The National Audubon Society, Inc., through its Connecticut program (Audubon Connecticut) is the sponsor of an In-Lieu Fee Program for aquatic resource compensatory mitigation required by Department of the Army authorizations. This program was established by the New England District, Corps of Engineers and Audubon Connecticut on August 21, 2013.
The Connecticut Wetland In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program has accrued sufficient funds that will be soon made available for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of wetland and watercourse resources and associated upland buffers in the State of Connecticut. A request for Letters of Interest for funding through this program can be found here.
Audubon Connecticut ILF receives its funds from applicants who have applied for permits under the Corps’ Regulatory process and agree to use the program for mitigation of impacts resulting from their approved work. After the applicant avoids and minimizes the impacts to the extent possible, the Corps may approve the use of the ILF by the applicant. The Corps then determines the number of credits the applicant will need to purchase. The fees for the ILF credits are paid by the permittee to Audubon Connecticut and tracked by service area (Connecticut River, Housatonic, Thames, South-central Coastal, Southeast Coastal, and Southwest Coastal).
The ILF program’s purpose and goals are to:
- provide an alternative to permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation that will effectively replace functions and values of aquatic resources lost through permitted impacts;
- substantially increase the extent and quality of restoration, enhancement, creation and preservation of natural resources over that which is typically achieved by permittee-responsible mitigation for activities that impact on wetlands, significant wildlife habitats and other waters within Connecticut;
- reduce the extent of cumulative adverse impacts to aquatic resources that are regulated by the Corps permit program; provide applicants for permits from the Corps greater flexibility in compensating for adverse impacts to protected natural resources; and
- achieve ecological success on a watershed basis by directing Audubon Connecticut ILF funds to natural resource types and functions that are appropriate to the geographic service area, and by integrating Audubon Connecticut ILF projects with other conservation activities whenever possible.
As sponsor, Audubon Connecticut administers a competitive grant funding program, soliciting proposals for wetland and waters restoration, enhancement, creation and/or preservation. These proposals are given to an advisory committee to be ranked using a scoring methodology. Ultimately, the proposals are presented with their funding requests to an Interagency Review Team, which recommends the finalists to the Corps for selection. Once the projects are chosen, Audubon Connecticut is responsible for funding, execution and long-term stewardship.