Mitigation banks offer a solution to developers when impacts to streams, wetlands, and other “waters of the United States” are unavoidable. As part of the permitting process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), compensatory mitigation is often required to offset project impacts. As required by the 2008 Mitigation Rule “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources”, the preference is the purchase of credits from an approved mitigation bank.
Mitigation banks have been present in the Fort Worth District for years. The older banks, or “legacy banks”, offered credits based on area of wetland impact or length of stream impact, with quality designations (and resulting multipliers) such as “low, medium, or high quality”. Impacts to streams were typically offset by development of wetlands within the legacy banks. Over the last few years, however, mitigation banking in the Fort Worth District has changed. In newer mitigation banks, the number of credits needed to offset impacts to streams, wetlands, or open waters is based on a conditional assessment of the waters to be impacted using the Texas Rapid Assessment Model (TXRAM).
The requirements for offsetting impacts to streams changed further on October 2, 2013, when the Corps issued the Fort Worth District Stream Mitigation Method, or SMM (Public Notice CESWF-13-MIT-1). This method is commonly known as the 50/50 Rule. The 50/50 Rule requires that at least 50% of the credits used to offset impacts to streams be “in-channel” stream credits. The remainder can be riparian buffer credits or other types of stream credits, including stream credits from “legacy” banks. The SMM can be found here.
The RKMB site was selected for its opportunity to restore and enhance degraded ephemeral, intermittent and perennial streams; wetlands; and riparian corridors. At completion, RKMB will include over 29,800 feet of restored or enhanced ephemeral stream, 21,300 feet of restored or enhanced intermittent stream, 2,900 feet of enhanced perennial stream, 26 acres of restored emergent wetlands, and 63 acres of restored forested wetlands. Riparian buffer credits will also be available, meaning that most categories of project impacts can be mitigated at the RKMB.
Pursuant to the SMM, the stream buffer credits can be sold in the same manner as the stream credits offered by legacy banks. Accordingly, RKMB can satisfy all of your credit needs under the SMM (50/50) Rule. For more information, please contact us online.