Concord, Mass. --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District seeks comments from the public regarding proposed modifications to the New England District Compensatory Mitigation Standard Operating Procedures Appendix O – Thresholds for losses of aquatic resources associated with Department of the Army permits in New England.
The District has periodically revised and updated its Compensatory Mitigation Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), most recently in 2022. One of the overall goals of the SOP is to ensure consistent compensatory mitigation practices across the New England states and align nationally. Appendix O – Thresholds was finalized in the SOP on Dec. 29, 2020. Since then, it has provided stakeholders and project managers guidance on implementing compensatory mitigation requirements. This modification to the SOP will establish minimum compensatory mitigation thresholds across aquatic resources for consistency in application by the District and for transparency to the regulated public.
The following changes are under review:
• Wetland adverse impacts greater than 5,000 square feet will require compensatory mitigation.
• Submerged Aquatic Vegetation adverse impacts in tidal waters greater than 25 square feet will require compensatory mitigation.
• Adverse impact is defined, and it is consistent with the national definition in the 2021 Nationwide Permits.
• When addressing adverse impacts to multiple aquatic resources, if compensatory mitigation is required for one aquatic resource, then compensatory mitigation will be required for adverse impacts to all aquatic resources.
The District will require compensatory mitigation for proposed adverse impacts exceeding these thresholds for all DA permits, including General Permit verifications.
USACE is soliciting comments from members of the public; federal, state and local agencies; American Indian Tribes; and other interested parties to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. The public notice with more detailed information is available for review on the District website at https://media.defense.gov/2023/Apr/21/2003204796/-1/- 1/1/2023041_MITIGATION%20SOP_PN_FINAL.PDF.
Public comments on these proposed modifications should be forwarded no later than May 25, 2023, to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Attn: Taylor Bell, Regulatory Division, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742 or by email to email@example.com.
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