CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District recently made available for review the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Fish and Game, In-Lieu Fee Program, 2016 Annual Report,” dated March 1, 2017. The program serves as an alternative form of compensation for impacts to aquatic resources in Massachusetts that are authorized by the Corps’ New England District.
Compensatory mitigation occurs in circumstances where a permittee is required to compensate for the functions and values of aquatic resources lost as a result of the authorization after all efforts are made to avoid and minimize impacts. In-Lieu Fee is an option available to the permit applicant instead of completing permittee-responsible mitigation. Use of the In-Lieu Fee program (ILFP) is contingent upon Corps of Engineers approval. All In-Lieu Fee agreements in New England are available for review on the Corps’ website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation.aspx.
In 2014, the Corps of Engineers approved the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to be the sponsor of the state-wide program that would provide in-lieu fee compensatory mitigation associated with Corps permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899 and related federal rule at 33 CFR Part 332 (the federal mitigation rule).
The availability of DFG’s In-Lieu Fee program allows permittees, with the Corps’ approval, to make a monetary payment in compensation for project impacts to aquatic resources of the U.S. in Massachusetts, in-lieu of on-site mitigation. When these in-lieu fee payments are made to the ILFP, DFG assumes legal responsibility for implementing the required mitigation, which it does by aggregating and expending the in-lieu payments on mitigation projects.
DFG’s In-Lieu Fee program is being administered by its three divisions – the Division of Marine Fisheries, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Division of Ecological Restoration – and will implement mitigation projects that permanently protect aquatic resources and upland buffers and/or restore impacted aquatic resources within four service areas.
The public notice with the 2016 annual report can be viewed on the Corps website at
www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices.aspx. Public comments on this program (File # NAE-2007-2926) can be submitted until April 13, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Joshua Helms), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to: email@example.com or by phone to 978-318-8211.