NEPA: Cumulative Effects Analysis, Module 1

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Program Description:  The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of actions that are proposed on public lands.

Course Description:  This is the first module of a 3-part cumulative effects analysis training that will show you how to improve your NEPA documents by writing more robust cumulative effects analyses.

Module 1 provides an overview of cumulative effects analysis, based on the guridance from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the BLM.  It introduces you to the 7-step cumulative effects process from the BLM NEPA Handbook (Section 6.8.3).  It has 25 minutes of video instruction and seven ungraded self-assessment questions.  Our instructors will provide you with feedback on the answers to the questions--whether you get them right or not!

Module 2 goes more in-depth in each step of the cumulative effects process, illustrating potential complexities in the process with four examples that represent typical BLM actions--a timber sale, grazing permit renewal, right-of-way application, and a Plan of Development to drill oil and gas wells.  You can view just one or all four of the examples.

We bring Module 3 to your office.  BLM employees and/or contractors will facilitate your team through the cumulative effects process using one or more of the projects you are struggling with.

We built the cumulative effects training in three parts so each module builds on the next--Module 1 is a prerequisite for Module 2, and Modules 1 and 2 must be completed before we bring you Module 3.

Course Objectives:  When you complete Module 1, you should be able to:

  • Identify the sources of cumulative effects guidance.
  • Define cumulative effects and describe why they're important.
  • Describe the relationship between cumulative effects and direct/indirect effects.

Target Audience:  This intermediate course is for anyone who wants to improve how they analyze and document cumulative effects for proposed actions and their alternatives, as required under NEPA.  Participants should be familiar with the NEPA process before taking this course.  Two courses we recommend that you complete before starting this one are: NEPA Analysis Process for the BLM (1620-02) and NEPA: Analyzing Impacts (1620-10).  Both are available through DOI Learn or the NTC's Knowledge Resource Center (KRC).