ENV405 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT                                       Spring 2003



Instructor:       Dr. Alan Goldin; Room: CSC106B

             Office hours: MWF 10 A.M., T 1 P.M.

            Phone: 592-5015 (goldina@jaynet.wcmo.edu)

Class:            W 2-5 CSC303 and CSC110.




Tools, methods, and techniques employed in the study of environmental impact assessment and resource management.  Research fundamentals and related environmental legislation will be studied and applied to environmental problems and resource evaluation.  The major product is the development of a project requiring an EIS, researching the alternatives, gathering information, writing and presenting the report.


Note: There may be slight alterations in this syllabus as the semester progresses.  Any changes will be announced several times in class as well as announced on our Public Folders web site ENV405.





Environmental scientists, federal agencies, and land developers must cooperate in any proposal that will alter the environment in order to minimize its degradation.  In order to assess any environmental impacts, scientists must be 1) cognizant of current legislation and be able to search for any changes in the legislation, 2) know how to collect and synthesize available data, 3) know how to use various techniques which weigh the importance of environmental factors related to the proposed projects and/or actions, 4) know how to organize scientific data as well as to evaluate collected data and to communicate the information to others in written reports, 5) be sensitive to working with scientists from other disciplines in a team effort, and 6) know how to evaluate the reports of other environmental scientists.  The ultimate goal is to be able to write and evaluate a report assessing environmental impacts.  The purpose of this course is to develop the student's skills in these areas.  Several class sessions will be given by  outside speakers.




DATE              TOPIC


January 15      Introduction.  History of conservation; National Environmental Policy Act


January 22      Background to library.  Library tour of legal documents, government documents, maps and atlases.  NEPA -the act, rationale, and regulations. 


January 29        Completion of EIS/EA regulations.  Evaluation techniques for

environmental assessment, especially Leopold Matrix.  Job fair.

Assignment 1 due


February 5      National Environmental Policy Act and related federal legislation and history with Caroline Buenger. 


February 19      Possible speaker from state agency to discuss EIS preparation.  Leopold matrix applications class; Crystal Lake, Florida exercise

Assignment 2 due


February 26               Environmental Assessment in the field for four-laning route F


March 5           Discussion of Environmental Assessment for four-laning route F.

Find an EIS currently being undertaken.  Discuss and comment on it as a class.

Assignment 3 due; Notice of Intent due


March 12                Seattle NOAA Environmental Impact Statement


March 19          EXAMINATION

            Assignment 4 due


March 31-April 24      EIS preparation, and presentations and examples




Required: Eccleston, Charles. 1999. The NEPA Planning Process: A Comprehensive Guide with Emphasis on Efficiency. John Wiley and Sons.


Reserve: How to Write Quality EISs and EAs. Guidelines for NEPA Documents. Shipley Associates. Bountiful, Utah. 1992


Reserve: Kreske, Diori L. 1996. Environmental Impact Statements. A Practical Guide for Agencies, Citizens, and Consultants. John Wiley and Sons.




The principal focus of this course is to teach students how to prepare and evaluate Environmental Impact Statements, environmental assessments, and similar reports.  With this in mind the course has the following objectives:


** 1) understanding the importance of federal legislation, particularly the National Environmental Policy Act and the regulations issued to implement NEPA,


** 2) competence in reviewing, assessing, and writing environmental impact statements,


** 3) competence in using the library, particularly the various scientific or specialized abstracts/indices/bibliographies, for data collection to organize, assess, and write an E.I.S.,


** 4) competence in using various techniques to analyze and weigh the importance of the many environmental factors which might be impacted in any development,


** 5) ability to work as a team member to organize an E.I.S. and to evaluate the

contribution of the other team members.




1. Exam on federal legislation, environmental assessment, and library research.  The exam is scheduled for March 19.   There is **** NO **** makeup exam.  Missing the exam will result in a grade of zero.  There is no final exam. 


2. Notice of Intent for project requiring environmental impact statement.  Due March 5.  Each group must "notify" "the public" with a proper public notification and hold a public hearing for scoping and the draft EIS (the presentation).


3. Student comments ("the public") on scoping and NOI due March 12.


4. Environmental Impact Statement on an approved topic working in groups of two or three.  Examples of previous student EISs will be on reserve in the library.  One person should be designated the Project Manager.  The EIS should include a budget.  Follow format in EIS examples and the CEQ guidelines.  The group should either be an agency or a consultant working for them.  One member should be an employee of a related agency.  Get data from agencies or from the Internet.  Maintain records of who does what and submit with the EIS.


5. EIS Outline due March 19.


6. A 30 to 40 minute presentation by your group with 5 to 10 minutes for questions.  Papers will be presented April 23.  The DRAFT EIS should be available for "the public" on April 16.  I will pay for the copying of each EIS up to 30 pages.  We may want to involve "other public" besides other students in the class.  Students will assist in grading the presentations.  As "the public", you will be almost as involved in the other EISs as on your own.


7. Student comments ("the public") on DRAFT EIS due April 23.


8. Final EIS due May 2.  Make sure EIS is word-processed, spell-checked, and PROOFREAD.  Obvious proofreading errors or typos will lose one point per error. 


9. Four assignments using library or outside environmental resources, including an annotated bibliography and a group EIS.  Assignments will use our library, the MOBIUS system, and standard bibliographic techniques, federal legal documents for finding and updating existing legislation, searching environmental resources (books, maps, and others) for particular information, and other search procedures on the Internet.  Each of the assignments will have a different level of difficulty and point value.   Students should remain in contact with each other to pass on sources of information.  Students will receive extra credit for finding important sources of information.  These will be discussed in class.


Assignment Number         Due Date          Point Value

                  1           January 29                      50   

2           February 19                        75

3           March 5               100

4           March 19                75


Late assignments are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.  For full credit the assignments must be handed in by the due date.  Assignments handed in within one week after the due date will receive a maximum of 75% of the point total and within two weeks 50%.  NO credit will be given for assignments more than two weeks late.


10. Class participation during presentation by outside speakers, the instructor, and fellow classmates is expected.


11. Class attendance.  Attending class is an essential part of your grade. You are allowed one excused (or unexcused) absence.  Each absence is worth 10 points.  If you use <1 for the semester, your attendance grade will be 100.  If you are absent 2 or more times, each absence will count its grade loss, so that with two absences, your attendance grade will be 80.  It is YOUR responsibility to give me a doctor's or coach's note for each and every absence.  This note MUST be delivered no later than the next class or the absence counts as "unexcused."  The note from the coach can be similar to the following: "Mary is on the softball team.  She missed your class on February 4 due to her participation in a softball game in Springfield, Illinois." It MUST be signed and dated.  Similarly, the physician's note must be specific.  It is YOUR responsibility to get this note delivered on time.  It is also your responsibility to sign in for class each day as well as to deliver ALL assignments on time.  Lateness will result in a 10 point grade loss immediately after class ends and for each 24 hours thereafter.



                                          Due Date

Assignments:                        10%      January 29 to March 19

Notice of Intent:                   5%    March 5

Comments on NOI                 5%      March 12

EIS Outline                     5%      March 19

Examination:                        15%      March 19

Draft EIS:                    12%      April 16

Comments on Draft EIS           5%      April 23

EIS presentation:                 15%      April 23

Final EIS:                    18%      May 2

Attendance:                   10%      Wednesdays