Does the use of wetland mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to wetland resources always result in no net loss? The initial consensus is, generally, yes.
Getting Section 404 permit approval from US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a process that can take up to 3 years. A process that requires federal and state interagency coordination to review hundreds of pages of permit applications that are opened for public comment, all while running on lousy coffee. Now, imagine the process with 20 percent less staff.
I have a bit of an odd job description. I am a consultant in the mitigation banking industry. I represent sponsors, permittees, and landowners, and I not only oversee mitigation banks cradle to grave, but also engage in permittee responsible mitigation (PRM) as well.
All this is to say, my cousins are thoroughly glassy-eyed and confused when I tell them what I do for a living at Christmas. The reality is most of the public at large is uninformed about the Clean Water Act, what it does, and what it doesn’t do. We hear politicians and lobbyists talk about how we have to repeal it, reinforce it, or redefine it, and yet Vegas odds are they don’t really understand what it is they are proposing to do.
The mitigation market as it exists today has its good qualities, but there are some drawbacks too. I’d like to propose some ideas and open a dialog about ways we can try to improve our industry.
Main Similarities and Differences that Impact Congress’s Decision on the Water Resources Development Act
Have you heard about the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016? Not to be confused with the WRDA of 1974 or WRDA of 1992 – those are just three of 11 WRDAs. All WRDAs are related to water resources needs, but the actual applications are varied among environmental, structural, navigational, flood protection, hydrology, and other needs. The WRDA is revisited approximately every two years and does not designate new money for spending, but authorizes projects for which lawmakers can make spending appropriations in the future.Continue Reading →