• Creating an Environmental Stewardship Program through Working Groups

    The US 301 Waldorf Area Transportation Improvements Project has an abundance of both natural and social environmental features. This task was dedicated to establishing a new school of thought about a highway project - reaching out to the affected communities to determine what community resource-based environmental stewardship projects and programs they would like to see as a benefit to their community. Meetings were held with various stakeholders that included residents, environmental groups, local government agencies, federal agencies, and Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). A list of recommendations for environmental stewardship opportunities and concerns were developed as a result of these meetings. A process for evaluating and ranking these potential opportunities (including projects and programs) was developed as well. While this effort is about the community resource aspect of environmental stewardship, a parallel Natural Resource Working Group is ongoing and the groups have worked together to reach common ground. 


 Lessons Learned using Primary Technique:

  • Small Groups


Built relationships, educated the public, and developed solutions with community buy in. Demonstrated to the public a true committment to leaving the environment better than what existed prior to the implementation of the project. Established stewardship priorities with true community ownership.​


Resource intensive from a staff and cost perspective. Effort requires ongoing coordination with partner agencies and the public.​

As planners and practitioners we don’t need to know everything.
Stakeholders value and appreciate efforts to articulate community needs but want to use source data and information as a starting point for dialogue
Stakeholders who say “I have nothing to offer” do.
Many of the stakeholders expressed early on in the process that they only cared about the natural environment. As the process moved forward many stakeholders realized that projects and programs could meet both natural and community needs.
Preservation is king.
It is important to document feedback and information related to the process. In addition to project team members, stakeholders are interested in reviewing feedback and input as the process moves along.
The CRWG utilized research and a holistic approach to identifying values, needs and project recommendations from a cross-section of stakeholders from two counties, surrounding areas and interested parties throughout the region to develop a broad set of potential opportunities.
This approach yielded a set of potential recommendations that encompassed an array of resources, thus providing a solid benchmark for the development of the ranking and evaluation process.

 Project Attributes

Project Primary Purpose
Environmental Mitigation
Target Communities
Commercial/Retail, Established Neighborhood, Rural, Suburban, Urban
Target Populations
Commuters, Low-Income Populations, Persons with Disabilities, Racial or Ethnic Minorities
Project Design
Highway or Interchange

 Primary Technique

  • Small Groups

 Other Techniques used

  • 36;#Focus Groups;#79;#Small Groups;#49;#Key Person Interviews;#83;#Stakeholder Partnerships

 Contact Info

Traceé Strum-Gilliam, AICP
Maryland State Highway Administration
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