U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service 

Through business process modernization, the Electronic Management of the National Environmental Policy Act (eMNEPA) program saves the Forest Service approximately $12 million per year in administrative costs. eMNEPA provides Forest Service leadership greater data clarity, allowing them to advance mission goals. Beyond reducing the administrative burden of compliance and improved data management, the program is also increasing effectiveness in on-the-ground land management. Long-term vision, planning, and consistent execution has enabled the Forest Service to use eMNEPA to engage a greater number of citizens with less burden and with greater success. Ultimately, the Forest Service is now able to work with citizens more collaboratively on land management activities.

Why This Matters To You

NEPA establishes situations where the Forest Service needs to engage the public. By improving internal business practices and adding new tools to enable public participation, the eMNEPA program has helped the Forest Service improve collaboration with the public while reducing the burden on field staff, saving time and money. Additionally, the Forest Service is able to incorporate public information into better decision making and to create collaborative, non-adversarial relationships between the Forest Service and the public.

The Forest Service is able to easily use their corporate eMNEPA dataset to publish information to the web for the public and allow the public to directly submit comments on projects, read others’ comments, and subscribe to electronic bulletins regarding project updates. Communications streamlining also has enabled the Forest Service to take advantage of tools that facilitate tracking and processing of public information, leading to further cost savings.

In 2011, the Forest Service was lauded as an IT Best Practice by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality for their work in NEPA.

How We Helped

Phase One has been a key partner since eMNEPA’s inception in 2004. Our consultants work directly with Forest Service personnel responsible for environmental analysis, decision making, and public collaboration.

Effective public engagement is a challenge for any organization. To improve these processes, Phase One analyzed the public engagement line of business and developed a proposed solution, assisted with the procurement of tools, and trained over 300 personnel in how to use the public engagement tools and how to effectively engage the public using those tools. Because of their dedication and professionalism, the Phase One team has been widely accepted by the field operations staff
as a knowledgeable and trusted resource for designing and deploying these new capabilities.

As trusted advisors, Phase One has assisted the Forest Service in managing the attention brought upon the program by the CEQ’s recognition of eMNEPA as a best practice. This assistance has extended to communications strategy and support for Forest Service leadership as they have presented their work across the entire Federal Government.