Native Landscape & Best Management Practice Design
Best Management Practices (BMPs) and native landscapes provide water quality benefits as well as other benefits to local resources (e.g. mitigate flooding impacts) and wildlife (e.g. habitat). Deep rooted native vegetation helps stabilize shorelines, filters sediment and contaminants, promotes infiltration, provides food and cover for wildlife, and can provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape for outdoor enjoyment.
ENCAP’s years of experience involving hundreds of BMP and native vegetation installation projects has led to our aptitude at designing practical and functioning BMPs. Stormwater detention facilities, rain gardens, and bio swales are just a few of the types of projects for which we can prepare native landscape specifications and drawings. We keep in mind the use of BMPs and native landscaping to create a treatment train for stormwater runoff in order to improve water quality and enhance the environment.
Wetland Mitigation Planning
Wetlands and other water resources are typically identified early on in the land development process. When planning a land development project, avoiding impacts to water resources usually saves substantial time and money. At times, site access and safety issues result in unavoidable impacts to water resources that must be permitted at the Federal, state or local level.
Compensatory mitigation is sometimes required by the permitting authorities to replace the loss of wetland and aquatic resource functions in the watershed. By definition, compensatory mitigation refers to the restoration, establishment, enhancement, or in certain circumstances preservation of wetlands, streams or other aquatic resources for the purpose of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts.
Proper planning, design, and implementation are the key components to a successful wetland mitigation project. Please see the USACE website for further information on Section 404 permitting and compensatory wetland mitigation requirements. (www.usace.army.mil). Navigating through the regulatory requirements can be challenging; however, with proper planning and design, the highest outcome can be achieved.
ENCAP, Inc. staff can evaluate your project, coordinate with the right regulatory agencies and wetland banking companies, and make sure that you are equipped to make good decisions when it comes to wetland mitigation and efficient land development.
Onsite Wetland Mitigation vs. Wetland Mitigation Banking:
Often, onsite wetland mitigation is not an option. This is especially true for impacts that are less than 1 acre in size. Wetland Mitigation Banking is an alternative to onsite mitigation strategies.
A wetlands mitigation bank is a wetland area that has been restored, established, enhanced or preserved, which is then set aside to compensate for future conversions of wetlands for development activities. Upon approval from the regulatory authorities, land developers needing compensatory mitigation credit can purchase credits from a mitigation bank. The price for wetland mitigation credits varies by bank. The benefit to banking is that once credits are purchased, the developers obligation for wetland mitigation are met. This option is especially good for small impacts less than an acre in size. The onsite option works for projects that contain floodplain or other larger open spaces that are proposed to be naturalized.
At this point in time Federal regulations establish a flexible preference for using credits from a mitigation bank over onsite wetland mitigation options. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) consistently updates a website called RIBITS, which identifies the amount of wetland banking credits remaining in each bank across the United States. Please visit the USACE website for more information on the RIBITS system.