Guidance for NEPA and SEPA Project-Level Climate change Evaluations

Posted on: 9/20/2021 - Updated on: 8/23/2022

Posted by

Kathryn Braddock



This guidance addresses whether the effects of a proposed project on environmental resources and on vulnerable populations will be exacerbated by climate change related vulnerability. This is consistent with the 2016 CEQ guidance and with the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) emphasis on inclusive community engagement and environmental justice in project delivery.

This guidance directs how WSDOT’s environmental review documents should consider the projected climate change for our region. The basic source of climate information that we rely on is the Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment (University of Washington, June 2009; updated 2013). It provides sufficient information to enable planning-level consideration of our state’s forecasted climate impacts. In 2011, WSDOT completed the Climate Impacts Vulnerability Assessment (CIVA) to assist project teams and transportation planners (more information below). WSDOT staff maintains close ties with UW researchers to track actionable climate science and information on emerging resilient asset management techniques.

This guidance outlines a standard analytical process and provides template language with the agency’s key messages. The guidance is consistent with the technical and policy guidance contained in WSDOT’s Environmental Manual Chapter 412 (cumulative effects).

Who should use this guidance?

  • All WSDOT projects subject to NEPA and SEPA are required to follow this guidance.
  • While this guidance satisfies WSDOT’s responsibilities for disclosure related to the
  • NEPA and SEPA processes, it does not apply to documents prepared to satisfy the federal Endangered Species Act.

Affiliated Organizations

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is the steward of a large and robust transportation system, and is responsible for ensuring that people and goods move safely and efficiently. In addition to building, maintaining, and operating the state highway system, WSDOT is responsible for the state ferry system, and works in partnership with others to maintain and improve local roads, railroads, airports, and multi-modal alternatives to driving.