Spring/Summer 2013 Regulatory News

New Federal Guidance Promotes Ecosystem Services Approach

All humans depend on ecosystem services provided every day by wetlands, forests, grasslands, and oceans such as water filtration, flood control, pollination, etc. They are all equally important and necessary in sustaining life, which is why there is a growing understanding and appreciation for these services. It's also why the preservation and conservation of valuable ecosystems is appearing in government policies and planning.

The White House's Council on Environmental Quality recently released The Principles and Requirements for Federal Investments in Water Resources (Guidelines). The Guidelines instruct federal water and land related investment projects to ensure that agency actions contribute to economic development while preserving the environment. They are intended to provide a common framework for analyzing a broad range of Federal investments that either directly or indirectly affect water quality or water quantity, including ecosystem restoration or land management activities.

The new Guidelines link the social, environmental and economic impact of an activity and then evaluate it accordingly. The ecosystem services approach traces the effects of a potential action through the ecosystem or watershed in order to evaluate said effects and better quantify the value the ecosystem or watershed contributes to our economy and well-being. This approach often allows for achieving multiple goals and utilizing water resources so all stakeholders benefit.

The new Guidelines are established pursuant to the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-8), and are consistent with Section 2031 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-114).

Citation: Posted by Kelli Barret in the Ecosystem Marketplace on May 30, 2013.

Links for further information: The Principles and Requirements for Federal Investments in Water Resources.


Winter/Spring 2013 Regulatory News

Nationwide & Regional General Permits for Habitat Enhancement

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program offers many expedited permits under the Clean Water Act to facilitate the enhancement, restoration and creation of habitat which allows Landowners, Buyers and Sellers to increase the value of their land via production of ecosystem goods and services. The following list and links to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website identify the primary Nationwide Permits (NWP) and Regional General Permits (RGP) intended for this purpose:

NWP 3 – Maintenance: Often overlooked, this NWP allows the repair, rehabilitation and replacement of existing stream and habitat improvements, including minor deviations.
NWP 13 - Bank Stabilization: Streambank stabilization activities necessary for erosion prevention.
NWP 18 - Minor Discharges: Minor discharges of dredged or fill material into all waters of the U.S.
NWP 19 - Minor Dredging: Dredging of no more than 25 cubic yards below the plane of the ordinary high water mark.
NWP 27 - Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment, and Enhancement Activities: Activities in waters of the U.S. associated with restoration, enhancement, and establishment of wetlands and riparian areas, restoration and enhancement of streams and other open waters, provided those activities result in net increases in aquatic resource functions and services.
NWP 30 - Moist Soil Management for Wildlife: Discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. and maintenance activities associated with moist soil management for wildlife for the purpose of continuing ongoing, site-specific, wildlife management activities (e.g., for habitat and feeding areas).
NWP 41 - Reshaping Existing Drainage Ditches: Allows modification of the cross-sectional configuration of drainage ditches constructed in waters of the U.S., for the purpose of improving water quality by regrading the ditch banks with gentler slopes to reduce erosion, increase growth of vegetation, and increase uptake of nutrients and other substances by vegetation.
RGP 12 - Aquatic Habitat Improvement for Stream Channels in Colorado: Activities authorized by this RGP are limited to stream habitat improvement intended to create or enhance fish habitat components.


Fall/Winter 2012 Regulatory News

Regional General Permit 37 for Bank Stabilization Projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued Regional General Permit (RGP) No. 37 for Stream Stabilization Projects on October 2, 2012. This RGP is applicable to waters of the United States, including, but not limited to, rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and other waterways that are located within the geographical boundaries of the Sacramento and Albuquerque Districts in Colorado. The RGP authorizes stream stabilization projects that cause only minimal environmental impacts, including installation/construction of bank stabilization, deflectors, and grade control structures. Note that this RGP is not intended for fishery habitat improvement projects and does not authorize stream channelization or structures that create barriers to floating recreational craft. For a full description of the types of activities authorized by this RGP and the permit conditions, access the Corps web site. Click here.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website update:

As part of a Corps-wide effort, the Denver Regulatory Office has recently updated its website. As a result, the site address has changed. To navigate to the USACE website, Click here.


Summer/Fall 2012 Regulatory News

 “Retro” Permits Will Streamline Approval of Fishery Habitat Improvement in Colorado 

As with many current trends, all things old are being recycled, repackaged and reused. The Corps is using this “retro” approach to streamline the review and approval process for fishery habitat improvement projects in Colorado. Although we have grown comfortable using Nationwide Permit (NP) 27 for fishery projects, it was “revoked for activities that include a fishery enhancement component in perennial streams” when the Corps reissued the NPs in March 2012. 

NP 27 has reverted to its original intent – creation, restoration, and enhancement of aquatic habitat for purposes other than fishery habitat improvement (although it will likely be an ancillary benefit). This change brings us back to the heyday of the 1990s, as Regional General Permit 12 (RGP12) has been resurrected for its original purpose, “aquatic habitat improvement for stream channels in Colorado”. Although the titles of NP27 and RGP 12 sound similar, please note their distinct change in use, as change is the only thing in this world that is consistent. 




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