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Title 17E
Chapter 17E.070
Section 17E.070.130
 

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.070 Wetlands Protection

Section 17E.070.130 Mitigation

Wetland mitigation shall be consistent with Wetland Mitigation in Washington State, Parts 1 and 2 (2006) as amended from time to time, to provide consistency for applicants who must also apply for state and federal permits.

  1. Conditions.
    As a condition of any permit or approval allowing alteration of wetlands or associated buffers, the applicant will engage in the restoration, creation, rehabilitation, enhancement, or preservation of wetlands in order to offset the impacts resulting from the applicants or violators actions. The applicant will develop an appropriate mitigation plan that provides for mitigation measures as outlined below. Wetland mitigation means the use of any or all of the following action listed in descending order of preference (mitigation sequencing):

    1. Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action;

    2. Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation, by using appropriate technology, or by taking affirmative steps to avoid or reduce impacts;

    3. Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating or restoring the affected environment;

    4. Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action;

    5. Compensating for the impact by replacing, enhancing, or providing substitute resources or environments; or

    6. Monitoring the impact and the compensation project and taking appropriate corrective measures.  Mitigation may include a combination of the above measures.

  2. Performance Standards. 
    Compensatory mitigation must follow a mitigation plan which includes the components listed in subsection D of this section. All mitigation plans must meet the minimum performance standards set forth in subsection C of this section.

  3. Wetlands Restoration, Creation, Rehabilitation, Enhancement, and Preservation.

    1. Any person who degrades wetlands must restore, create, rehabilitate, enhance, or preserve equivalent areas or greater areas of wetlands than those altered in order to compensate for loss of wetland acreage or functions.

    2. Acreage Replacement Ratio. 
      The following standard ratios apply to compensatory wetland mitigation that is in-kind. If a proposal seeks to eliminate a functional wetland through development, that loss must be compensated through creation or restoration mitigation.  This strategy meets the no net loss standard for wetland function and value.  The first number specifies the acreage of wetlands requiring replacement and the second specifies the acreage of wetlands altered.  

Table 17E.070.130-1

Category and Type of Wetland Impacts

Type of Wetland Mitigation

Re-establishment or creation

Rehabilitation only¹

Re-establishment or creation (R/C) and Rehabilitation (RH)¹

Re-establishment or creation (R/C) and Enhancement (E)¹

Enhancement Only

All Category IV

1.5:1

3:1

1:1 R/C and 1:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 2:1 E

6:1

All Category III

2:1

4:1

1:1 R/C and 2:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 4:1 E

8:1

Category II Forested

4:1

8:1

1:1 R/C and 4:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 6:1 E

16:1

Category II Vernal Pool

2:1
Compensation must be seasonally ponded wetland

4:1
Compensation must be seasonally ponded wetland

1:1 R/C and 2:1 RH

Case-by-case

Case-by-case

All other Category II

3:1

6:1

1:1 R/C and 4:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 8:1 E

12:1

Category I Forested

6:1

12:1

1:1 R/C and 10:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 20:1 E

24:1

Category I – based on score for functions

4:1

8:1

1:1 R/C and 6:1 RH

1:1 R/C and 12:1 E

16:1

Category I Wetlands with a high conservation value

Not considered possible²

6:1
Rehabilitation of a Wetlands with a high conservation value

R/C not considered possible²

R/C not considered possible²

Case-by-case

Category I Alkali

Not considered possible²

6:1
Rehabilitation of an alkali wetland

R/C not considered possible²

R/C not considered possible²

Case-by-case

Category I Bog

Not considered possible²

6:1
Rehabilitation of a bog

R/C not considered possible²

R/C not considered possible

Case-by-case

 [1] These ratios are based on the assumption that the rehabilitation or enhancement actions implemented represent the average degree of improvement possible for the site.  Proposals to implement more effective rehabilitation or enhancement actions may result in a lower ratio, while less effective actions may result in a higher ratio.  The distinction between rehabilitation and enhancement is not clear-cut.  Instead rehabilitation and enhancement actions span a continuum.  Proposals that fall within the gray area between rehabilitation and enhancement will result in a ratio that lies between the ratios for rehabilitation and the ratios for enhancement.

