Mitigation That Works

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					    Mitigation That Works

February 27, 2008


• Follow-up from June 27,
  2007 GMAP
• Wetland Banking status
• Compliance Program
• Avoidance
• No Net Loss
• Other Activities under
  the Initiative

                            Mitigation that didn’t work

    Mitigation That Works

Two Major Goals
• 100% success rate for mitigation
• Improved predictability and                       Tools
  efficiency for permit applicants

What It Is
• Improving success of traditional     Mitigation
  mitigation                           Outcomes
• Promoting alternative mitigation                             Efficiencies
• Increasing protection for wetlands
  and shorelands through guidance
  and tools that help determine the
  best areas to protect, restore and
    Mitigation That Works

Objectives of the Initiative

• Ensure 100% of mitigation projects are
  assessed for compliance with permits.
• Establish Watershed Characterization
  as a standard approach for watershed-
  based mitigation.
• Establish and sustain a credible wetland
  banking program.
• Develop new watershed-based
  mitigation tools to improve
  environmental outcomes and increase
  permit predictability.
• Expand training, outreach and technical
  assistance for successful mitigation.

   Mitigation That Works

What we heard from the June 27, 2007 GMAP

• The Initiative needs to develop more concrete milestones
  to measure performance.
• We need to demonstrate what we are doing to establish
  wetland banking as a credible mitigation option.
• Are we being proactive in checking compliance with
  permits (for example, were sites built as designed)?
• Identify what the program does when projects don’t
  comply with permit conditions.
• Develop measures to track avoidance and no net loss.

       Establishing wetland banking as a credible mitigation option

A wetland mitigation bank is…
                                                                 Snohomish Basin Mitigation
•   A site where wetlands are restored,                          Bank – pre construction
    repaired, improved or protected, to
    provide compensation for wetland
    losses in advance of impacts.
•   A credit represents the functions
    provided by an acre of a high quality
    wetland system. The credit is
    described in terms of wetland type and
    functions provided by the site.
•   For example, at the Snohomish Basin
    Mitigation Bank a credit represents: an
    acre of Category II riverine flow-through
    (floodplain) wetland with forested,
    shrub, emergent and aquatic bed
    communities. Functions provided by
    the site include flood storage and
    attenuation, water quality
    improvements, nutrient cycling, and         Snohomish Basin Mitigation
    general wildlife habitat.                   Bank post construction

       Establishing wetland banking as a credible mitigation option

A credible wetland banking program         We are avoiding problems other states
  means:                                    have experienced by:
• The banks are ecologically successful    • Including detailed up-front review
  and sustainable.                         • Using inclusive review process
• We certify banks in a timely manner.     • Requiring financial assurances
• Bank sponsors understand the             • Tying credit releases to demonstrated
  requirements and sideboards.               ecological performance
• The public and local governments         • Continuing to emphasize avoidance
  support use of wetland banks for
  replacing wetland losses.
• Developers use bank credits for
  mitigation when appropriate.
• Credits from banks adequately offset
• Credits are kept in the bank until the
  wetland site is mature and meeting
  ecological functions.

                                                  North Fork Neuwaukum
                                                  Wetland Bank
           Banking program development

Performance Measures
Adopt Banking Rule by June 30, 2009
•        Drafting in process – about 30% written
Number of months to certify a new wetland bank
•        The target is to reduce the time from 24 months to 17 months
•        It’s too early to tell how we are doing on this measure.
•        We are tracking time worked on new projects to be able to begin reporting on timeliness in review
         and our processing time.

    Analysis and Action                                       Banking Advisory Group provided input on
    1.   Trainings to local governments on how to                several key areas:
         use banks in Snohomish and Skagit                    •     Review timeline for bank prospectus.
         counties                                             •     Engaging the Public and Local Government
    2.   Five new bank applications starting                  •     Guidance on using agricultural lands
                                                              •     Technical elements of banks
    3.   Use of banks is picking up
    4.   Expect recommendations for multi-resource
         banks from forum                                     The Mitigation inter-agency team developed:
    5.   Legislative interest to both limit and expand        •     General timelines for reviewing banks from
         banking in the state.                                      application submission to final decision.
                                                              •     Clarify clear process sequence.          7
Status of banking credits

                                                                             Credits Used


                            Bank Name     Potential     Credits       Credits
                                          Credits       Released      Used
                            North Fork    78.39         32.86         12.35
                            Springbrook   45.12         4.5           2.61
                            Moses Lake    5             3             1.35

                            Snohomish     163.1         42.66         1.37
                            Skykomish     113           9.24          1.34
                            Meadowcroft   7.31          6.04          .71
                            TOTAL         412.92        98.3          19.73      8
        Compliance program

Performance Measures
Review 75% of sites within 18 months of receiving As-built plans.
•    We reviewed 100% of projects where as-builts were received.
•    We were able to follow-up and request as-builts and perform site visits on additional sites.
Verify status of projects at 2 years: target 100%.
•    We followed up on 100% of permits from 2004 through early 2007 to determine their status.
Follow-up actions when a project is not meeting its requirements.
•    We send a follow-up letter after every site visit. Non compliant projects receive follow up phone calls,
     emails, and additional site visits if necessary.

