Corps Announces New Wetland Mitigation Guidance
In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers handled over 86,000 permit requests nationwide pursuant to its permitting authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. During this time period, the Corps issued over 80,000 permits, which resulted in approximately 21,000 acres of waters and wetlands being filled or disturbed.
An important component of the permit application process with the Corps of Engineers is the development of compensatory wetland mitigation. Compensatory mitigation is defined as the restoration, enhancement, creation, or in the exceptional circumstances, preservation of wetlands and/or other aquatic resources for the purposes of compensating for unavoidable impacts.
Consistent with the federal government's "no net loss" policy for wetlands, the Corps ensures that the functions of the wetlands lost due to regulated activities are replaced with compensatory wetlands created by the permit holder.
On Oct. 12, the Philadelphia District of the Corps published its final Wetlands Mitigation and Monitoring Guidelines, which must be considered by applicants seeking permits from the Philadelphia District for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resource requiring a Corps permit. This article summarizes the guidelines and their applicability to projects in the Delaware Valley and beyond.