NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision Making
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Antietam National Battlefield, MD3.4 Categorical Exclusions — CEs for Which A Record is Needed

See section 3.2 for the process to follow when the proposal is described in one of the following categories:

A. Actions related to general administration

  1. Changes or amendments to an approved action when such changes would cause no environmental impact.

  2. Minor boundary changes that are accomplished through existing statutory authorities and that result in no change in land use.

  3. Reissuance/renewal of permits, rights-of-way, or easements not involving new environmental impacts provided that the impacts of the original actions were evaluated in an environmental document.

  4. Conversion of existing permits to rights-of-way, when such conversions neither continue nor potentially initiate adverse environmental conditions provided that the impacts of the original actions were evaluated in an environmental document.

  5. Issuances, extensions, renewals, reissuances, or minor modifications of concession contracts or permits that do not entail new construction or any potential for new environmental impact as a result of concession operations.

  6. Incidental business permits (formerly called commercial use licenses) involving no construction or potential for new environmental impact.

  7. Leasing of historic properties in accordance with 36 CFR 18 and NPS-38.

  8. Modifications or revisions to existing regulations, or the promulgation of new regulations for NPS-administered areas, provided the modifications, revisions, or new regulations do not:
    (a) increase public use to the extent of compromising the nature and character of the area or cause physical damage to it.
    (b) introduce non-compatible uses that might compromise the nature and characteristics of the area or cause physical damage to it.
    (c) conflict with adjacent ownerships or land uses.
    (d) cause a nuisance to adjacent owners or occupants.

  9. At the direction of the NPS responsible official, actions where NPS has concurrence or co-approval with another bureau and the action is a CE for that bureau, and where NPS agrees that there is no potential for environmental impact.

  10. Routine transfers of jurisdiction between the NPS and the District of Columbia accomplished through existing statutory authority, where no change of use in the land is anticipated upon transfer.
  Be sure to check for exceptional circumstances (section 3-5) and consult the "Warning" section (3-6) before you decide that your park's action should be categorically excluded!  

B. Plans, studies, and reports

  1. Changes or amendments to an approved plan, when such changes have no potential for environmental impact.

  2. Cultural resources maintenance guides, collection management plans, historic furnishings reports, or their equivalents.

  3. Interpretive plans (interpretive prospectuses, audio-visual plans, museum exhibit plans, wayside exhibit plans).

  4. Plans, including priorities, justifications, and strategies, for non-manipulative research, monitoring, inventorying, and information-gathering.

  5. Agreements between NPS offices for plans and studies.

  6. Authorization, funding, or approval for the preparation of statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plans.

  7. Adoption or approval of academic or research surveys, studies, reports, and similar documents that do not contain and will not result in NPS recommendations.

  8. Land protection plans that propose changes to existing land or visitor use when the changes have no potential for environmental impact.

C. Actions related to development

  1. Land acquisition within established park boundaries, if future anticipated uses would have no potential for environmental impact.

  2. Land exchanges that will not lead to anticipated changes in the use of land and that have no potential for environmental impact.

  3. Routine maintenance and repairs to non-historic structures, facilities, utilities, grounds, and trails.

  4. Routine maintenance and repairs to cultural resource sites, structures, utilities, and grounds if the action falls under an approved Historic Structures Preservation Guide or Cyclic Maintenance Guide (or equivalent guides), or if the action would not adversely affect the cultural resource.

  5. Installation of signs, displays, and kiosks.

  6. Installation of navigation aids.

  7. Experimental testing of short duration (no more than one season) of mass transit systems, and changes in operation of existing systems, that have no potential for environmental impact.

  8. Replacement in kind of minor structures and facilities with little or no change in location, capacity, or appearance — for example, comfort stations, pit toilets, fences, kiosks, signs, and campfire circles.

  9. Repair, resurfacing, striping, installation of traffic control devices, and repair/replacement of guardrails, culverts, signs, and other minor existing features on existing roads when no potential for environmental impact exists.

