CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing compensatory mitigation guidance revisions for impacts to aquatic resources associated with Department of Army permits in New England. Both the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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. This proposal does not alter that sequencing in any way; however, the terms “mitigation” and “compensation” are used interchangeably to refer to compensatory mitigation.
The Corps in New England 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. Public comments on this proposal should be submitted no later than May 4, 2015 to the Corps’ New England District.
There are several notable changes in the proposed guidance. It has been restructured so the overall compensatory mitigation guidance is the primary portion of the document and the mitigation plan checklist and checklist directions for each resource-specific modules 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 ratios are proposed for change, particularly where only a range of ratios had been present. In addition, a number of smaller, mostly editorial changes have been made.
Preliminary review of the proposed compensatory mitigation guidance 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; 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 Corps public notice, with more detailed information, is available for review at:
http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. Public comments on this proposal should be submitted by May 4, 2015 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ruth Ladd), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. For details contact Ruth Ladd at 978-318-8818 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (in Massachusetts) or by email to email@example.com.
Release no. 2015-020