The Corps reviews each project application for its potential to adversely impact aquatic resources. On June 10, 2008, the Final Rule for Compensatory Mitigation for Losses to Aquatic Resources (the Mitigation Rule) went into effect. The Mitigation Rule clarifies what must be considered and what information is required when developing compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the nation’s aquatic resources, including wetlands, streams, and ocean waters. When mitigation is required remains unchanged. The Mitigation Rule also stresses that impacts must be avoided and minimized, in that order, prior to the development of a compensatory mitigation plan to offset permitted impacts.
Each permit application must contain a statement on how the project avoids, minimizes, and compensates for proposed adverse impacts to aquatic resources.
In addition to the Rule, projects that require the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. as regulated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, must comply with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines only allow the Corps to authorize the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative to achieving the project purpose.