18-Month Site Review               Year 5 Review                      Close out - Year 10
• Percent of sites meeting         • Percent of sites with            • Percent of sites with sufficient
  requirements                       sufficient water                   water
• Reasons for non-                 • Percent of sites with            • Percent of sites with healthy
  compliance                         healthy wetland vegetation         vegetation
• Follow-up actions                • Percent of sites meeting         • Percent of sites meeting wetland
     • Letter                        performance standards              area
     • Site review                                                    • Percent of sites ecologically

     Compliance results – Meeting permit conditions

                  Level of Compliance of Mitigation Sites
                             (As-Built Visits)
                                                                                              For these 29 projects
    # of Mitigation

                                     Ecology Visit               Corps Visit
                      12                                                                      54.14 acre impacts
                      10                         1
                       8                                                                      23.5 acre creation
                       6                                         11
                       4         1               9                                            42 acre restoration
                       2         4                                                        3
                                                                            2                 83.5 acre enhancement

                                                                                              35.4 acre preservation







                                                                                              Total mitigation 184.3 acres



                                             Level of Compliance

We’ve developed more specific measures to track performance of mitigation sites
                           • Presence of hydrology.
                           • Determining success of vegetation on site.
                           • Improving and standardizing 401 permit conditions.
                           • Working on incentives to encourage the use of watershed characterization.
    Compliance results - Status of projects

                                                  Project Status by Permit Year

                                                                                # unknown status

                # of Wetland Permit   50                                        # known status, not
                                                                                # known status,
                                      30                                        need to visit
                                      20                                        # visited

                                           2004     2005      2006   2007
                                                      Permit Year
• Compliance program is developed
  around the permits and approvals                                          Site visits: What we’ve accomplished
  Ecology reviews through the 401
  process:                                                                  •   42 site reviews
    2004 – 22                                                               •   30 as-built reviews
    2005 – 40                                                               •   4 follow-up and technical
    2006 – 38                                                                   assistance visits.
    2007 – 64
    164 total permits over 4-year period.
   Compliance with mitigation plan elements

What did we find during our compliance site visits?
• Plantings were the area with the greatest level of partial compliance, only
  35% of the sites were fully compliant with their planting standards.
• 60% of sites were fully compliant with grading based on visual inspection.
• 50% of sites were meeting their invasive species standards.

Challenges in Tracking Compliance
• The Aquatics database lacks flexibility to add new reporting parameters.
• Need to ensure that staff are permitting, tracking and reporting in a consistent manner.
    • Unless data are entered into database, and done so using the same basic
      reporting measures, it will always be difficult to track and measure success.

     Achieving Avoidance and Minimization

Our ability to achieve the avoidance of damaging wetlands occurs primarily
  through our guidance and training to local governments and developers:
• Our direct influence comes through 401/Administrative Order permitting
  role, State Environmental Policy Act review, and Shoreline Master Program
• Indirect influence through training, technical assistance, guidance and
  Critical Area Ordinance review

              Influences       Local
              Local Gov't      Government
              Through          Decisions       Ecology 401
              Critical Area
              Guidance &

       Where Ecology has the greatest influence on achieving avoidance

Education, technical assistance, and
•   The Joint Ecology, Corps & EPA guidance
    provides the latest scientific information
    for mitigation.
•   Incorporation of the guidance into Critical
    Area Ordinances provides the greatest
    opportunity for avoidance.
•   Watershed characterization provides a
    blueprint for avoidance by developing an
    environmental baseline to plan for wise
•   Ecology staff provide technical assistance
    to local governments to help identify and
    protect wetlands.
•   Enforcement.

       Achieving avoidance and minimization through guidance

The total number of jurisdictions
  required to adopt revised Critical                            Not Adopted
  Areas Ordinances is 320...                                    Adopted
Of the 320:
• 123 have adopted Critical Area                      123
  Ordinances (38%)
                                                               Adopted CAOs
Of the 123 jurisdictions that have adopted   120
  Critical Area Ordinances:
                                             100               Commented by
• 92 have been commented on by Ecology                         Ecology
  (75%)                                      80

• 99 have adopted Ecology’s wetland rating                     Adopted Rating
                                             60                System
  system (80%)
• 48 have adopted Ecology’s buffer                             Adopted Buffer
  recommendations (39%)                      20

• 67 have adopted Ecology’s Mitigation        0
                                                               Adopted Mitigation
  Guidance (54%)                                               Guidance
                                                   1st Qtr
Watershed Characterization work to date

                                          Successful mitigation
                                            depends on
                                          • The health of our
                                          • The best areas to
                                            protect and
                                            restore; and
                                          • The best areas to

                                           Characterization is
                                           a tool used to
                                           identity and
                                           prioritize areas to
                                           protect within a
                                           specific watershed.
     Regional examples of avoidance and minimization

NWRO (Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office)
•   Scriber Creek Village, Lynnwood (Slides 18 & 19)
•   Pilchuck Contractors, Marysville (Slides 20)
•   Qwuloolt Wetland Restoration Project (Slide 21)

