The EPA and Department of the Army are moving forward proposing a new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), publishing an official rule in the Federal Register
The EPA and Department of the Army are moving forward proposing a new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), publishing an official rule in the Federal Register on Feb. 14. This is the second in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS.
On Feb. 27 and 28, the EPA and Army will be holding a public hearing on the proposed WOTUS rule at the Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City, Kansas. For more details about the public hearing, visit the EPA website.
Stream + Wetlands Foundation continues to monitor all activities surrounding the WOTUS rule development. We are hopeful a reasonable WOTUS definition can be achieved soon to help improve predictability for permit applicants and the regulatory agencies.
On Jan. 6, outdoor enthusiasts took advantage of the warm weather to observe a great horned owl at Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation is proud to have established Sandy Ridge Wetlands Mitigation Bank at this park site in 1997. The park opened to the public in 1999 and since that time, it has become very popular with the community as a great location to observe wildlife, including many bird species. Find out more about the recent owl sightings at Sandy Ridge Reservation by reading this article in The Morning Journal.
On Friday, December 14, a new four-lane, divided highway around the City of Portsmouth, Ohio opened to drivers. This 16-mile stretch of highway connects U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg, West Virginia to U.S. 23 near Lucasville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation is proud to be part of this important project. S + W teamed with Wetlands Resource Center (WRC) and provided the compensatory mitigation for stream impacts associated with the project. In all, four mitigation sites in Scioto County were utilized to fulfill the stream mitigation needs. These sites permanently protected more than 900 acres which included protection, restoration and/or enhancement for more than 72,000 feet of streams.
Stream + Wetlands is a proud partner with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs which advances student research in watershed and wetlands programs. In addition to expanded research, our partnership enables the school to increase its academic support of the Master of Science in Environmental Studies and other programs with applied watershed and wetlands projects.
The Voinovich School is currently accepting applications for an Assistantship position to progress stream and wetlands research. The applicant must be a full-time, degree-seeking graduate student enrolled in or accepted for admission to an Ohio University graduate program appropriate to studying applied stream and wetland restoration science, education, or policy. For more detailed information about this assistantship position, download the flyer or go online at www.ohio.edu/environmentalstudies.
In conjunction with American Wetlands Month and the 2017 National Wetlands Awards ceremony, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) held a public seminar (and corresponding webinar), “The State of Compensatory Mitigation,” on May 18 in Washington, D.C. Stream + Wetlands President Vince Messerly was one of the panelists in the discussion about the future of the mitigation industry. From state in lieu fee programs to private and nonprofit mitigation banks, panelists discussed future prospects, challenges faced and what it means for wetlands protection. As a follow-up to the panel discussion, NAHBNow published a blog featuring Messerly’s views on the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, including how it may affect wetlands mitigation banks. Click here to read the blog.
The listing of the rusty patched bumble bee (RPBB) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became effective on March 21, 2017. With this ruling, the RPBB became the first bumblebee – and the first bee overall in the continental United States — to be listed under the ESA.
The RPBB was very common 20 years ago, however, by the early 2000s, the RPBB was decidedly less visible and over the past two decades, the RPBB has declined in nearly 90 percent of its range. The list of suspected causes for the disappearance includes farm pesticides, household herbicides, human development over bee habitat, disease and climate change.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is still developing a recovery plan to guide efforts to bring this species back to what they believe is a healthy condition, but an endangered designation triggers protections such as regulations against knowingly destroying the bumblebee’s habitat and habitat creation. It also raises awareness about the plight of the bumblebee and requires a detailed, long-term recovery plan to restore its population.
On January 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reissued more than 50 existing nationwide permits (NWP), necessary for work in streams, wetlands and other waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. These will replace existing 2012 permits which expire on March 18, 2017 with new permits taking effect on March 19.
The Corps updates and reauthorizes the NWPs every five years to ensure protection of the nation’s water resources. They are an important tool to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands, streams and other aquatic resources while providing a more streamlined and predictable permitting process.
The NWPs have been published in the Federal Registrar (Volume 82, No. 4) and posted to the USACE website. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) issued its draft of the new Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) of the new NWPs and solicited comments from the public. The OEPA intends to have the WQC for NWP’s in place prior to March 19. The draft 401 WQC and associated materials can be accessed here along with details on the public comment period. We recommend carefully reviewing the OEPA proposal because it establishes new requirements based on watersheds to determine whether certain NWP’s are available. In order to determine eligibility under the 401 WQC for the Nationwide Permits for stream impacts, applicants should use the Stream Eligibility Web Map.
There are few changes since NWPs were last modified in 2012. Below are few noteworthy highlights of the new NWPs:
• USACE reissued 50 existing permits and added two new ones.
