NPS NEPA Handbook Fundamentals


This course provides a full overview of National Park Service National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) practice based on the 2015 NEPA Handbook. The course focuses on improving NPS NEPA practice so that NEPA reviews are concise, focused and timely. The course will cover topics including the legal and policy foundation for NEPA, the circumstances that trigger the need to comply with NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality and Department of the Interior requirements. It will also cover NPS practices for categorical exclusions, environmental assessments and environmental impact statements.

The course will discuss key elements of NEPA reviews including timing, scoping, alternatives development, impacts analysis, public review and decision documents. The relationship of other regulatory requirements to NEPA reviews, such as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act will be covered in brief. The course will also provide an opportunity to learn about how the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) program can be used to support NEPA reviews.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, you should understand:

  • When to initiate NEPA reviews
  • How to meet NEPA’s procedural requirements and conduct focused, consice, timely and legally sufficient NEPA reviews
  • The importance of identifying and describing proposed action
  • The concept of significance as it relates to issues analyzed, the magnitude of an impact and the NEPA pathway
  • How to use categorical exclusions
  • Process steps for environmental assessments and environmental impact statements
  • The role of NEPA in the NPS decision-making process


Target Audience

Staff that manage NEPA reviews, participate as interdisciplinary team members during NEPA reviews and/or have a role in implementing NEPA on a day-to-day basis in their parks/programs (e.g., Superintendents, program managers for planning and compliance)

Course Format

Instructor led; 24 hours

Course Dates

There are no upcoming sessions of this course scheduled at this time.



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