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Corps proposes revisions to compensatory mitigation for impacts to aquatic resources in New England

Published April 14, 2020

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing revisions to the district’s compensatory mitigation standard operating procedures for impacts to aquatic resources associated with Department of the Army permits in New England.


A public notice on May 28, 2019 led the Corps to revised and updated compensatory mitigation standard operating procedures. What was called “mitigation guidance” in the past is now referred to as “mitigation standard operating procedures.” 


As a result of comments received, thorough analyses of nationwide practices, and internal District meetings, changes have been made throughout the document that deviate from the May 28, 2019 guidance document. District officials believe that the changes that have been made are significant enough that an additional 30 day comment period is warranted. Public comments on the revisions can be submitted by May 14, 2020.


This notice concerns standard operating procedures for compensatory mitigation for impacts to aquatic resources associated with Department of the Army permits in New England. The terms “mitigation” and “compensation” are used here interchangeably to refer to compensatory mitigation. The District has periodically revised and updated its compensatory mitigation guidance, most recently in 2016.


There are several notable changes in the proposed standard operating procedures developed subsequent to the May 28, 2019 public notice. There are two new additions to the document, Examples, and Thresholds. The Examples are located in Appendix P and will be a living document to be updated with examples on how to apply the SOP in different scenarios.


Thresholds will be located in Appendix O and will discuss resource impact thresholds that when exceeded, may require mitigation. Significant changes have been made to Vernal Pool Matrices in Appendix C. Other Matrices in Appendix C have been updated as well, these changes include limits and qualifiers to upland buffer credit generation, and updates to table’s C2c, C5, C6, and C9.


Preliminary review of the proposed compensatory mitigation SOP revisions indicates that: 1) no environmental impact statement will be required; 2) implementation will not affect any species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205); 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, with more specifics on the proposed revisions, can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.



Public comments on the proposed revisions should be forwarded no later than May 14, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Taylor Bell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Taylor Bell at 978-318-8952 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: taylor.m.bell@usace.army.mil.



Tim Dugan

Release no. 20-026