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					      Contact: Kurt Stephenson                                                      Mitigation Planning Association:                                                                                           List of
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kurt Stephensonresearchers Shabman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Leonard
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Virginia Tech Deartment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Resources for the Future
    Dept of Ag and Applied Economics
                                              A Cooperative Approach to Stream Mitigation Requirements from Mining Activities


Background                                                                                                                                        Fed & State
The mining process can cause adverse impacts on                                                                                                     Agency
local streams. Mining companies are required to                                                                                                      Staff
offset those impacts by improving aquatic habitat or                                                                                 Local                                                             Possible Benefits/Advantages
stream conditions elsewhere. These stream                                                                                          Watershed                  NGOs
improvements are called compensatory mitigation.                                                                                  Associations                                                         • Enhanced timeliness and reduced permitting costs
Concerned is sometimes expressed that regulatory                                                                                                                                                       through 1) advanced mitigation planning; 2)
conditions placed on compensatory mitigation are               Mining Co. 1                                                                                                                            economies of scale in planning; 3) enhanced
unnecessarily costly or do not make sufficient                                                                                                     Advisory                                            coordination on site selection and access
ecological improvements in the streams.                                                                                                           Committee
                                                                                                                                                                                                       • Greater political support for greater compensatory
                                                                                                                                                                                                       stream mitigation options. Stream mitigation options
Project Objective                                           Mining Co. 2                                    Mitigation                                                                                 might include stream habitat improvement projects
                                                                                                                                                                                   Portfolio of        but also include efforts to improve water quality
                                                                                                            Planning                                                                                   (sediment stabilization, reduced nonpoint effluent
Identify different ways mining (primarily coal)                                                                                                                                  Watershed-based
companies could organize and work cooperatively to                                                         Association                                                            Compensatory
                                                                                                                                                                                                       discharge, etc)
meet compensatory stream mitigation requirements             Mining Co. 3                                                                                                          Mitigation          • Mitigation project costs lowered through greater
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in order to reduce                                                                                                                                 Plans            flexibility in mitigation project selection
costs to industry and improve or maintain mitigation
                                                                                                                                                                                                       •Better match of compensatory mitigation project
quality
                                                                                                                                                                                                       with identified watershed needs.
                                                            Landholding Co                                                                                                                             •Limited financial commitment/obligations from
Project Output                                                                                                                                                                                         companies to forming an planning association
                                                                                                                                                                                                       • Possible coordination benefit with other regulatory
Identify mitigation association designs with potential                                                                                                                                                 programs (SMCRA, TMDLs, etc)
“value added” to industry in order to facilitate further
development/implementation by industry. Of four             Mining Co. 1
                                                                                               A mitigation association is an independent organization created exclusively to coordinate and/or
different designs, industry and agency representatives
                                                                                               provide compensatory mitigation for a group of mining companies who are members. The
identified the “Mitigation Planning Association” as        Mining Co. 2
                                                                                  Mitigation
                                                                                  Planning     mitigation planning association would be responsible for producing a portfolio of acceptable
the most viable and potentially beneficial.                Mining Co. 3
                                                                                 Association                                                                                                           Challenges and Possible Drawbacks
                                                                                               watershed mitigation project plans. The compensatory stream mitigation plans in the portfolio
                                                                                               would identify possible projects that would improve and enhance aquatic ecosystem services in
                                                            Landholding
                                                                Co                                                                                                                                      • Benefits contingent on plans being “certified” by
                                                                                               watersheds impacted by mining activities.
Method                                                                                                                                                                                                  regulatory agencies as acceptable compensatory
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mitigation.
                                                                              Fed & State
This effort used a process to jointly develop and                               Agency         In developing a set of watershed-based mitigation plans, the mitigation planning association would       • Insufficient regulatory flexibility on range and
                                                                                 Staff
assess different mitigation association designs with              Local                        need to work closely with state/fed state permitting agency staff, local watershed groups, and other     type of permissible mitigation
                                                                Watershed
                                                                                       NGOs
industry representatives, state and federal regulatory         Associations                    NGOs. To serve the needs of the industry and improve mitigation effectiveness, the association
officials, and nongovernmental organizations. This                                             would need feedback on watershed needs, preferences of local citizens, as well as agreement on           • Insufficient demand for mitigation services within
                                                                               Advisory
process included:                                                             Committee        acceptable forms of compensatory mitigation from permitting agencies.                                    the area
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Limited history of cooperative ventures between
  1. Gain participant buy-in                                                                                                                                                                            companies
                                                                                               A member company would select among a set tentatively approved compensatory mitigation
  2. identify existing needs and explore options
                                                                                               project plans. Once a plan is selected, the mining company (not the association) would be legally
  with small group of industry and agency
                                                                            Portfolio of       and financially responsible for completing the mitigation. The services provided by a mitigation
  collaborators                                                             Watershed-
                                                                              based            planning association to its members include:
  3. Develop mitigation association options paper                          Compensatory
  based on information collected in 2.                                      Mitigation
                                                                              Plans              Develop Portfolio of Mitigation Projects         Develop Mitigation Project Plans
  4. Circulate report and obtain feedback, direction,
                                                                                                 • Assess Permit Needs of Members                 • Project site, baseline conditions
  comments from a diverse group of interested                                                    • Identify mitigation areas (scope)              • Project design
  parties.                                                                                       • Assess Watershed Needs/plans; Assess           • Performance standards for project
  5. Refine and iterate steps 3 and 4.                                                             mitigation opportunities                       • Monitoring plans                                               This effort was sponsored by the
  6. Identify viable mitigation association alternative                                          • Work with agencies to identify acceptable      • Site protection plans
                                                                                                   mitigation project plans                       • Credit determination
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Powell River Project
  to by both industry and agencies                                                                                                                                                                                 (http://www.cses.vt.edu/PRP/)
                                                                                                                                                  • Post construction monitoring

				
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