U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final 4(d) rule and updates to critical habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) final 4(d) rule, which identifies Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the northern long-eared bat, went into effect on February 16, 2016. The northern long-eared bat has been protected as a threatened species under the ESA since April 2015 and this rule identifies prohibited activities in an effort to protect the bat’s sensitive life stages in areas affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS).

On April 25, 2016, the FWS announced that a determination was made that a critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the ESA was not prudent. When this species was listed as threatened under the ESA in 2015, it was determined that a critical habitat was practical, but not determinable. With additional information and a more in-depth analysis, that determination was re-evaluated and found that designating critical habitat would not benefit the species. To read the full press release, click here.

For more information about the northern long-eared bat and the determination on critical habitat, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nleb.  For more information about white-nose syndrome visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

6th annual Ohio Surface Water Conference announced

Stream + Wetlands Foundation, CLE International, Davey Resource Group and Roetzel & Andress are pleased to announce the 6th annual Ohio Surface Water Conference is scheduled for September 13 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Experts from the Ohio EPA will be on hand to answer questions and provide the latest news on the Storm Water and 401 Water quality programs. In addition, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service be on hand to discuss updates to critical regulatory developments. Participants will also learn about Miami Conservancy District’s innovative water quality credit trading program.

A networking luncheon will include a presentation by Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler. For more information, click here  or email Vince Messerly at vmesserly@streamandwetlands.org.



2016 National Wetland Plant List released

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with other federal agencies announced on May 9, 2016 the release of the updated National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). This national list of wetland plants by species and their wetland ratings provides general botanical information about wetland plants and is used extensively by federal and state agencies, the scientific and academic communities and the private sector in wetland delineations and the planning and monitoring of wetland mitigation and restoration sites. The list is available at http://wetland_plants.usace.army.mil.

In the early 1980s, the four primary federal agencies with responsibilities for wetlands – USACE, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service – realized the importance of utilizing plants and soils as indicators for wetland delineation purposes. The agencies agreed to assemble panels of wetland ecologists and botanists to review and revise a national wetland plant list for the U.S. and U.S. territories.

Administration of the NWPL was transferred from FWS to USACE in 2006. Starting in 2008, USACE launched a web-based interagency process and created a website to update the 1988 plant list. Scientific names and ratings for wetland plants were updated through the website.

The 2016 NWPL should be used in any wetland delineations or determinations performed after May 1, 2016. According to USACE, wetland delineations received prior to this date may still use the 2014 NWPL or may choose to use the 2016 list.

Stream + Wetlands Foundation receives approval of second ILF stream mitigation program

We are pleased to announce that on April 22, the Huntington Corps District approved the Final Instrument for our stream mitigation in-lieu fee (ILF) program, which encompasses nine of the 8-digit HUC’s located in the Ohio portion of the Huntington Corps District.


Click on the above image to view the interactive map.

“The district engineer has completed authorization of our in-lieu fee program for stream mitigation in the Huntington District and we are eager to start working with our partners to identify and develop high quality stream mitigation sites in these watersheds,” said Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) President Vince Messerly. “This approval allows us to provide a cost-effective compensatory stream mitigation alternative to permit applicants in this part of Ohio.” Cost for the stream mitigation credits will be $230 per linear foot.

In the summer of 2014, S+W received authorization from both the Huntington and Pittsburgh Corps Districts to sponsor wetland ILF programs. In July 2015, S+W received authorization to sponsor an ILF program for impacts to streams and wetlands in the Ohio portion of the Pittsburgh Corps District. To date, these programs have served more than 100 permit applicants.

ILF programs help streamline the permit review and approval process for permit applicants and regulatory agencies. “Once a permit applicant completes acquisition of credits from the ILF program, their responsibility for providing compensatory mitigation is complete – they are not responsible for monitoring, maintenance, or remedial work for the mitigation project,” said Messerly.

At S+W, we are proud to be the first approved entity in Ohio to operate an ILF program since the 2008 federal rule was issued. Contact us to see how our ILF can benefit your organization.