Stream Banks – an Essential Tool to achieve No Net Loss

“Mitigation Banking” may be an difficult term but it’s proving to be an essential tool for improving and protecting wetlands, streams, and other aquatic resources impacted by development.  It will only grow in importance as America yearns for energy security, while continuing to embrace noble goals of “no net loss” of wetlands and “fishable and swimmable ” quality under the Clean Water Act. For starters, the word “mitigation” is confusing. It has a different meaning in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and aquatic resources context compared to mitigation under Clean Air Act and greenhouse gas programs, where it connotes reduction, even prevention of emissions. For CWA and aquatic impacts, it’s essentially about compensation – the actions permittees must take to pay for resulting “sins” of a project making its way through the regulatory process.This all underscores the most important principle for environmentalists and responsible regulators: “sequencing”. They may be willing to support compensatory mitigation if it’s the third and final step, the last resort, after step 1: practicable alternatives analysis and step 2: minimizing unavoidable impacts. Controversy surrounding the first step, when regulators challenge the purpose of a project and whether it really has to be in or near wetlands and other waters, creates a temptation to simply build first and ask forgiveness later. Regulators may also be tempted to skip or marginalize the second step, minimization, where permit applicants are expected to reduce environmental impacts by modifying project features, and go straight to mitigation. Environmentalists argue that deviations in sequencing, which put a priority on avoiding and minimizing harm, can lead to wheeling and dealing to enable unwise development.
Printed with permission of Ben Grumbles

Gilinski on Nutrients

John Preyer and our partner in Virginia, Brent Fults, of the Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust, visited Duke University and Blue Devil country last week to see well regarded state and national water quality regulator Ellen Gilinski speak on nutrient problems.  Ellen is formerly the Director of the Water Division at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and now Senior Policy Advisor at the EPA.  She did not disappoint and gave a fine summary of the challenges and opportunities in water quality and nutrient regulation.

Very good as well to see Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment place these visiting talks on the web.  Makes parking much easier.

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Bank: Open for Business

Our friends and partners at Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust and EarthSource Solutions, of Richmond, recently placed the advertisement below in the local trade newsletter for the American Society of Consulting Engineers. Nutrient off-set and compliance credits are now available at our Cranston’s Mill Pond Nutrient Reduction Bank. See here for some great background on the hard work behind establishing the water quality banking system in Virginia.

This ground-breaking facility is the 2nd of its kind in Virginia, the 4th in the nation, and the largest proposed or approved nutrient reduction bank in the bay which uses only the top technology and software like the ones related to the posts on the Salesforce site for it to run efficiently. Cranston’s Mill services HUC: 02080206 of the James River which includes Charles City, James City, Isle of Wright, Surry, Prince George, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, King William, New Kent, and York counties. It also includes City of Richmond, Williamsburg and Newport News.

Interested stormwater engineers or stormwater permitees in the James River Basin of Virginia should call Mr. Brent Fults or Mr. Scott Reed of CBNLT. CBNLT is the first Authorized Credit Broker in the bay and these gentleman would be happy to walk you through the benefits of purchasing off-site nutrient reduction for stormwater permits, examine your site plans for the suitability for off-site water quality improvement, and quote you a reserved price for the appropriate number of credits. Please give them a call today!

Nutrient Off-Set Ad – American Society of Consulting Engineers – Richmond Branch