• NWP 53 – This new NWP covers the removal of low-head dams. The removal of these dams will restore rivers and streams, and will improve public safety by removing dams that can pose hazards to swimmers and to users of small recreational craft.
• NWP 54 – This new NWP covers the construction and maintenance of living shorelines, a technique to protect coastal property from erosion while providing some aquatic habitat and water quality benefits.
Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) has mitigation bank and in-lieu fee program credits available to fulfill the compensatory mitigation needs. Additionally, S+W is available to assist you and your organization as you review the new requirements of the 2017 NWPs. Feel free to contact Vince Messerly to further discuss the language and ramifications of these new permits
The Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) received authorization in the last few years from the Huntington and Pittsburgh Corps Districts to sponsor In-Lieu Fee (ILF) programs for mitigation of impacts to wetlands and streams. To date, these programs have served more than 120 permit applicants. Our ILF program allows us to provide a cost-effective compensatory mitigation alternative to permit applicants in the watersheds that our program serves.
The S+W team has been busy working in the watersheds our ILF program serves to locate high quality mitigation sites and to obtain approval of selected sites through the Interagency Review Team approval process. Numerous sites will be needed to meet the needs of the program. So, we are eager to work with local and state agencies, consultants and other non-governmental partners to identify and develop high quality stream and wetland mitigation sites in these Ohio watersheds: Upper Scioto (05060001), Lower Scioto (05060002), Licking (05040006), Tuscarawas (05040001), Mahoning (05030103), Shenango (05030102), Upper Ohio (05030101) and Upper Ohio-Wheeling (05030106).
Our ILF stream and wetland credits are available in the watersheds listed below, priced at $45,000 per wetland credit and $230 per stream credit. Click here to view our new online interactive map depicting watersheds and project locations.
Pittsburgh Corps District
05030101 Upper Ohio
05030106 Upper Ohio-Wheeling
05030201 Little Muskingum-Middle Island (within Pittsburgh District)
Huntington Corps District
05040005 Wills Creek
05060001 Upper Scioto
05060002 Lower Scioto
S+W is seeking high quality mitigation sites that would allow for the restoration, enhancement and protection of streams and wetlands. The permanent protection of existing high quality aquatic resources and upland buffers may also be appropriate. The submittal of potential mitigation sites can be done any time. Submittal of prospective sites can be as simple as identifying willing landowners of high quality sites or as complex as a full delivery proposal. In the case of full delivery projects, the project would be completed entirely by the team making the submittal.
If you have sites that you would like to propose, please contact Aaron Van Ostran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navigating the permitting process in OhioENGINEER:
Serving Ohio’s professional engineers, the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is a very powerful voice for the industry and OhioENGINEER magazine is the official publication of the OSPE. We are pleased that Stream + Wetlands was featured on the cover of OhioENGINEER with Vince Messerly’s article “Navigating the Permitting Process for Impacts to Wetlands and Streams.” In this article, Messerly guides the reader through the often complex process of proposing and obtaining a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit for wetlands and stream impact mitigation. Click here to view the entire issue. Our article begins on page six.
Building Insider features “go-to” mitigation
For more than 70 years, the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio (BIA) has represented homebuilders, developers and remodelers throughout our region. The association’s magazine, Building Insider, is the only local publication providing an in-depth guide to the local homebuilding industry and provides news and information targeted to their members.
We are thrilled to be featured on the cover of the current issue of Building Insider. The article “Stream + Wetlands Foundation: The Go-To People for Mitigation,” provides an in-depth look at the Stream + Wetlands Foundation, our people and how our processes streamline the permit process for applicants and regulatory agencies. Click here to see the digital magazine. Our article begins on page four.
On Jan. 6, outdoor enthusiasts took advantage of the warm weather to observe a great horned owl at Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The Stream + Wetlands Foundation
On Friday, December 14, a new four-lane, divided highway around the City of Portsmouth, Ohio opened to drivers. This 16-mile stretch of highway connects U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg, West Virginia
Stream + Wetlands is a proud partner with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs which advances student research in watershed and wetlands programs. In addition to expanded
In conjunction with American Wetlands Month and the 2017 National Wetlands Awards ceremony, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) held a public seminar (and corresponding webinar), “The State of Compensatory Mitigation,”
The listing of the rusty patched bumble bee (RPBB) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became effective on March 21, 2017. With this ruling, the RPBB became the
On January 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reissued more than 50 existing nationwide permits (NWP), necessary for work in streams, wetlands and other waters of the United
The Stream + Wetlands Foundation (S+W) received authorization in the last few years from the Huntington and Pittsburgh Corps Districts to sponsor In-Lieu Fee (ILF) programs for mitigation of impacts
Navigating the permitting process in OhioENGINEER: Serving Ohio’s professional engineers, the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is a very powerful voice for the industry and OhioENGINEER magazine is the official