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Advance Wetland Mitigation Needs in South Carolina | April 6-7, 2016

Summary

photo of the Advanced Wetland Mitigation Needs in South Carolina presentation

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted an Implementing Eco-Logical workshop with South Carolina DOT (SCDOT) in Charleston, South Carolina on April 6th and 7th, 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to prepare an action plan to establish an advanced wetland mitigation program in the State.

The main purpose of the workshop was to assist SCDOT in preparing an action plan to establish an advanced wetland mitigation program. Participants reviewed the current status of the mitigation program in South Carolina, data resource needs, and drafted steps required for an SCDOT advance mitigation program. Invited speakers (Peer Agency Panel) shared information about their mitigation programs and provided suggestions to SCDOT. In addition, workshop attendees participated in action planning sessions to develop a working draft of SCDOT’s approach.

Workshop Facilitators and Presenters:

Kate Kurgan, AASHTO
Mike Ruth, FHWA
David Williams, FHWA
Brian Yanchik, FHWA
Emily Lawton, FHWA, SC Division
Heather Robbins, SCDOT
Sean Connolly, SCDOT
Tucker Creed, SCDOT
Mike Hodgson, UofSC
Bob Perry, SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Sandy Hertz, MD SHA
Kelly Neff, MD Department of the Environment (MDE)
Tim Baumgartner, NC DMS
Dana Gentry, USACE
Frances White, SCFC

Presentation: Setting the Stage: Eco-Logical and the SCDOT Advance Mitigation Context

Implementing Eco-logical Steps Slide

FHWA provided a summary presentation on the Eco-Logical approach and its benefits for developing infrastructure projects was presented.

The cornerstone of the Eco-Logical approach is to develop an REF to determine goals. Developing an REF involves collecting data, putting it on a map, and overlaying priorities. When there are a finite set of funding/resources, the questions are: how do we maximize benefits, what do we need to avoid, and how do we minimize impacts?

A presentation PDF file is available upon request.
Please contact David Williams.

Presentation: SCDOT Mitigation Approaches and Applications

SCDOT Problem Statement Slide

This presentation provided detail to help workshop participants assist South Carolina prepare an action plan to establish an advance wetland mitigation program. The content described the anticipated problems SCDOT is currently facing regarding their lack of available wetland mitigation banks, limited credit availability within approved banks, and permittee-responsible mitigation being non-economical.

Historically, SCDOT has addressed mitigation on a project-by-project basis, but would now like to focus on the Eco-Logical approach as it is the best approach for the environment.

A presentation PDF file is available upon request.
Please contact David Williams.

SCDOT Volume of Projects Slide SCDOT Projects with Possible Impacts Slide

Presentation: Wetland Impact Tool for Forecasting Mitigation

Wetlands Impact Tool Slide

UofSC presented a summary of the wetlands impact tool developed to forecast mitigation needs. The tool was developed to estimate project roadway impacts and forecast wetland and stream impacts by HUC8s and Ecoregions. Validation of the tool by a field evaluation was also conducted and presented.

The tool is available both for download on a desktop and online, and most information is publicly available.

A presentation PDF file is available upon request.
Please contact David Williams.

Presentations: Peer Agency Panel from Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina

Maryland Watershed Slide South Carolina Landscape Slide

Maryland’s Wetland Mitigation Program and the Watershed Resources Registry – A presentation on Maryland’s Wetland Mitigation Program and Watershed Resources Registry (WRR). In addition, a demonstration of the WRR web application, an interactive geographic information system (GIS), was presented.

North Carolina’s Statewide In-Lieu Fee Program – This presentation outlines how wetland mitigation solutions evolved into the current In-Lieu Fee Program, i.e., how the in-lieu fee concept came about and was implemented.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Landscape-Scale Conservation Meets Mitigation in South Carolina – This presentation provided an overview of successful partnerships and landscape-scale habitat conservation as practiced in South Carolina for over 30 years. Examples of mitigation successes using landscape-scale, science-based, partnership methodology were presented. The presentation also demonstrated how the South Carolina landscape-scale methodology relates to the Eco-Logical approach.

Presentation PDF files are available upon request.
Please contact David Williams.

North Carolina In-Lieu Slide

Facilitated Breakout Session 1: Advance Mitigation Program in South Carolina

SCDOT reviewed their program needs and opportunities, including new mitigation banks, costs and funding mechanisms, data sharing, collaboration, and communication.

Discussion: Participant Discussion on Workshop Activity

Participants were requested to share a response to the question: “What was your most important ‘take-away’ from our workshop yesterday?”

Responses included the willingness of the group to tackle the issues at hand; the importance of having a “one-stop-shop” for data; forecasting tools can be useful to help understand and address future mitigation needs; and collaboration early and often is necessary.

Presentation: South Carolina Forestry Commission Presentation on New Publications

South Carolina Forestry Commission Slide

Frances Waite provided an update from the South Carolina Forest Commission on new publications.

A presentation PDF file is available upon request.
Please contact David Williams.

Discussion: Components of Advanced Mitigation

SCDOT discussed components of an advance mitigation program model, including natural asset maps, building a habitat model, tools, cores and corridors, and grantee planning.

Action Planning: SCDOT Discussion on Data

SCDOT led an open discussion to acquire feedback on how the agency should move forward with data acquisition, use, and review. The questions below were discussed with the attendees.

  • What are we asking as we review this data?
  • Define existing data.
  • What are other data sources?
  • What is left to complete for USC forecast?
  • What other data that we don’t have is available to assist?
  • How should all this data be reviewed?
  • What agency(ies) is best suited to review all data?

Action Planning: SCDOT Discussion on Funding

SCDOT led an open discussion to acquire feedback on how the agency should move forward with program funding.

  • What is the funding mechanism?
  • Conduct a workshop specifically on funding.
  • Who should attend?
  • What are the goals?
  • What should we include on an agenda?

Action Planning: SCDOT Discussion on Advance Mitigation Meetings

SCDOT lead an open discussion to acquire feedback on how the agency should move to plan and coordinate advance mitigation meetings.

  • Who attends and what are their roles?
  • What is our meeting goal?
  • What topics do we need to address?
    • Data - collecting and analyzing data
    • Updates on planning/results of funding workshop
    • Status of existing bank use
    • Update on SCDOT program needs - projects and schedule
    • Review options for advance mitigation
  • Partnerships - How do we do this together? Agency commitment?

Discussion: Participant Discussion on Future Activities

Participants were requested to share a response to the question: “What are you going to do to help SCDOT work towards implementing their advance mitigation plan?”

Event presentation PDF files are available upon request. Please contact David Williams.

Need to request technical assistance for your Eco-Logical program? Please submit a request.

 

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