Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015IL295B

Making up for losses: A critical analysis of Section 404 compensatory stream mitigation banking in Illinois

Institute: Illinois
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,591 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,182

Principal Investigators: Bruce Rhoads, Thomas Bassett, Jeffery Matthews, Alex Peimer

Abstract: The 2009 Compensatory Mitigation Rule, developed under the Clean Water Act Section 404 , requires permitted unavoidable impacts to surface water to be off-set by purchasing mitigation credits (Hough and Robertson 2009). Mitigation credits are produced at a mitigation bank; a segment of a stream that is restored, enhanced,or conserved to provide ecological benefit according to crediting criteria (Lave et al. 2008). The problem that Illinois faces is to come up with a way to measure "stream credits" to mitigate adverse stream impacts. The problem is twofold: 1) regulators must develop a protocol for measuring stream credits, and 2) off-sets must be ecologically comparable to the impact site (Lave 2008). There are two expected results of this study. First, this study will be the first of its kind to research the decision making process that occurs in developing mitigation credit criteria. Second, this research will also be the first to directly compare the kinds of ecologically functions lost at adverse impact sites with ecological functions supposedly provided by stream mitigation banks.