Chesterton Tribune



In case of wetland impacts new DNR rule would allow fee in lieu of mitigation

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A proposed program would allow an applicant applying to the U.S. Army Corps and IDEM for “unavoidable impacts to Indiana’s streams and wetlands” to pay a fee to offset these impacts.

Three public information sessions have been scheduled next month to introduce the proposed program. A presentation will be made at 4:30 and again at 6:30 p.m. at each location:

* Tuesday, Aug. 5, at Spring Mill State Park Inn, 3333 Ind. 60 E., Mitchell.

* Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Fort Harrison State Park Inn, 5830 N. Post Road, Indianapolis.

* Thursday, Aug. 7, Potato Creek State Park, 25601 Ind. 4, North Liberty.

Currently, permits submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for impacts to the state’s aquatic resources require the applicant to mitigate the impacts either (1) by restoring habitat at or near the project site or (2) by using an approved mitigation bank.

The proposed new mitigation option is being called an “in-lieu fee” and it would allow an applicant to make a payment to the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF), which will oversee the accumulated funds. The DNR will then be required to establish or restore aquatic resources within designated areas of the state.

The DNR has developed a document called a “prospectus” for the program and is working with the Army Corps and IDEM to develop procedures for this in-lieu program. Representatives of the DNR and INRF will be on hand at all three public information sessions to answer questions.

Meanwhile, the DNR said, the Natural Resources Commission recently approved new rules to allow for an in-lieu fee for mitigation required for construction in a floodway, public freshwater lake, or navigable waterway issued by the DNR Division of Water.

The new rule is not yet in effect and must still be reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office.



Posted 7/28/2014