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Posted 9/14/2016

Release no. 2016-079


Contact
Tim Dugan
978-318-8264
cenae-pa@usace.army.mil

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District has revised its compensatory mitigation guidance for use in reviewing all mitigation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources required by Corps of Engineers permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

 

The Corps District has periodically revised and updated its compensatory mitigation guidance, most recently on July 20, 2010. These revisions are generally for a variety of reasons, including incorporating new national guidance and directives, improved methodologies, and updated technical information. A combination of these has prompted this current revision.

 

Both the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a national goal of no overall net loss of wetland functions. This goal is achieved through mitigation of aquatic resource impacts. Mitigation includes a sequence of avoidance, minimization, and finally compensation. These revisions do not alter that sequencing in any way; however, the terms “mitigation” and “compensation” here are used interchangeably to refer to compensatory mitigation.

 

The draft revision was placed on public notice on March 3, 2015. Comments received during the public notice period have been reviewed and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final guidance which can be found at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation.aspx. No major revisions were made based on the submitted comments. There were some wording changes to improve clarity.

 

There are several notable changes in the revised guidance. It has been restructured so the overall compensatory mitigation guidance is the primary portion of the document and resource-specific modules, including associated mitigation plan checklist and checklist directions for each, are included in their own appendix. The resource modules for vernal pools and streams have been improved and extended. Detailed methods for calculating appropriate compensatory mitigation for impacts to these resources are included. Some of the existing compensation recommendations have changed, including use of “multiplier” instead of “ratio,” removal of ranges of multipliers, better detailing of secondary impact mitigation, and increase in multiplier for wetland preservation. In addition, a number of smaller, mostly editorial changes have been made.

 

As this document is guidance and does not itself involve any work: 1) no environmental impact statement is required; 2) implementation will not affect any species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973; and 3) no cultural or historic resources considered eligible or potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places will be affected.

                                                           

The public notice and the revised compensatory mitigation guidance can be viewed on the Corps website at

www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.

 

Any questions regarding the District compensatory mitigation guidance should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ruth Ladd), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Ruth Ladd at 978-318-8818 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: ruth.m.ladd@usace.army.mil.