Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Projects
Mitigation of Wetlands
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, unavoidable wetland impacts must be mitigated.
"The objective of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters. Toward achievement of this goal, the CWA prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States unless a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers or approved State under CWA Section 404 authorizes such a discharge.
For every authorized discharge, the adverse impacts to wetlands, streams and other aquatic resources must be avoided and minimized to the extent practicable. For unavoidable impacts, compensatory mitigation is required to replace the loss of wetland and aquatic resource functions in the watershed. Compensatory mitigation refers to the restoration, establishment, enhancement, or in certain circumstances preservation of wetlands, streams, or other aquatic resources for the purpose of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts." USEPA Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Fact Sheet
Under the current federal Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Rule (April 2008), the preferred means of mitigating wetland losses permitted through the regulatory program is through a Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Bank.
A mitigation bank is a wetland, stream, or other aquatic resource area that has been restored, established, enhanced, or (in certain circumstances) preserved for the purpose of providing compensation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources permitted under Section 404 or a similar state or local wetland regulation. The value of a bank is defined in "compensatory mitigation credits." Mitigation banks are a form of "third-party" compensatory mitigation, in which the responsibility for compensatory mitigation implementation and success is assumed by a party other than the permittee. This transfer of liability has been a very attractive feature for wetland permit holders, who would otherwise be responsible for the design, construction, monitoring, ecological success, and long-term protection of the site.
Mitigation Bank of the Lake Superior Area
The City of Superior operates a compensatory Wetland Mitigation Bank in the Lake Superior portion of northern Douglas County.
Under the first SAMP program, nearly 125 acres of wetlands were restored, enhanced, and/or created near the Superior Municipal Forest and over 500 acres of high-quality wetlands in the Pokegama River area and Allouez Bay area were placed under a permanent conservancy to ensure their protection in perpetuity.
The City's SAMP II program is supported, in part, by the establishment of the City of Superior Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Bank--the first project "deposited" was a 125-acre project in Town of Parkland, just south of the city. This project includes 5 acres of deep marsh, 43 acres of forested floodplain enhancements, almost 20 acres of shallow marsh, over 30 acres of shrub carr, and over 12 acres of wet meadow. Additional areas of enhanced upland buffer and pre-existing, preserved wetlands are also included on the property. This site, located near the corner of Lyman Lake Road and County Road Z is great a hunting, research, and wildlife watching opportunity. Stay dry on the upper embankments or wade down to catch frogs and tadpoles already teeming throughout the site! Immediately south of the City’s site is an adjoining mitigation site established in the 1990s.
Contact the City’s Environmental Regulatory Coordinator for mitigation credit prices, availability, and opportunities to explore the mitigation site!