Wetlands and Streams Mitigation
When there is a proposed discharge into waters of the United States, the impact of the discharge must be avoided and minimized to the extent practicable. For unavoidable impacts, compensatory mitigation is required to replace the loss of aquatic resource (wetlands and streams) functions in the watershed.
Compensatory mitigation is defined as the restoration, creation, enhancement or, in exceptional cases, preservation of wetlands and/or other aquatic resources for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable impacts.
Regulations governing compensatory mitigation are designed to improve its effectiveness to replace lost aquatic resource functions and area, expand public participation in compensatory mitigation decision-making, and increase the efficiency and predictability of the mitigation project review process.
- EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a compensatory mitigation rule in March 2008. Read the Compensatory Mitigation Final Rule (PDF) (113 pp., 567K, About PDF) in the Federal Register
Learn more from EPA's Wetlands Compensatory Mitigation Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp., 288K, About PDF)
Types and Sources of Compensatory Mitigation
- Restoration: Re-establishment or rehabilitation to return natural or historic functions to a former or degraded aquatic resource.
- Establishment (Creation): Development of an aquatic resource where one did not previously exist.
- Enhancement: Improvement of one or more functions within an existing aquatic resource.
- Preservation: Permanent protection of ecologically important aquatic resources through real estate actions (deed restrictions, conservation easements) or physical actions.
- Permittee-responsible mitigation: Individual projects constructed by permittees to provide compensatory mitigation.
- Mitigation banking: A form of third-party mitigation in which aquatic resources are restored, established, enhanced and/or preserved to provide mitigation for future impacts to similar resources. The bank is responsible for the mitigation's success.
- In-lieu fee program: A form of third-party mitigation that involves the restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation of aquatic and terrestrial resources through funds paid to a sponsor – a government agency or a nonprofit natural resource management organization. The sponsor is responsible for mitigation's success.
The Region's stream resources are very important to EPA Region 7. The following documents provide information on improving stream mitigation projects:
- A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment & Restoration Projects, May 2012 (PDF) (344 pp., 24.3MB, About PDF) - This report lays out a framework for approaching stream assessment and restoration projects, which focuses on understanding the suite of stream functions at a site in the context of what's happening in the watershed.
- Natural Channel Design Review Checklist, updated May 2012 (PDF) (96 pp., 32.72MB, About PDF) - This checklist and supporting document provide guidance on important items to consider when reviewing natural channel designs. The guidance is intended to provide the reviewer with a rapid method for determining whether a project design contains an appropriate level of information for review and evaluation. Excel spreadsheet version (XLS)
- RIBITS (Regulatory In lieu fee and Bank Information Tracking System) allows users to access information on the types and numbers of mitigation and conservation bank and in-lieu fee program sites, associated documents, mitigation credit availability, service areas, as well as information on national and local policies and procedures that affect mitigation and conservation bank and in-lieu fee program development and operation.
EPA Region 7 Contact
For additional information on Region 7's activities in compensatory mitigation, please contact Jason Daniels at (913) 551-7443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.