[2] Wetlands with a high conservation value and alkali wetlands are considered irreplaceable wetlands because they perform functions that cannot be replaced through compensatory mitigation.  Impacts to such wetlands would therefore result in a net loss of some functions no matter what kind of compensation is proposed.

  1. Where out of-kind replacement is accepted, greater acreage replacement ratios may be required to compensate for lost functional values.
    1. Increased Replacement Ratio.
      The standard replacement ratio may be increased under the following circumstances:

      1. High degree of uncertainty as to the probable success of the proposed restoration or creation;

      2. significant period of time between destruction and replication of wetland functions;

      3. projected losses in functional value and other uses, such as recreation, scientific research and education, are relatively high;

      4. not possible to create or restore same type of wetland;

      5. off-site compensation is offered.

    2. Decreased Replacement Ratio. 
      The standard replacement ratio may be decreased under the following circumstances: scientifically supported evidence which demonstrates that no net loss of wetland function or value is attained under the decreased ratio. In all cases, a minimum acreage replacement ratio of 1:1.5 is required.

    3. Wetland Enhancement.

      1. Any applicant proposing to degrade wetlands may propose to enhance existing wetlands in order to compensate for wetland losses. Applicants proposing to enhance wetlands must identify how enhancement conforms with the overall goals and requirements of the wetlands protection program.

      2. A wetlands enhancement compensation project will be considered, if enhancement for one function and value will not degrade another function or value. Acreage replacement ratios may be increased up to one hundred percent to recognize existing functional values. Category I wetlands may not be enhanced.

    4. In-Kind/Out-Of-Kind Mitigation. 
      In-kind mitigation must be provided except where the applicant can demonstrate that:

      1. The wetland system is already degraded and out-of-kind replacement will result in a wetland with greater functional value;

      2. Technical problems such as exotic vegetation and changes in watershed hydrology make implementation of in-kind mitigation impossible.

    5. On-Site/Off-site Mitigation. 
      On-site mitigation shall be provided except where the applicant can demonstrate that:

      1. The hydrology and ecosystem of the original wetland and those who benefit from the hydrology and ecosystem will not be damaged by the on-site loss; and

      2. On-site mitigation is not scientifically feasible due to problems with hydrology, soils, or factors such as other potentially adverse impacts from surrounding land uses; or

      3. Existing functional values at the site of the proposed restoration are significantly greater than lost wetland functional values; or

      4. Established goals for flood storage, flood conveyance, habitat or other wetland functions have been established and strongly justify location of mitigation measures at another site.

    1. Mitigation Outside of Primary Drainage Basin. 
      Wetland creation or restoration must occur within the same primary drainage basin as the wetland loss occurred, unless the applicant can demonstrate that:

      1. The hydrology and ecosystem of the original wetland and those who benefit from the hydrology and ecosystem will not be substantially damaged by the loss within that primary drainage basin; and

      2. In-basin mitigation is not scientifically feasible due to problems with hydrology, soils, or other factors such as other potentially adverse impacts from surrounding land uses; or

      3. Existing functional values in a different primary drainage basin are significantly greater than lost wetland functional values; or

      4. Established goals for flood storage, flood conveyance, habitat or other wetland functions have been established and strongly justify location of mitigation measures in a different primary drainage basin.

    2. Mitigation Site Selection. 
      In selecting mitigation sites, applicants are encouraged to utilize Selecting Wetland Mitigation Sites Using a Watershed Approach (Eastern Washington) (Publication #10-06-07, November 2010). Applicants must pursue siting in the following order of preference:

      1. upland sites which were formerly wetlands;

      2. degraded upland sites generally having bare ground or vegetative cover consisting primarily of exotic introduced species, weeds, or emergent vegetation; and

      3. other upland sites.

    3. Timing.  Where feasible, mitigation projects are to be completed prior to activities that will disturb wetlands. Bonding is required if mitigation projects cannot be completed prior to project completion. Construction of mitigation projects must be timed to reduce impacts to existing wildlife and flora.

