Tidal Wetland Mitigation Overview

Tidal wetland mitigation is the creation, restoration, or enhancement of tidal wetlands, to compensate for tidal wetlands that were or will be lost due to regulated activities. Mitigation is required to compensate for authorized activities which will cause unavoidable losses of tidal wetlands. If an applicant demonstrates that alteration of tidal wetlands cannot be avoided, the Department shall: 1) recommend that the Board of Public Works require mitigation as a condition of a State tidal wetlands license; or 2) require mitigation as a condition of a private tidal wetlands permit.

Tidal mitigation shall be considered in the following order of preference:

    (a) Restoration;
    (b) In-kind creation;
    (c) Out-of-kind creation;
    (d) Enhancement of existing tidal wetlands;
    (e) Monetary compensation to the Tidal Wetlands Compensation Fund*

* The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined that the Tidal Wetlands Compensation Fund does not meet the requirements of the 2008 Federal Mitigation Rule. For this reason, the Corps will not allow the use of this fund to satisfy federal compensatory mitigation requirements.

What is the procedure for the loss of tidal wetlands due to regulated activities?

A mitigation concept plan should be provided as part of the Joint Federal/State Application. A detailed mitigation plan should be submitted to and approved by the Department prior to authorization. A licensee or permittee shall implement the mitigation plan prior to or concurrent with the construction of the impact project, unless otherwise directed by the Department. A bond or other type of financial assurance shall be recommended as a condition of the license or required as a permit condition. The licensee or permittee shall submit annual monitoring reports for five years from the completion of construction of the mitigation project, to demonstrate that the mitigation project is meeting performance standards, unless otherwise directed by the Department.

What are the acreage requirements for tidal mitigation?

Acreage replacement ratios are used to determine the amount of mitigation required. Before any tidal wetlands have been impacted by a project, the amount of each type of wetland to be lost (open water, emergent, scrub-shrub, or forested) must be determined. Acreage replacement ratios are expressed as a relationship between two numbers. The first number specifies the acreage to be mitigated and the second number specifies the acreage of tidal wetlands impacted. The acreage replacement ratios are as follows:

 

WETLAND TYPE REPLACEMENT RATIO FOR PERMANENT IMPACTS**
Open water tidal wetlands 1:1
Emergent tidal wetlands 2:1
Scrub-shrub tidal wetlands 2:1
Forested tidal wetlands 2:1
Tidal wetlands habitat for rare, threatened, or endangered species, or species in need of conservation 3:1

**Out-of-kind creation and enhancement ratios are increased by a factor of 2.

For more information, please contact Kelly Neff at 410-537-4018 or kelly.neff@maryland.gov.


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