  10. Changes in sanitary facilities operation resulting in no new environmental effects.

  11. Installation of wells, comfort stations, and pit or vault toilets in areas of existing use and in developed areas.

  12. Minor trail relocation or development of compatible trail networks on logging roads or other established routes.

  13. Upgrading or adding new overhead utility facilities on existing poles, or on replacement poles that do not change existing pole line configurations.

  14. Issuance of rights-of-way for overhead utility lines to an individual building or well from an existing line where installation will not result in visual intrusion and will involve no clearance of vegetation other than for placement of poles.

  15. Issuance of rights-of-way for minor overhead utility lines not involving placement of poles or towers and not involving vegetation management or visual intrusion in an area administered by NPS.

  16. Installation of underground utilities in areas showing clear evidence of recent human disturbance or areas within an existing road prism or within an existing overhead utility right-of-way.

  17. Minor landscaping in areas showing clear evidence of recent human disturbance.

  18. Installation of fencing enclosures, exclosures, or boundary fencing posing no effect on wildlife migrations.

D. Actions related to visitor use

  1. Minor changes in amounts or types of visitor use for the purpose of ensuring visitor safety or resource protection in accordance with existing regulations.

  2. Minor changes in programs and regulations pertaining to visitor activities.

  3. Issuance of permits for demonstrations, gatherings, ceremonies, concerts, arts and crafts shows, and so forth, entailing only short-term or readily remediable environmental disturbance.

  4. Designation of trailside camping zones with minimal or no improvements.

E. Actions related to resource management and protection

  1. Archeological surveys and permits involving only surface collection or small-scale test excavations.

  2. Restoration of noncontroversial (based on internal scoping requirements in section 2.6) native species into suitable habitats within their historic range.

  3. Removal of individual members of a non-threatened/endangered species or populations of pests and exotic plants that pose an imminent danger to visitors or an immediate threat to park resources.

  4. Removal of non-historic materials and structures in order to restore natural conditions when the removal has no potential for environmental impacts, including impacts to cultural landscapes or archeological resources.

  5. Development of standards for, and identification, nomination, certification, and determination of, eligibility of properties for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the National Historic Landmark and National Natural Landmark Programs, and biosphere reserves.

  6. Non-destructive data collection, inventory (including field, aerial, and satellite surveying and mapping), study, research, and monitoring activities (this is also a Departmental CE).

  7. Designation of environmental study areas and research natural areas, including those closed temporarily or permanently to the public, unless the potential for environmental (including socioeconomic) impact exists.

F. Actions related to grant programs

  1. Proposed actions essentially the same as those listed in paragraphs A-E above.

  2. Grants for acquisition of areas that will continue in the same use or lower density use with no additional disturbance to the natural setting or type of use.

  3. Grants for replacement or renovation of facilities at their same location without altering the kind and amount of recreational, historical, or cultural resources of the area or the integrity of the existing setting.

  4. Grants for construction of facilities on lands acquired under a previous NPS or other federal grant, provided that the development is in accord with plans submitted with the acquisition grant, and that environmental documents have been completed on the impacts of the proposal funded by the original grant.

  5. Grants for the construction of new facilities within an existing park or recreation area, provided that the facilities will not:
    (a) conflict with adjacent ownerships or land use, or cause a nuisance to adjacent owners or occupants, such as would happen if use were extended beyond daylight hours.
    (b) introduce motorized recreation vehicles, including off-road vehicles, personal water craft, and snowmobiles.
    (c) introduce active recreation pursuits into a passive recreation area.
    (d) increase public use or introduce non-compatible uses to the extent of compromising the nature and character of the property or causing physical damage to it.
    (e) add or alter access to the park from the surrounding area.

  6. Grants for the restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, preservation, and reconstruction (or the authorization thereof) of properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, at their same location, and provided that such actions:
    (a) will not alter the integrity of the property or its setting.
    (b) will not increase public use of the area to the extent of compromising the nature and character of the property.
    (c) will not cause a nuisance to adjacent property owners or occupants.

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