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Wetland Permitting in WA by Francis Naglich
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Wetland Permitting in WA by Francis Naglich

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Status of Wetland Permitting in Washington State: An Applicant's Perspective

Status of Wetland Permitting in Washington State: An Applicant's Perspective

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  • 1. Status of Wetland Permitting in Washington State: An Applicant’s Perspective Francis Naglich, Principal Ecological Land Services, Inc.
  • 2. Permitting in Washington State Background
    • Wetlands Regulatory Framework:
    • Federal – USACE and EPA
    • State – Department of Ecology
    • Local – County or City
    • Other – Shorelines, Hydraulic Permits, FEMA Floodplain
  • 3.  
  • 4. Permitting in Washington State Background
    • Status of the Science:
    • Wetland Categories I - IV
    • Best Available Science (BAS)
    • Wetland Buffers
    • Replacement Ratios
    • * Category and Land Use Intensity and Mitigation Approach = Ratio
    • * Washington functional Assessment Methodology
    • * Credit – Debit Method (Focus on Function)
  • 5. Permitting in Washington State Background
    • Mitigation Approaches
    • Sequencing – Avoidance, Minimization…
    • Applicant Sponsored: Concurrent – In-Kind
    • Third Party Provider: Mitigation Bank, In-lieu Fee
    • Consolidated Mitigation Site
    • Advanced Mitigation
    • Maintenance/Monitoring
    • Long Term Site Protection
  • 6. Challenges
  • 7. Challenges: Inconsistency Between Regulations and Agencies
    • Jurisdiction
    • Some Wetlands are “isolated” per Corps, but the process for determinations is unpredictable
    • EPA has veto/challenge authority on such calls
    • Department of Ecology and local agencies still have jurisdiction over isolated wetlands
  • 8. Challenges: Inconsistency Between Regulations and Agencies
    • Avoidance Criteria
      • Non water-dependant projects may require rigorous alternatives analysis to acquire Corps permit
      • Criteria more relaxed at local and state level
  • 9. Challenges: Inconsistency Between Regulations and Agencies
    • Buffer Widths
      • Example: Recent ELS project
        • City of Camas buffer requirements for a Category 2 wetland with low habitat function and proposed high-intensity land-use:
          • Original buffer width: 100 feet
          • Allowed reduction of buffer width to 56.25 feet
        • DOE / USACE buffer requirements for a Category 2 wetland with low habitat function and proposed high-intensity land-use:
          • Required a buffer of 100 feet
          • Allowed reduction of buffer width to 75 feet
  • 10. ESA & Cultural Resources
      • Issues must be resolved for any federal action
      • Example: Corps permit, FEMA project, or any project with federal funds attached
  • 11. Don’t Forget…
    • Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife,
    • through Hydraulic Project Application (HPA),
    • may take the same or additional jurisdiction
    • depending on the impact.
  • 12. Other
    • Buyer Beware!
      • Cumulative Impacts
    • Permit Timing
      • Section 404
        • Nationwide Permit = 3-9 months
        • Individual Permit = 1-2 years or more
    • Shorelines, Floodplain, NPDES, SWPPP
      • May be additional, overlapping, or even conflicting regulations
    • High Mitigation Ratios for Wetland Preservation
  • 13. Permitting Hill Climb
  • 14. Permitting Hill Climb
  • 15. Permitting Hill Climb
  • 16. Permitting Hill Climb
  • 17. Solutions/Opportunities
  • 18. 1. Early Agency Involvement
    • Pre-Application Meeting – On-site if possible, at a minimum by conference call
    • Applicant: Have a good plan, be flexible, know your bottom line
    • Agency: Identify impacts and mitigation, chart the path to the permit
    • Invite and include, where possible all stakeholders.
    • Example: Tribes, Watershed Councils, Community Groups
    • Avoid: The “US and Them” Syndrome
  • 19.
    • Realistic Expectations for Applicants/Agencies Understanding where the project crosses the “point of fill / no-fill”
    • Wetland Fill site
    Avoidance - No Fill
    • What information is needed? Once submitted, how long to review and make a decision? Avoid “moving targets”.
    • Identify acceptable mitigation options. Avoid “back and forth, and crapshoot approaches”
    • Beware of on-site mitigation limitations.
    • Beware of unintended consequences.
    • Example: The disappearing oaks of Clark County
  • 20.  
  • 21. 3. Mitigation Strategies
    • Wetland Mitigation Banking
    • In-Lieu Fees
    • Applicant-Sponsored Mitigation
    • Other Mitigation Strategies
    • * Consolidated Mitigation
    • * Advanced Mitigation
    • * Programmatic Mitigation
    • Example: Regional General Permit (RGP)
  • 22. On-Going Dialogue with Corps, Department of Ecology, and Local Agency
    • Alternatives Analysis Process
    • Identifying Impacts and Potential for Advanced Mitigation Strategies, Banking, and In-lieu Fees, Consolidated and Programmatic
    • Creating Incentives for Wetland Preservation
    • Example: “String of Pearls”
  • 23. Integrating Stormwater Management with Enhancement of Low-Quality Wetlands Low-quality Pasture Wetland Enhanced Wetland
  • 24. Programmatic and Advance Mitigation
    • Port of Chehalis
    • A Groundbreaking Opportunity
  • 25. Traditional Piece-Meal Permitting
    • Time
    • Project Uncertainty
        • Client Perceives Increased Risk
          • Client Loses Time and Profits
            • Client is Distracted by Other Options
            • Port Loses Interested Client
    START Client is Ready Local Permitting Process State & Federal Permitting Process Land is Ready FINISH
  • 26. Advance MITIGATION Round Table Discussion Cowlitz Indian Tribe WDFW Senator Dan Swecker
  • 27.
    • Provide Certainty to Clients
    • Address Permitting Issues with Consistency
    • Invite Regulators to Regulate
    Discussion: Port’s Concerns
  • 28.
    • Permitting Without a Specific Project
    • Zero Net-Loss of Wetlands
    • Agreeing to a Development without Advanced Certainty of Replacement
      • Wetland Quality
    Discussion: Agency Concerns
  • 29.
    • Opens 125 Acres
    • for Development
    • Expect 750 New Jobs at Complete Build-Out
    • Certainty for Clients Looking for Timely Development
    Advance Mitigation Benefits to Port
  • 30.
    • One Mitigation Site for Multiple Projects
    • Improved Survival of the Mitigation Project
    • Agency Access
    • for Monitoring
    Advance Mitigation Benefits to Agencies
  • 31.
    • One Mitigation Project I ncreased Survival Rate
    • Groundbreaking Process
    • that Could be Used as a Standard Mitigation Approach for Ports
    • True Symbiotic Partnership of Government Agencies
    • Timely Economic Boost
    • to a Struggling Area
    Advance Mitigation Benefits to All
  • 32. Advanced Programmatic Mitigation Impact Area Proposed Mitigation Area Port of Chehalis Example
  • 33. Wetland Creation Site
  • 34. Project Underway
  • 35.  
  • 36.  
  • 37. Contact Info
    • Francis Naglich
    • 360-578-1371
    1157 3rd Avenue, Suite 220 Longview, WA 98632

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