points are not cumulative; rather the highest point value earned should be used.


Requirement PD-07.3

1-2 points. Avoid or Minimize Impacts to High Quality Environmental Resources

Points shall be achieved per the table PD-07.1.A. Points are not cumulative; rather the highest point value earned should be used.




The following resources are referenced in this criterion and consolidated here:

  1. CEQ, NEPA Act, Part 1508 Terminology and Definitions,
  2. Federal Register, Recovery Crediting Guidance, 73 Fed Reg. 44761, (2008),

Case Studies & Criterion Examples

Central Federal Lands - Knowledge Sharing and Lessons Learned Help to Institutionalize INVEST: The Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFL) within Federal Lands Highway (FLH) is using INVEST as a knowledge transfer tool to better inform staff of sustainable highway practices and as a mechanism to share lessons learned to help identify improvements for future projects. In 2013, CFL used the Project Development (PD) module to carry out INVEST evaluations for three separate under-construction or recently constructed projects. These included Halstead Meadow Bridge, Taylor River Road, and Marshlands Road and La Riviere Bridge. For two of the three projects, Halstead Meadow Bridge and Taylor River Road, CFL created scoring teams consisting of staff members and partner agency representatives. Scoring team members were selected due to the wealth of knowledge and experience they had with each project (from project development through construction).

Western Federal Lands - Going-to-the-Sun-Road Rehabilitation Project: The Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) is the first American roadway designated both a National Historic Landmark and a National Civil Engineering Landmark. Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only road through the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana. It was completed in 1932, and it is the only road that crosses the park, going over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Sun Road has more than 475,000 vehicles traveling it during peak visitor season from June to October, or about 3,500 vehicles per day. The Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFL) within the Federal Highway Administration used the INVEST Project Development (PD) module to evaluate the Sun Road Rehabilitation Project. Stand out criteria included PD-03: Context Sensitive Project Development, PD-07: Habitat Restoration, PD-18: Site Vegetation, PD-19: Reduce and Reuse Materials, and PD-28: Construction Quality Control Plan.

Arizona DOT - Using INVEST to Integrate Sustainability: The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) decided to use all three modules of INVEST – System Planning, Project Development, and Operations and Maintenance – to help the agency meet its sustainability goals across the transportation life cycle.  ADOT used INVEST to integrate and advance existing sustainability efforts and to push forward new efforts.  INVEST’s comprehensive sustainability framework and criteria helped ADOT institutionalize sustainability across the agency and with local partners through inclusion in manuals, trainings, and awards.  This case study focuses on ADOT’s use of the Project Development module.

Arizona DOT - State Route 30 Sustainable Project Development: This case study describes the use of the INVEST PD module to analyze and score the ADOT State Route (SR) 30 project—an approximately 13-mile section of new freeway in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The new freeway would be built five (5) miles south of Interstate 10 and would run from Sarival Road in Goodyear east to Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway) in the western section of Phoenix in Maricopa County, Arizona. SR 30 is a proposed new freeway managed by the ADOT that would eventually link with the proposed ADOT Interstate 11 project in western Maricopa County near Tonopah at its western terminus and with the existing Interstate 17 at the Durango Curve in Phoenix at its eastern terminus. The section of SR 30 analyzed and scored using INVEST is currently in the preliminary design and environmental assessment evaluation phase pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Arizona DOT - Sonoran Corridor Study: In February 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) initiated an environmental review process for the Sonoran Corridor, which would connect Interstate 19 and Interstate 10 south of the Tucson International Airport. A Corridor Selection Report (CSR) and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were prepared as part of this process in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory requirements. The project objective is to identify an appropriate and approximate 2000-foot corridor for a future roadway that would be subject to a detailed design and a Tier 2 environmental review to identify a final roadway alignment and necessary project mitigation treatments. At the direction of ADOT, this case study evaluates processes and methodologies used for development of the Sonoran Corridor Tier 1 EIS compared to INVEST guiding principles.

Scoring Sources

The project is considered to have met this criterion if the requirements above can be reasonably substantiated through the existence of one of the following documentation sources (or equal where not available):

  1. Contract documents showing the baseline conditions of the site (including existing habitat quality) and improvements to be constructed and planted.
  2. Technical reports or permitting documentation that describes the species which are intended to benefit from the site and the value of the habitat lift (above and beyond requirements) that is satisfying this criterion. 
  3. Technical report that describes minimization that occurred throughout the project development process.