CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District (Corps), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (MaineDMR) signed the Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program In-Lieu Fee Instrument on Sept. 20, 2018. This Instrument provides an alternative form of compensatory mitigation to permit applicants who are required to compensate for their project’s impacts to endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine.
The program purposefully advances the improvement of aquatic resources in Maine that are or have the potential to be habitat for Atlantic salmon. It provides a form of compensatory mitigation for individuals and firms seeking a Corps permit for impacts to Atlantic salmon.
"This program is a great example of state and federal agencies partnering together to develop innovative solutions which not only protect and enhance our environmental resources but also streamline the permitting process," said Col. William Conde, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity, through this program, to advance our Atlantic salmon restoration efforts in areas with the greatest potential for recovery,” said Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources.
“This new program mirrors the highly successful Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP) sponsored by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. This In-Lieu Fee Program (ILFP) for wetland impacts has dramatically reduced the time necessary to receive a project permit and the resulting wetland compensation has far exceeded those mitigation projects built prior to the program’s formation. I expect to see the same results to Atlantic salmon critical habitat from this new program,” said Deane Van Dusen, Mitigation & Special Projects Manager at the Maine Department of Transportation.
The concept of an In-lieu Fee Program (ILFP) is to allow Corps permittees to compensate for their project’s unavoidable impacts, by making a monetary payment in-lieu of or in addition to doing the required mitigation themselves. Eligible projects are activities authorized under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
The in-lieu fee payments will be administered by MaineDMR. As the sponsor, MaineDMR, in turn, assumes legal responsibility for implementing the required compensatory mitigation, which it will accomplish by aggregating and expending the in-lieu funds received from Corps permittees or other federal agency permittees for mitigation projects.
By aggregating the fees from multiple permitted impacts, the program can use the fees to compensate project impacts in a strategic and efficient manner offering greater ecological benefits towards recovery of Atlantic salmon. This ability to aggregate funds will facilitate mitigation projects that better contribute to Atlantic salmon recovery goals.
“This program will improve our efforts to protect and restore salmon habitats throughout the critical habitat areas in the State of Maine,” said MaineDMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.
For more information on In Lieu Fee program in New England visit the website at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation/InLieuFeePrograms.aspx.