Wetland 404 Permitting - Public Lands Advocacy

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Clean Water Act Section 404:

An O&G Perspective

Andrew D. Smith

SWCA Environmental Consultants

Projects in Waters of the US

Regulations/Permits

• Clean Water Act

– Section 404 – Army Corps Permit

– Section 401 – State Certification

• River and Harbors Act

– Section 10 – Army Corps

Jurisdictional Waters of the U.S.

• Surface waters such as

– Rivers, streams, and their tributaries

– Wetlands adjacent to these waters

– Ponds, lakes, and reservoirs

– Arroyos

Jurisdictional Wetlands

1. Wetland Hydrology

2. Hydrophytic

Vegetation

3. Hydric Soils

Jurisdictional Waters of the U.S.

Non-jurisdictional Waters

• Isolated wetlands

• Swales

• Ditches

• Significant nexus

Typical Activities Requiring Permits

• Construction of access roads

• Construction of well pads

• Pipeline crossings

• Placement of riprap or channel protection

• Construction of ponds, dams, dikes, or weirs

Example Activities Requiring

Permits

Wetland Delineations

• Project scheduling and timing

– May be seasonal restrictions (winter, growing season

• Locating and siting wetlands

– Blue and white area on USGS maps could be waters of the U.S.

• Delineate the wetland

– Jurisdictional determination

– Map and document

Section 404 Permitting

• Avoid or minimize project impacts to wetlands

• Quantify unavoidable impacts

< 0.5 acre – Nationwide Permit

> 0.5 acre – Individual Permit

• Mitigate impacts > 0.1 acre

Nationwide Permits

• For common activities with minimal wetland/waters of the U.S. impacts

• Typical NWPs applicable to O&G activity

– NWP 12: Utility Line Activities

– NWP 14: Linear Transportation Projects

– NWP 27: Stream and Wetland Restoration

Activities

Individual Permits

• For projects > 0.5 acre impacts to wetlands or other waters of the U.S. or > 300 linear feet of streambed fill

• Public review of permit application

– 15 to 30 day public comment period

• Mitigation plan and implementation required

• Generally take 4 to 6 months for approval

Nationwide Permits

• Submit Preconstruction Notification (PCN)

– Permittee contact info

– Project description, location, purpose

– Quantify unavoidable wetland impacts

– Other environmental impacts

– Maps, photos

• Corps has 45 days to respond to PCN

• “The prospective permittee shall not begin the activity…Unless 45 days have passed from the District

Engineer’s receipt of the complete notification.”

• NWPs may take 90 days to process if mitigation required

Mitigation

• “No net loss” of wetlands

– Typically 1:1 mitigation ratio in Colorado

– Varies depending on habitat value, quality

– “After-the-fact” typically higher ratio

• Restoration

• Creation

• Enhancement

• Mitigation bank guidance

Mitigation Aspects and Costs

• Planning

• Construction

• Annual Monitoring

• Maintenance

Army Corps must sign off on completed mitigation

(Typically 3 to 5 years for success)

Wetland

Enhancement and Restoration

Wetland Mitigation Site

Adams County, Colorado

2003 - Baseline Photo 2005

– Same Location After Wetland

Creation

We obtained Corps of Engineers sign-off of the mitigation at this site only 2 years after implementation.

Compliance

Compliance

Questions?

For more information, contact:

Andrew D. Smith

SWCA Environmental Consultants

239.470.7868

303.487.1183

asmith@swca.com

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