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Wetland Mitigation Options
There are two basic options available to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands and tidal waters: permittee-responsible mitigation and purchasing mitigation credits
 
The choice between these options is informed by the five principal objectives for compensatory wetland mitigation:
  1. Replace functions and values lost at the impact site.
  2. Provide local replacement for locally important functions and values.
  3. Enhance, restore, create or preserve wetlands or tidal areas that are self-sustaining and minimize long-term maintenance needs.
  4. Ensure mitigation siting in ecologically sustainable locations.
  5. Minimize temporal loss of wetlands and tidal waters and their functions and values.
More information on these objectives is available in the Removal-Fill Guide, Chapter 8: Compensatory Mitigation for Wetlands and Tidal Waters The mitigation option that maximizes these objectives relative to the proposed impact will be favored in the permit process.
 
Permittee-Responsible Mitigation:
 
In this option, the permittee is legally responsible for all elements of the mitigation including design, construction, administrative protection, financial surety, monitoring for a minimum of five years, and long-term stewardship of the mitigation site.  Permittee-responsible mitigation may be developed onsite or offsite.
 
Onsite Mitigation is conducting the compensatory wetland mitigation project on the same parcel as the wetland impact. Often this is the best way to replace the lost functions close to where they will be lost. For example, if localized flooding is a problem, it’s important to maintain the flood storage capability of wetlands in the same area. Sometimes, however, onsite mitigation is not practical or would not be ecologically successful.
 
Offsite Mitigation is conducting the mitigation project somewhere other than on the development site. It may be done through a legal agreement with another landowner, or by purchasing wetland mitigation credits from a mitigation bank. The offsite mitigation needs to be located in the same watershed and should be designed to replace the same type of wetland functions that will be lost.
 
 
Purchasing Mitigation Credits:
 
In this option, the permittee’s legal responsibility for mitigation ends with the purchase of the credits.
 
A Mitigation Bank is a business venture in which a large wetland is restored to generate wetland credits for sale to offset unavoidable wetland impacts from development. Each bank has a service area in which it may sell credits, subject to approval of each removal-fill permit. State and federal regulatory agencies oversee bank plans and release credits to the banker only after the bank meets performance measures. The banker is responsible for the mitigation obligation for all credits sold. 
 
Contact Dana Field for more information.
 
In-Lieu Fee Programs operate similarly to mitigation banks in that credits are sold within an approved service area to offset unavoidable impacts from development. They are different from a mitigation bank because credits may be sold in advance of the wetland restoration project. The program sponsor has a certain time period after selling credits to complete an approved wetland restoration project. State and federal regulatory agencies oversee the program. To determine if in-lieu fee credits are available, contact the sponsor(s) whose service areas overlap with your project location. Currently, DSL has an approved in-lieu fee program from which applicants in certain areas of the state may purchase credits to satisfy state and federal mitigation requirements.
 
Contact Dana Hicks for more information.
 
The Payment-In-Lieu of Mitigation Program is a state program for small-impact projects where no bank credits are available and the developer cannot find a suitable mitigation site. The developer pays into the DSL-administered mitigation revolving fund an amount equal to the statewide average price of mitigation bank credits. Money paid into this fund is used to restore, create and enhance wetlands through a grant program. Currently, the Corps of Engineers does not recognize payment-in-lieu of mitigation, so this option is not available if your project is subject to both state and federal permits.
 
Contact Dana Hicks for more information.
 
Purchase Mitigation Credits
 

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