  2. Components of Mitigation Plans. 
    All wetland restoration, creation, rehabilitation, enhancement, and/or preservation projects required pursuant to this chapter, either as a permit condition or as the result of an enforcement action, must follow a mitigation plan prepared by qualified wetland professionals meeting City requirements. The applicant or violator must receive written approval of the mitigation plan prior to commencement of any wetland restoration, creation, or enhancement activity. The mitigation plan must contain at least the following components:

    1. Baseline Information. 

      1. A written assessment and accompanying maps of the impacted wetland including, at a minimum:

        1. wetland delineation;

        2. existing wetland acreage;

        3. proposed wetland impacts;

        4. vegetative, faunal and hydrologic characteristics;

        5. soil and substrate conditions; and

        6. topographic elevations.

      2. If the compensation site is different from the impacted wetland site, baseline information should also include:

        1. the watershed;

        2. surface hydrology;

        3. existing and proposed adjacent land uses;

        4. proposed buffers; and

        5. ownership.

    2. Environmental Goals and Objectives. 

      1. A written report must be provided identifying:

      2. goals and objectives and project description;

      3. site selection criteria;

      4. compensation goals;

      5. target evaluation species and resource functions;

      6. dates for beginning and completion; and

      7. a complete description of the functions and values sought in the new wetland.

    The goals and objectives must be related to the functions and values of the original wetland, or if out-of-kind, the type of wetland to be emulated. The report must also include an analysis of the likelihood of success of the compensation project at duplicating the original wetland, and the long-term viability of the project, based on the experiences of comparable projects, if any.

    1. Monitoring Program.  
      Specific measurable criteria approved by the director, shall be provided for evaluating whether the goals and objectives of the project are being achieved, and for determining when and if remedial action or contingency measures should be implemented. Such criteria may include water quality standards, survival rates of planted vegetation, species abundance and diversity targets, habitat diversity indices, or other ecological, geological or hydrological criteria. The mitigation plan manager must assure work is completed in accordance with the mitigation plan and, if necessary, the contingency plan. The monitoring program will continue for at least five years from the date of plant installation. Monitoring will continue for ten years where woody vegetation (forested or shrub wetlands) is the intended result. These communities take at least eight years after planting to reach eighty percent canopy closure. Reporting for a ten year monitoring period shall occur in years one, two, three, five seven and ten. Monitoring in all instances shall be bonded. Reporting results of the monitoring data to the director is the responsibility of the applicant.

    2. Detailed Construction Plans. 
      Written specifications and descriptions of mitigation techniques are to be provided, as specified by the director.

    3. Construction Oversight.
      The construction of the mitigation project will be monitored by a qualified wetlands professional to insure that the project fulfills its goals.

    4. Contingency Plan.
      The plan must identify potential courses of action that can be taken when monitoring or evaluation indicates project performance standards are not being met.

    5. Permit Conditions.
      Any mitigation plan prepared pursuant to this section becomes part of the permit application or approval.

    6. Performance Bonds and Demonstration of Competence.
      The applicant must provide demonstration of administrative, supervisory, and technical competence, financial resources, and scientific expertise of sufficient standing to successfully execute the mitigation plan. The applicant will name a mitigation project manager and provide the qualifications of each team member involved in preparing, implementing and supervising the mitigation plan. This includes educational background, areas of expertise, training and experience with comparable projects. In addition, bonds ensuring fulfillment of the mitigation project, the monitoring program, and any contingency measures must be posted in the amount of one hundred and twenty-five percent of the expected cost of mitigation, plus a factor to be determined to allow for inflation during the time the project is being monitored. An administration fee for the mitigation project may be assessed to reimburse the City for costs incurred during the course of the monitoring program.

    7. Consultation with Other Agencies.
      Applicants are encouraged to consult with federal, state, local agencies having expertise or interest in a mitigation proposal.

Date Passed: Monday, June 19, 2017

Effective Date: Sunday, July 30, 2017

ORD C35508 Section 12