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Wetlands and Aquatic Resources
Wetlands are delicate natural resources that serve many functions. Not only do they provide habitat for aquatic species, but they also improve water quality and manage floodwaters. The FHWA offers the following resources for minimizing and mitigating the impacts from transportation projects on wetlands:
River Corridor and Wetland Restoration-Clean Water Action Plan - This action plan presents key actions designed to halt wetlands loss and regain lost wetlands. Numerous regulatory, financial incentive, and voluntary programs exist to protect and improve wetlands and this action plan suggests measures needed to attain the set goal of reclaiming 100,000 acres of wetlands each year.
Results of the FHWA Domestic Scan of Successful Wetland Mitigation Programs - Managing and mitigating wetlands impacts due to highway projects is a significant issue for FHWA and State DOTs. To help find out what kind of issues were most problematic, and to identify successful solutions that were being used, the Office of Environment and Planning conducted an interagency scan of wetland mitigation and impact management practices in eight States. There was a strong focus on mitigation banking, including what issues and solutions have been associated with the development of successful, workable wetland mitigation banks. Where banks were not being used, successful on-site mitigation projects were examined.
Wetlands and Highways - A Natural Approach - This report highlights the concept of mitigation banking by providing case study examples of wetland protection and enhancement measures conducted on highway projects nationwide.
An Approach for Assessing Wetland Functions Using Hydrogeomorphic Classification, Reference Wetlands, and Functional Indices, Report number WRP-DE-9 - This document provides the procedural framework for applying the Hydrogeomorphic Wetland Functional Assessment methodology wetlands. It explains the basis and principals behind the HGM method, describes the HGM wetlands classification system, and gives examples of assessment.
The Federal Highway Administration as a Wetland Mitigation Bank User - This is a paper presented at the Department of Energy Wetlands Mitigation Banking Workshop in Washington, DC, in June, 1995. It explains FHWA regulations, policy and procedures relative to the eligibility of wetland mitigation banks for federal aid highway funds. It also explains the construction programs of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act under which wetlands planning and mitigation qualify as eligible for Federal funding.
A Guidebook for Application of Hydrogeomorphic Assessments to Riverine Wetlands, Report number WRP-DE-11 - This document provides the basic outline and guidance for regionalization of functional assessment models applicable to riverine wetlands under the HGM functional assessment methodology. It explains the basis and principals behind the HGM method, describes the riverine wetlands classes, and gives general functional models for different wetlands functions which riverine wetlands perform which should be evaluated under the 404 permit program.
Results of Wetlands Mitigation Associated with Highway Projects - This research paper was presented at the Corps of Engineers Wetlands Symposium held in New Orleans, La, April 1995. It analyzes data on wetland mitigation projects carried out for highway projects, collected as part of a FHWA Research Project, Evaluation of Wetland Mitigation Measures, FHWA-RD-90-083, dated May 1992. The paper evaluates the results of mitigation projects on a no-net-loss basis, considering ecological and socioeconomic functions and values ascribed to wetlands, through two functional assessment techniques, WET and the Hollands-Magee methodologies. Most projects did not meet no-net-loss criteria when functional equivalency was considered, although they may have resulted in equal area of wetland being created or established. Some projects resulted in the conversion of one wetland type to another, resulting in a net loss of wetland area. Others resulted in a net gain of wetland area, with a replacement of one type of wetland for another (out-of-kind mitigation). Most decisions regarding selection of a mitigation alternative appear to have been based on the availability of an acceptable mitigation site, local wetland management priorities and objectives, or cost.
Questions and feedback should be directed to Marlys Osterhues (firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-366-2052).