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NEPA / SEPA Guidance

Making sure that a project has completed all the necessary environmental procedures is a challenge. Chapter 400 of the Environmental Manual (EM) describes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and explain other environmental policy.

The information on this page is designed for a technical audience.

New Requirements


Environmental Guidance can be found:

Scope your Project

During the Project Scoping phase, WSDOT staff define projects by entering information into the WSDOT Project Summary Database. This process defines the purpose and need for the project, identifies and evaluates alternatives, and documents the overall scope and cost of the project. This information allows WSDOT and the legislature to prioritize projects for funding.

For scoping permits, go to the Federal, State, and Local Permits web pages. 

Documenting Environmental Impacts

Each category of NEPA and SEPA has its own compliance path.  The links below detail how to assess impacts, ensure document quality, and comply with procedural requirements.  

Process Guidance

  • ECS/SEPA Checklist ShareDot database - This database allows WSDOT staff to complete SEPA documents and NEPA CEs and DCEs. This database is available to WSDOT employees only and can be accessed from the WSDOT Intranet Environment page.
  • FTA adopts new rule defining CE/DCE projects - 23 CFR 771.117 replaced by 23 CFR 771.118
  • FHWA and FTA have issued a joint final rule to revise emergency CEs under 23 CFR 771.117 (c) (9). FTA Emergency CEs (pdf 58 kb).
  • NEPA documentation roles and responsibilities (pdf 149 kb) this table describes WSDOT Region, WSDOT HQ, and FHWA roles and responsibilities during the NEPA documentation process.
  • QA/QC Guidance and Templates (pdf 2.16 mb) -- design quality into your process.
  • EA Process -- this web page gives step by step guidance for writing an EA form Project Initiation to FONSI.
  • EIS Process -- this web page gives step by step guidance for writing an EIS from Project Initiation to ROD.
  • SEPA Process -- this web page gives step by step guidance for state environmental documentation procedures.
  • Environmental Document Distribution Table (pdf 115 kb)- table listing the required number and type of copies for distribution.

Assess Impacts

Finalize and Approve

  • Environmental Document Distribution Table (pdf 115 kb) -- table listing the required number and type of copies for distribution.
  • Legal considerations (pdf 90 kb) -- guidance for filing NEPA Statute of Limitations  and SEPA Notice of Action.
  • Supporting the Administrative Record (pdf 73 kb) by creating and maintaining your project files.
  • Document Re-evaluation (pdf 93 kb) - procedure for assessing environmental documents when projects change over time.