SUBJECT: Information: Wetlands Mitigation Action Plan and Corps RGL
FROM: James Shrouds, Director, Office of Natural Environment
TO: Attention of Environmental Staff
DATE: January 13, 2003
The purpose of this message is to provide information and guidance on the recently issued National Wetlands Mitigation Action Plan and revised Regulatory Guidance Letter (RGL) from the Corps of Engineers on compensatory mitigation.
On December 24th, the U.S. DOT, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Departments of the Army, Commerce, Interior, and Agriculture agreed to a plan that should improve the federal government's performance concerning wetland compensatory mitigation. The plan will further the Federal government's pursuit of the no-net-loss of wetlands goal through a series of interagency actions. The actions include the Corps of Engineers reissuing a RGL on wetland compensatory mitigation and the FHWA working with the Corps and EPA to develop guidance on the TEA-21 preference for wetland banking. Other items in the Plan include the development of guidance on vegetated buffer zones and wetland preservation as mitigation. The Corps issued the new RGL concurrently with the interagency Action Plan on the 24th. Some of these actions have the potential to significantly redefine compensatory mitigation for impacts to wetlands. Mitigation under the Corps' regulatory program in the future is likely to be based more on the replacement of wetland functions and values than on acreage, as is now the case. There will also be a move toward more watershed-based wetland assessment and wetland mitigation planning.
We have attached a brief summary discussion covering both the Action Plan and the RGL. The Action Plan and RGL documents are also attached. These documents are also available for downloading at: http://www.usace.army.mil/CECW/Documents/cecwo/reg/rgls/RGL2-02.pdf
Questions and feedback should be directed to Mike Ruth (Mike.Ruth@dot.gov, 202-366-9509).