Project Types and Screening Area Buffers

The PA Conservation Explorer’s (Explorer) PNDI Environmental Review portion of the site provides the user with the ability to screen a project for potential impacts to state and federally-listed endangered, threatened, and rare species as well as other species and resources.  The Explorer provides an automatic response determining that the project has No Potential Impact, Potential Impact or Avoidance or Conservation Measures are provided to minimize project impacts to the species.  

The four resource agencies associated with species and resources found in PNDI (DCNR, PFBC, PGC, and USFWS) are responsible for providing an accurate determination through the PNDI environmental review process. In order for the jurisdictional agencies to provide automatic clearances via the Explorer (as opposed to a staff-person review), the agency must meet all of its regulatory requirements to ensure that the PNDI screening took into consideration secondary or indirect effects as well as direct effects. Also to encourage early planning, the screening area allows users to screen projects where they may not have fully considered access, staging areas, or the exact route or placement of the project.  Project screening areas have been part of the PNDI process since the PNDI Tool was created in 2005. However, now in the Explorer, the user is able to see the visible screening area buffer after drawing their project. 

Different project types may have different screening areas applied to the project footprint. In general, the screening area buffer (added to the project footprint to delineate the entire project screening areas) takes into consideration the effects and early planning mentioned above to  ensure an accurate agency determination. In addition, the scale of the map at which the applicant draws the project footprint governs how accurately the project is depicted. With improved mapping, some of the potential error is reduced, but the error is not totally eliminated.

When a project footprint is drawn within the Explorer, the area that will be screened by the tool for potential impacts is created by first applying a project-type specific screening area buffer around the project.  If the resulting total area (project footprint plus screening area buffer) is less than 50 acres, the Explorer will add an additional screening area to bring the project up to a minimum of 50 acres.  All projects are analyzed for potential species impacts within a minimum 50 acre screening area (project area plus screening buffer).

The Explorer facilitates early planning to enable users to screen their projects as early in the process as possible, and then work further with the appropriate jurisdictional resources agency as needed per the results of the PNDI Receipt. For additional information related to project buffer sizes, please see below or contact the agencies listed in the PNDI Receipt.

