• Understand: Provides a basic overview of environmental topics frequently associated with environmental resources and airport operations. An understanding of environmental resources and regulations provides the foundation for conversations about your airport’s environmental resources and your responsibilities as an airport manager.

    In order to communicate your airport’s environmental policies and practices, you must first understand the laws, regulations, and policies that apply to the environmental resources on your airport and the effect that airport operations that could have on those resources. A list of topics with links to each section is provided below.

    Two other topics which are frequently associated with airport environmental impacts are Land Use and Noise, and each is addressed in dedicated sections of this toolkit.


    • Understanding NEPA and Environmental Planning: Provides an overview of NEPA and FAA guidance for performing the environmental analysis NEPA requires. [Details]
    • Air Quality: Provides a discussion of air pollutant emissions sources related to airport operations and the laws that regulate them. [Details]
    • Emergency Planning and Response: Identifies resources for a variety of topics related to emergency planning and response. [Details]
    • Waste Management: Provides an understanding of regulations and policies related to waste management at airports. [Details]
    • Water Resources: Provides information about the types of water resources that may be present on airports and the potential effects of routine airport operations. [Details]
    • Proactive Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability: Describes how environmental stewardship and sustainable practices can build goodwill, support public relations, and promote a positive public image for your airport. [Details]

  • Explore: To understand and better communicate your airport’s environmental policies and programs, you must first understand the resources that are present on your airport, the potential effect of airport operations on those resources, and the applicable federal, state and local regulations that apply to those resources.

    This section of the toolkit will help you to define current environmental conditions, applicable regulations, as well as your airport’s policies, and programs by answering the following questions:

    • What environmental resources are present on and near the airport that could be affected by airport operations?
    • What regulations apply to these resources?
    • What are our current responsibilities to achieve environmental compliance?
    • Are we achieving environmental compliance for the resources we manage?
    • How can we keep up to date on requirements and best practices?
    • What is our policy goal regarding environmental stewardship and sustainability?


    • Identify the Environmental Resources at Your Airport: Identify the environmental resources that are present at your airport, and the persons in your organization responsible for managing them. [Details]
    • Identify Airport Permit and Program Responsibilities: Create an inventory of current environmental resources and conditions to identify gaps and anticipate future needs. [Details]
    • Identify Your Airport’s Policy on Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability: Understand your airport’s environmental resources and current environmental policies and the FAA’s actions to encourage sustainability at airports. [Details]
  • Take Action: Once you understand the resources that are present at your airport and your responsibility as an airport operator to manage these resources, you may need to take specific actions to develop and implement any environmental education and outreach procedures.

    As you undertake actions to continue or improve your airport’s environmental management program, watch for opportunities to communicate these efforts with the community. By doing so, you will convey your agency’s commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible resource management at the airport. In some cases, there may be opportunities to engage the public in a conversation regarding environmental management. Ideas for environmental outreach and procedure development are addressed in the Take Action topics.


    • Create an Environmental Mission Statement: A mission statement provides guidance for funding and implementation priorities. [Details]
    • Create Environmental Objectives: Use a combination of resources to identify environmental objectives. [Details]
    • Develop an Environmental Communications Outreach Plan: Enhance the public perception of the airport by communicating about environmental resources, compliance and stewardship. [Details]
    • Assign Program Roles and Responsibilities: Decide how to get the job done with airport staff and/or outside support. [Details]
    • Provide Environmental Training Opportunities to Meet Legal Requirements and Support Environmental Objectives: Stay informed and keep the airport in compliance with environmental requirements through training and let the public know about it. [Details]