When applying for a removal-fill permit to impact waters of the state, the applicant is required to mitigate the impacts. Mitigation is a process to reduce the effects of the proposed project, and includes avoidance and minimization.
As part of the application process, applicants must first consider, in the following order: 1) avoiding the impact altogether; 2) minimizing the impact; 3) rectifying the impact at project completion; and 4) compensating for the unavoidable losses.
Examples of the type of analysis that must be documented in the permit application are: how might the footprint of the impact be modified; how might the proposed development area be moved to avoid or minimize wetland or waterway impacts; or how might the temporary impacts be repaired. If permanent impacts are unavoidable, permittees must compensate (mitigate) for the ecological functions and societal benefits (values) that will be permanently lost.
The success of a mitigation project depends upon multiple factors including appropriate siting, a sound project design and monitoring plan, and the site’s potential to be self-sustaining. Compensatory mitigation will normally require the assistance of trained professionals to assure that projects are successful and that plans and reports contain sufficient detail to satisfy Department of State Lands (DSL) requirements.
There are three general steps in planning for compensatory mitigation:
Step 1: Evaluate project impacts on acreage/linear feet, and functions and values.
Step 2: Select the mitigation opportunity(ies) that will best offset those impacts.
Step 3: Develop a mitigation plan as part of the permit application to DSL.
Applicants proposing impacts to waters of the state other than wetlands and tidal waters should work closely with a Resource Coordinator to assure compliance with DSL mitigation requirements.
Removal Fill Guide: Chapter 8 – Compensatory Mitigation Planning for Wetlands and Tidal Waters
Wetland Mitigation Options
Purchasing Mitigation Credits
Establishing a Mitigation Bank