Project Types

  • Aquaculture
    • Existing hatchery
      • facility maintenance or expansion : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • increase surface or groundwater withdrawal : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • modify effluent discharge (quality or quantity) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • pond or raceway construction : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Proposed hatchery : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Agriculture/Farming
    • Application of biosolids : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Application of pesticides/herbicides : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Construction/development of a new agricultural operation (orchard, farm) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Continued agricultural field use (crops, fruit, trees, grazing) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Conversion of wooded area, or fallow field into agricultural production : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Expansion, modification, maintenance of an existing agricultural operation : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Installation of livestock crossing : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Pond construction : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Stream or groundwater withdrawal (for irrigation, livestock watering) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Streambank fencing : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Communication
    • Antenna and/or communication dish installation
      • on new structure (cell tower) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • on existing structure (cell twr,building) : Buffer = 1 Feet
    • Cell or communication tower (include access roads in project area)
      • new tower : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • modification of existing tower : Buffer = 1 Feet
    • Fiber optic cable installation : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Development
    • Additions/maintenance to existing development facilities : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • New commercial/industrial development (store, gas station, factory) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • New public/community development (school, library, church, museum) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Residential
      • single-family living unit (not located within a subdivision) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • subdivision which will contain 1-2 lots with 1-2 single family living units : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Subdivision containing more than 2 lots and/or 2 single-family units : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Energy Storage, Production, and Transfer
    • Energy Production (generation)
      • Coal or gas power plant-new : Buffer = 2640 Feet
      • Coal or gas power plant -- maintenance, modification, or expansion : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Dam-new : Buffer = 5280 Feet
      • Dam -- maintenance, modification, or removal : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Oil or Gas - new wells, expansion of well field : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Nuclear Power Plant-new : Buffer = 2640 Feet
      • Nuclear Power Plant -- maintenance, modification, or expansion : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Solar Power Facility -- new or expansion : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Wind power facility (wind farm, turbines) - new, expansion, modification : Buffer = 5280 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Energy Transfer
      • Pipeline (e.g., gas, oil) -- NEW (construction of new line in a new location) : Buffer = 1320 Feet
      • Pipeline (gas, oil) - service, replace existing line : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Power/electric line - New (new location for above/under-ground line) : Buffer = 1320 Feet
      • Power/electric line - service, replace existing above/under-ground line : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Energy Storage
      • Tank installation (e.g., gas, oil) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Tank removal (e.g., gas, oil) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Forest Stewardship Plan : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Habitat Conservation and Restoration
    • Conservation Easement or Deed Restriction : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Control of invasive or exotic plant species : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Dam removal : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • Food Plot Construction : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • In-stream habitat restoration (habitat improvement structures) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Land acquisition : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Open-space designation : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Pond construction : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Prescribed burning : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Rails-to-Trails : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Research : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Streambank fencing : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Streambank stabilization (with riprap) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Streambank Stabilization (using vegetation, geotextile -- but no riprap) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Trash removal (e.g., solid waste cleanup) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Tree Planting : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Tree/Shrub Removal : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Upland habitat restoration (planting grasses, native vegetation) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Watershed stewardship planning : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Wetland Restoration, Wetland Creation, or Wetland Enhancement : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Hazardous Waste Clean-up, Site Remediation, and Reclamation
    • Emergency Response Planning : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Mining remediation or reclamation
      • Acid mine drainage (treatment) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Closure of mine opening : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Mine site -- habitat restoration/reclamation : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Mine subsidence (abatement) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Oil or gas well closure : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Solid waste cleanup (e.g., trash, tires) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Spill (e.g., oil, chemical) : Buffer = 2640 Feet
    • Superfund site (State or Federal, proposed or designated) : Buffer = 2640 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • In-stream / Riverine Activities and Projects
    • 303(d) List Development : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Boat launch/access : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Dam or Lock
      • New : Buffer = 5280 Feet
      • Maintenance or modification : Buffer = 5280 Feet
      • Removal : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • Dock : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Dredging/channel maintenance : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • Gravel bar removal : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Levees and similar flood control structures (construction, modification, maintenance) : Buffer = 2640 Feet
    • Pond, lake,sedimentation/retention basin construction in a stream channel : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) -- Development : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Military and Law Enforcement Activities
    • Development (new buildings, roads, etc.) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Integrated Cultural Resource Management Planning (ICRMP) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Integrated Natural Resource Management Planning (INRMP) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Training-Flight : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Training-on ground : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Mining
    • Coal (strip, deep, long-wall, refuse disposal) : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • other non-coal minerals (limestone,shale) : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • Sand and gravel (upland/wetland) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Sand and gravel (in-stream) : Buffer = 5280 Feet
    • Oil or Gas (including roads and pipelines)
      • New Well : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Wellhead maintenance : Buffer = 100 Feet
      • New Pipeline or Road : Buffer = 1320 Feet
      • Pipeline or road maintenance : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Pest Control (control of animal and plant pests)
    • Biological Methods of Pest Control
      • Agricultural areas: use of biological controls on agricultural pests : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Non-agricultural, terrestrial areas: use of biological controls on forest pests : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Aquatic habitats: use of biological controls in aquatic habitats : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Herbicide Use
      • Agricultural areas (crop fields, orchards) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Aquatic habitats (lakes, ponds, wetlands, streams) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Non-agricultural, terrestrial areas (forests, meadows) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Lamprey Control (e.g., use of lampricide) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Pesticide use (lethal chemical pesticides, not biological controls)
      • Agricultural areas (crop fields, orchards) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Non-agricultural, terrestrial areas (forests, meadows) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Aquatic habitats (lakes, ponds, wetlands, streams) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Rodent/bird control - use of lethal chemical outdoors or in open buildings : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • West Nile Virus (e.g., spraying to control mosquito larvae or adults). When use of a biological control (e.g., Bti) is proposed to control a life stage (e.g., mosquito larvae), see 'Biological Methods of Pest Control' : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Recreation
    • Amusement parks, auto-courses, community swimming pools, racetracks : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Boat docks/boat access areas : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Campgrounds/parking lots, playgrounds : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Fireworks : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Geocaching : Buffer = 1 Feet
    • Golf course : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Rails-to-Trails : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Resorts, Lodges, Hunt Clubs : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Ponds/Lakes: construction or expansion : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Pond/lake maintenance (drawdown, plant control, dredging, dam repair) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Trails & Trailheads (parking, etc.) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Timber harvesting and Vegetation Management
    • Control of invasive or exotic plant species : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Fencing (e.g., deer exclosures) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Herbicide application : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Mowing -- of herbaceous or shrubby vegetation : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Timber sale/harvest (including skid trails, roads, landings, stream crossings) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Transportation
    • Airports (runways, taxiways, terminals, control towers, beacons, fuel depots) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Construction of support facilities adjacent to existing paved area (Park-n-Rides, Rest Areas, Maintenance Sheds, Stockpiles and stormwater facilities) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Public Transit (subways, busways and Tramways) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Railroads (track, bridge, roadway crossing – new, maintenance, removal) : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Roads
      • Drainage: ditch cleaning, cutting, pipe/culvert pipe replacement or repair <36" : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • New construction/ New alignment : Buffer = 2640 Feet
      • Paving, Widening within existing shoulders only, milling, patching, dust pallatives, and base repairs ONLY : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Paving, Widening within existing shoulders only, milling, patching, dust pallatives, and base repairs WITH drainage pipe replacements : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Widening, adding lanes with disturbance beyond existing shoulders ONLY : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Widening, adding lanes with disturbance beyond existing shoulders WITH drainage pipe replacements : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Structures and Bridges
      • Bridge Preservation, Restoration and/or Rehabilitation : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Bridge Replacement adjacent to existing alignment (within 100 feet up/down stream) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Bridge Replacement and/or Removal - on existing alignment (within 12 feet up/down stream) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • New Bridge construction on new alignment : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Water extraction/transfer
    • Extraction of surface water (e.g., from stream, river, creek, lake, or pond) : Buffer = 2640 Feet
    • Water line construction : Buffer = 1320 Feet
    • Well (groundwater extraction)
      • <1000 GAL/DAY withdrawal (or to support a single-family living unit) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • >1000 GAL/DAY withdrawal : Buffer = 2640 Feet
    • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
  • Waste Transfer, Treatment, and Disposal
    • Liquid waste/Effluent
      • Drip or spray irrigation using waste effluent : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Effluent Discharge -- new outfall/discharge (e.g., NPDES) to stream : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Effluent discharge - renewal or modification of discharge to stream : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Sewage module/Act 537 plan : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Sewer line (new - construction in new location) : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Sewer line maintainence-repair, replacement of existing line : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Wastewater treatment plant (construction, expansion or modification) : Buffer = 2640 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet
    • Solid waste disposal
      • New landfill : Buffer = 1320 Feet
      • Expansion of landfill : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Recycling facility : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Waste incinerator : Buffer = 200 Feet
      • Other : Buffer = 200 Feet