Advance permittee-responsible mitigation

Advance mitigation is one available option to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands.

Advance mitigation is a form of permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation (compensation) implemented before a permitted impact occurs. It is designed to compensate for future expected impacts. An advance mitigation site generates value — or credits — over time until the site reaches its maximum potential by meeting all of its required performance standards.

Benefits of advance mitigation

  • Reduced temporal loss. Successful compensation completed before impacts occur will reduce or eliminate the temporal loss of wetland functions associated with the impact — and is environmentally preferable.
  • Decreased risk of failure. The risk of failure decreases as the permittee demonstrates that the compensation site is achieving its goals, objectives, and performance standards.
  • More cost effective. Ratios required to offset impacts generally will be reduced due to the decreased temporal loss and risk of failure, making advance mitigation more cost effective.

Who can develop and use advance mitigation

An advance mitigation site can be proposed by any public or private entity. The permittee of the advance mitigation is responsible for site development, management, performance, and protection. 

The credits from the advance mitigation can only be used by the permittee that developed the advance site and cannot be sold or transferred to another entity. If a permittee wants the ability to sell or transfer credits to another entity, the compensation project must go through the wetland mitigation banking certification process.

Applicants conduct advance mitigation at their own risk. Establishing compensation in advance of impacts does not guarantee that the advance mitigation will be considered adequate and/or suitable for any specific future impacts.

Guidance

Proposing

When applying for approval to establish an advance mitigation site, applicants are required to provide an Advance Mitigation Plan. The plan contains information similar to that required for approval of a concurrent mitigation plan (see Wetland Mitigation in Washington State - Part 2: Developing Mitigation Plans).

Baseline conditions must be verified before proceeding with an advance mitigation project
For advance mitigation, agency verification of baseline conditions is necessary to qualify for reduced ratios associated with advance mitigation, therefore pre-approval of a mitigation plan prior to commencing the mitigation effort is required. 

Advance mitigation plan contents
The advance mitigation plan must include the following information, consistent with the 2008 Federal Mitigation Rule and the 2012 Interagency Regulatory Guide: Advance Permittee-Responsible Mitigation:

  • Executive summary —​ Brief description of the history and intent of the project and the responsible parties involved (applicant/permitee).
  • Goals and objectives — Description of the resource type(s) and amount(s) that will be provided, the method of compensation (i.e., restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation), and the manner in which the resource functions of the compensatory mitigation project will address the needs of the watershed, eco-region, physiographic province, or other geographic area of interest.
  • Geographic service area — Proposed area in which potential future impacts may occur. Applicants do not need to identify specific impacts when submitting a proposed advance mitigation plan.
  • Site selection — Description of the factors considered during the site selection process. This should include consideration of watershed needs, how the proposed site will compensate for impacts within the proposed geographic service area, and the practicability of accomplishing an ecologically self-sustaining compensatory mitigation site.
  • Baseline conditions — Description of the ecological characteristics of the proposed compensatory mitigation project site. This should include descriptions of historic and existing hydrology, historic and existing plant communities, soil conditions, a map showing the location of the mitigation site(s) and the geographic coordinates for the site(s), and other site characteristics appropriate to the type of resource proposed as compensation. The baseline information should also include a delineation of wetlands and other aquatic resources on the proposed compensatory mitigation project site.
  • Mitigation Work Plan — Detailed written specifications and work descriptions for the compensatory mitigation project — including but not limited to — the geographic boundaries of the project; construction methods, timing, and sequence; source(s) of water, including connections to existing waters and uplands; methods for establishing the desired plant community; plans to control invasive plant species; the proposed grading plan, including elevations and slopes of the substrate; soil management; and erosion control measures.
  • Determination of credits — Description of the number of credits (i.e., value of the compensation) to be provided, including a brief explanation of the rationale for this determination. This should include an explanation of how the compensatory mitigation project will provide compensation for potential, future, unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources.
  • Performance standards — Ecologically-based standards that will be used to determine whether the compensatory mitigation project is achieving its objectives.
  • Monitoring —​ Description of parameters to be monitored in order to determine if the compensatory mitigation project is on track to meet performance standards and if adaptive management is needed. A schedule for monitoring and reporting on monitoring results must be included.
  • Maintenance —​ Description and schedule of maintenance requirements to ensure the continued viability of the resource once initial construction is completed.
  • Use of credits — ​Description of how advance mitigation credits may be used to off-set future, potential, unavoidable wetland impacts. This should include a proposed ratio reduction table and a discussion that future, proposed, unavoidable wetland impacts will need to be described in an advance mitigation use plan. A proposed credit ledger must be included.
  • Contingency/adaptive management monitoring — Management strategy to address unforeseen changes in site conditions or other components of the compensatory mitigation project, including the party or parties responsible for implementing adaptive management measures. The adaptive management plan will guide decisions for revising compensatory mitigation plans and implementing measures to address both foreseeable and unforeseen circumstances that adversely affect compensatory mitigation success.
  • Site protection — Description of the legal arrangements and instrument, including site ownership, that will be used to ensure the long-term protection of the compensatory mitigation project site. This section should also include a discussion of the width and condition of the perimeter buffer needed to protect the compensatory mitigation site.
  • Long-term management and maintenance —​ Description of how the compensatory mitigation project will be managed after performance standards have been achieved to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource, including long-term financing mechanisms and the party responsible for long-term management.
  • Financial assurances —​ Description of financial assurances that will be provided and how they are sufficient to ensure a high level of confidence that the compensatory mitigation project will be successfully completed, in accordance with its performance standards.

Crediting Using Templates