Mitigation Approaches to Fund Stream Restoration Projects

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J. George Athanasakes, P.E.

Publication Date:

Stream restoration continues to grow in popularity throughout North America. The practice of stream restoration has really taken off since the 1990’s particularly in the eastern United States and has been significantly funded through the mitigation process, which typically involves onsite mitigation or off-site mitigation as required by Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act. In the case of off-site mitigation, this is normally accomplished through the use of mitigation banks or in-lieu fees (ILF). There are advantages/disadvantages to each approach to mitigation, however the overwhelming advantage of each type of mitigation approach is that it creates a funding stream to pay for the restoration of stream impairments, which could be potentially replicated by other countries to help fund restoration projects. The author has been personally involved in on-site mitigation projects as well as off-site mitigation projects through mitigation banks and ILF programs. On-site mitigation can often be advantageous because it results in restoration of a stream that is directly being impacted. Offsite mitigation through mitigation banks and ILF programs also have advantages because they provide a means to pool mitigation dollars together so that larger more comprehensive stream restoration can be completed on a larger watershed scale. There are times when each form of mitigation represents the most viable alternative to accomplish restoration goals. The key is to develop and structure a mitigation program where each form of mitigation can be used as an option when appropriate. This talk will focus on the various forms of mitigation practices and will provide case studies of on-site, mitigation banks and ILF mitigation projects. The talk will focus on mitigation drivers, different approaches to accomplish mitigation goals, and advantages/disadvantages of the various forms of mitigation to achieve restoration goals.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program