Glossary

Description
Major Structures
Bridges, retaining walls, tunnels, and large reinforced concrete culverts.
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972
See Glossary of Environmental Laws
Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972
See Glossary of Environmental Laws
Maritime Forest
A forested community located by or near the sea on the mainland side of a barrier beach or island. It is characterized by its stunted growth due to the stresses imposed by its proximity to salt spray from the ocean. Typical vegetation includes live oak, red maple and swamp tupelo.
Marsh
An ecosystem of more or less continuously waterlogged soil dominated by emersed herbaceous plants but without a surface accumulation of peat. A marsh differs from a swamp in that it is dominated by rushes, reeds, cattails, and sedges, with few if any woody plants, and differs from a bog in having soil rather than peat as its base. Freshwater marshes are herbaceous areas that are flooded for extended periods during the growing season. Included are marshes within lacustrine systems, managed impoundments, some Carolina Bays, and other non- tidal marshes (i.e. marshes which do not fall into the Salt/Brackish Marsh category). Typical communities include species of sedges, millets, rushes and grasses that are not specified in the coastal wetland regulations. Also included are giant cane, arrowhead, pickerelweed, arrow arum, smartweed, and cattail. Salt/Brackish Marshes are any salt marshes or other marshes subject to regular or occasional flooding by tides, including wind tides (whether or not the tide waters reach the marshland areas through natural or artificial watercourses), as long as this flooding does not include hurricane or tropical storm waters. Coastal wetland plant species include: smooth cordgrass; black needlerush; glasswort; salt grass; sea lavender; salt marsh bullrush; saw grass; cattail; salt meadow cordgrass; and big cordgrass.
May Affect - Not Likely to Adversely Affect (MA-NLAA)
In a Biological Evaluation the groundwork is established for a determination of "may affect, not likely to adversely affect" or "may affect, likely to adversely affect" for species and habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act. This determination is initially made by the State DOT. Sufficient information must be provided to the USFWS/NMFS to make a "not likely to adversely affect" or "likely to adversely affect" determination in informal consultation, or a "jeopardy/adverse modification" or "non-jeopardy/no adverse modification" determination in formal consultation.
Median
A median is the portion of highway separating opposing directions of the traveled way. Median width is expressed as the dimension between the edges of the traveled way and includes the left shoulders, if any.
Merger Implementation Team (MIT)
A small group of senior level representatives from the Merger Process's primary signatory agencies (DENR, NCDOT, FHWA and USACE) that meet on a monthly basis to discuss and troubleshoot any programmatic and policy- level issues that arise regarding implementation of the Merger Process.
Merger Training Team (MTT)
A group of representatives from several participating agencies who guided the development of the Merger Process Training.
Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
A regional policy body, required in urbanized areas with populations over 50,000, that is responsible for carrying out the metropolitan planning requirements of federal highway and transit legislation in cooperation with state and other transportation providers; develops transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
See Glossary of Environmental Laws
Mitigation
1. For the purposes of Section 10/404 and consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines and the Memorandum of Agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army Concerning the Determination of Mitigation under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines, mitigation means sequentially avoiding impacts, minimizing impacts, and compensating for remaining unavoidable impacts. (60 FR 228, pp. 58605-58614, "Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use and Operation of Mitigation Banks," 28Nov95);
  
  2. The practice of allowing unavoidable losses of wetlands in exchange for their replacement elsewhere through restoration or through creation of new wetlands. (National Research Council (NRC), Committee of Characterization of Wetlands, 1995. Wetlands, Characteristics and Boundaries, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 308pp.);
  
  3. Mitigation can also refer to activities or practices done to moderate the impacts a project has on human or natural resources, such as an historic architecture site or an endangered species. (See State Highway Corridor - Glossary of Terms); http://www.ncdot.org/doh/preconstruct/tpb/SHC/pdf/shc_concept_development_report_glossary.pdf).
Mitigation Bank
1. A site where wetlands and/or other aquatic resources are restored, created, enhanced, or in exceptional circumstances, preserved expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of authorized impacts to similar resources. For the purposes of Section 10/404, use of a mitigation bank may only be authorized when impacts are unavoidable. (60 FR 228, pp. 58605-58614, "Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use and Operation of Mitigation Banks," 28Nov95);
  
  2. Wetland restoration, creation, enhancement, and in exceptional circumstances, preservation, and contributions to such activities, undertaken expressly for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable wetland impacts or losses due to construction of one or more (highway) projects. Mitigation banks are usually developed in advance of project construction for situations when compensatory mitigation cannot be achieved on-site or where on-site mitigation would not be as environmentally beneficial (23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 777/FHWA).
Moratorium
A temporary ban or halt to a specific activity. For NCDOT Projects, a moratorium usually refers to a defined period of time (i.e., "season" or "window") during which specific construction activities are not allowed in order to protect sensitive animal species from disturbance. For example, the typical moratorium for anadromous fish is from February 15th to June 30th. A moratorium usually does not apply to the entire project, but instead to certain aspects of the project, such as in-water work. The most common animals that receive protection from moratoriums in North Carolina are various fish species, mussels, piping plovers, sea turtles and manatees. Other endangered species may also be protected by moratoriums.
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