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Annual report for 2013 published on Massachusetts In-Lieu Fee program for coastal aquatic habitat, essential fish habitat

Published March 24, 2014

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District recently made available for review the “2013 Annual Report of the Massachusetts In-Lieu Fee Program,” dated February 2014. The program serves as an alternative form of compensation for impacts to coastal aquatic resources, that are also Essential Fish Habitat as defined by the National Marine Fisheries Service, and that are authorized by the Corps of Engineers’ New England District under the Massachusetts General Permit.

 

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 is contingent upon Corps of Engineers approval.  All In-Lieu Fee agreements in New England are available for review on the Corps’ website at

http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation.aspx.

 

In 2008, the Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) authorizing DMF as the program administrator for the Massachusetts In-Lieu Fee Program. This compensatory mitigation program addresses authorized impacts to aquatic resources and aquatic habitats of managed diadromous fish and marine finfish and shellfish species in Massachusetts’ waters, resulting from projects permitted under the Massachusetts General Permit (GP).

 

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries operates this program under the direction of a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from the Corps, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

 

The program was developed in consultation with the Steering Committee to provide an alternative to permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation under the Massachusetts General Permit in order to achieve the goal of “no net loss” to aquatic habitat area, functions and values.

 

Program participants provide fee payments in-lieu of on-site mitigation to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Marine Mammals and Fisheries Research and Conservation Trust. This is an expendable trust account established by the Commonwealth and administered by DMF.

Effective June 9, 2013, the MOU between the Corps and DMF establishing the MA ILF program expired. This annual report represents the final record of in-lieu fees collected under the MOU. DMF continues to administer the ILF funds deposited into the Trust and will provide programmatic updates to the Corps through annual reports documenting progress of projects funded through the program. The Department of Fish and
Game
is currently in the process of seeking the Corps approval to become the program sponsor of an expanded statewide ILF program.

 

The public notice with the 2013 annual report can be viewed on the Corps website at    

http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices.aspx

For additional information on this program (File # NAE-2007-2926) contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ruth Ladd), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to: ruth.m.ladd@usace.army.mil or by phone to 978-318-8818.

 


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

Release no. 2014-030