SWRO (Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office)
•   Sierra Pacific Stud Mill (Slides 22 & 23)
•   Ocean Shores (Slide 24 & 25)

ERO     (Ecology’s Eastern Regional Office)
•   Terra Vista Development, Cheney (Slide 26)

NWRO: Scriber Creek Village

                              Scriber Creek
                              Category II wetland

                                              proposed elevated road,
                                              other impacts = 0.49

NWRO: Scriber Creek Village
Cumulative impacts to Scriber Creek Wetland have been significant

                     park & ride


  historic fill


                            parking lot                  subdivision

      NWRO: Pilchuck Contractors, Marysville

• 0.49 acres fill proposed in Cat III highly degraded, arsenic contaminated
wetland (for parking lot for existing industrial development)
• Impacts likely to be mitigated at Snohomish Wetland Mitigation Bank         20
      NWRO: Qwuloolt Wetland Restoration Project, Marysville

Setback levee for 350 acre
“Qwuloolt Wetland              Site
Restoration Project” will be
built on eastern edge of
parcel, separating it from

    SWRO: Sierra Pacific Stud Mill

Impacts to
predominantly low-
quality wetlands
within an existing
industrial area.

Original proposal
was for ~20 acres of
fill. Technical
assistance (over 2
years) reduced
impacts to ~3 acres.

SWRO: Sierra Pacific Stud Mill

                                               Proposed mitigation
                                               – 35 acres of
                                               intertidal restoration.

                       Impact Area ~3 acres    Sierra Pacific
                                               withdrew their
                                               application. No
                                               impacts, no

                   Mitigation Area ~35 acres

      SWRO: Ocean Shores

Forested, scrub/shrub
wetland protected through
technical assistance.

Project was redesigned to
avoid all impacts.

SWRO: Ocean Shores

                     Interdunal Wetland protected
                     through technical assistance.

                     Project was redesigned to
                     avoid all impacts.

        ERO: Terra Vista Development, Cheney

•   Steve Emtman proposal
•   Mix of Corps and Ecology
    wetlands                                            Wetland J
•   Isolated wetlands located on
    higher basalt outcroppings
•   Original plan called for removing
    all isolated, and mitigation in large
    low-lying depressional.
•   Pre-app re-platted 1 phase to
    avoid 2 higher-quality isolated
    (shown), remove artificial water
    features in buffer and wetland
•   Site landscaping altered to
    maintain natural upland character
    throughout site
•   Development will emphasize
    wetland features with signage and
    trails outside buffer.                  Wetland H               26
       “No Net Loss” of Wetlands: 20 years onward

•   “No net loss” goal transcends           • Gov. Gardner Executive Order EO 89-
    Mitigation That Works, but always         10 on No Net Loss (1989):
    comes up in our mitigation work.             Directs Ecology to provide guidance to
                                                 lessen loss of wetlands and their values
•   Ecology getting to 100% success on
    our mitigation would be nowhere near         Emphasizes mitigation sequencing
    no net loss statewide.                       Encourages state agencies to plan and
                                                 design sites on a watershed basis
•   Goal was first set out by President
    George W. Bush during 1988              • State Wetlands Integration Strategy
    presidential campaign; announced as       (1994): State should establish a
    an administration policy at EPA press     wetlands tracking protocol to monitor
    conference in January, 1989               wetlands gains and losses.
•   Environment 2010 (1990): Establish no   • Studies abound about failure to achieve
    net loss of wetlands, based on            – or measure – “no net loss”:
    acreage and function.
                                              "The goal of no-net-loss of wetlands is
                                              not being met for wetland functions by
                                              the mitigation program, despite
                                              progress in the last 20 years.”
                                              Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean
                                              Water Act (2001). National Research Council.
     No Net Loss: Why it’s Hard to Measure

What’s Wrong with Measuring                   Implications?
  Acreage?                                    •   Need to look beyond simple
•   Mapping wetlands – even if accurate           measurements of wetland acreage.
    – may not provide a true picture of no
                                              •   Avoiding impacts to functions may
    net loss, because saving acreage
                                                  mean allowing impacts to one
    may not maintain functions.
                                                  wetland and mitigating off site to a
•   Some wetlands may be more                     project that provides more function.
    important than others relative to their
                                              •   It is possible to have a decrease in
                                                  wetland acreage and an increase in
•   Mitigation focuses on avoiding and            overall function if effective off-site
    minimizing direct impacts to wetlands         mitigation priorities are developed.
    and not indirect impacts such as
                                              •   We need metrics to account for
    fragmentation, nearby disturbances,
                                                  indirect effects on wetlands and
    or changes in water source, amount
                                                  potentially metrics to measure
    or quality.
                                                  watershed function.
•   Even when mitigation successfully
    preserves or replaces wetland
    acreage, a loss of functions may
Challenges of measuring “No Net Loss”

  Other Efforts Underway…

• Mitigation that Works Stakeholder Forum
• Mitigation Survey
• King County In-lieu fee agreement


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