On October 2, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District announced its adoption of the new Stream Mitigation Method (SMM). The method aims to increase in-kind mitigation for impacts to stream resources by giving preference to stream mitigation credits generated through in-stream improvements.

Only recently has the science of true in-stream restoration been introduced to the Fort Worth District, which, in the district’s opinion, has led to a need for changes in their mitigation method. The SMM gives precedence to stream credits generated through in-stream restoration and mandates at least 50 percent of a permittee’s stream mitigation responsibility is met through in-stream credits, if available.  These credits are currently limited in number. The method provides other alternatives such as riparian buffer credits, legacy stream credits, and permittee responsible mitigation, which is the least preferred option.

Below are the three types of stream mitigation credits the district recognizes:

  • In-Stream Credits – Stream credits resulting from in-stream restoration, such as reconstructing a channelized stream. These credits are currently very limited in availability.
  • Riparian Buffer Credits – Stream credits resulting from improving the riparian buffer of a stream, such as planting desirable trees within the stream buffer. The majority of the stream credits within the district were generated in this fashion.
  • Stream (Legacy) Credits – Stream credits resulting from the conversion of wetland mitigation credits. This is the method used by the older mitigation banks in the district.

But what does all of this mean to you? The short answer is more money on stream mitigation. The cost of in-stream restoration can be very high because it involves a significant amount of complex design and construction. The result is more costly stream credits, which already range from roughly $200 to $500 per credit. If you are in need of stream credits, contact RS&H. We can help you and work with mitigation bankers to negotiate an acceptable alternative and get you back to developing our essential energy resources.

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About the author

Kate Lindekugel
Kate Lindekugel
As an environmental scientist, Kate has more than 13 years of experience including ecological surveys and field studies, functional assessments, preparing environmental reports and permits, data management, stream channel and wetland restoration, peer reviewed research, and coordinating with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies, as well as public and private stakeholders.