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Wetland Permitting in WA by Francis Naglich

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Wetland Permitting in WA by Francis Naglich

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