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Regulatory image of wetlandsMitigation is an important part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) permitting process. It includes avoiding, minimizing and compensating for impacts to aquatic resources.

If your project cannot avoid or sufficiently minimize affects to wetlands or other waters of the United States, you must compensate for the impacts. Compensatory mitigation provides methods to offset these unavoidable losses due to project impacts. These methods include the restoration, establishment, enhancement and/or preservation of aquatic resources.

Federal Mitigation Rule

Mitigation requirements are outlined in Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources Final Rule (33 CFR Part 332), commonly referred to as the “Federal mitigation rule.” The mitigation rule promotes consistency and predictability and improves ecological success of mitigation efforts through better site selection, use of a watershed approach for planning and project design, and use of ecological success criteria to evaluate and measure performance of mitigation projects.

Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources, Final Rule (Federal Register, 04/10/08
Corps Headquarters Final Compensatory Mitigation Rule information
Watershed Approach
Watch an introductory video on Mitigation

Providing compensatory mitigation

There are three ways to provide compensatory mitigation:
Mitigation Banks, In-Lieu Fee Programs and Permittee-Responsible Mitigation. Mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs are generally the preferred options for mitigation because they consolidate resources and involve more financial planning and scientific expertise. These factors help reduce the risk of failure of mitigation projects. The following are acceptable mitigation options;

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 Mitigation bank. Click for more.

A mitigation bank is one or more sites where aquatic resources such as wetlands or streams are restored, established, enhanced and/or preserved for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation in advance of authorized impacts to similar resources. A bank sells mitigation “credits” to permittees. The obligation to provide mitigation is then transferred to the bank sponsor. The bank sponsor is then responsible for implementing the mitigation, monitoring its performance and long-term site management.

 In-lieu fee program. Click for more

An in-lieu fee (ILF) program involves the restoration, establishment, enhancement and/or preservation of aquatic resources through funds typically paid to state governments, local governments, or non-profit natural resources management organizations. As with banks, credits are sold to permittees by the ILF program sponsor. The in-lieu fee sponsor is then responsible for implementing the mitigation, monitoring its performance and managing the site long-term.

 How to find if credits are available for your proposed project. Click for more
  • The Regulatory In-lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) can be found at This publicly available website can be used to determine if your project location is in the service area of a mitigation bank or ILF site and whether or not there are credits available.

    Once in RIBITS, use the following steps to determine if credits are available for your proposed project:
  1. Under MENU, Tools, select Find Credits
  2. Enter the project latitude and longitude in decimal degrees (4X.XXXXXX, -12X.XXXXXX)
  3. Click on Search

If your proposed project is within a mitigation bank or ILF site with available credits it will populate a list.  You will be able to see how many credits are currently available and the contact information of the sponsor.  You may also click on the bank or ILF site name for more information.

 Full list of NWP mitigation banks and ILF sites. Click for more

To view the full list of mitigation banks and ILF sites within the Portland District area of responsibility, you can use the Regulatory In-lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS), found here.  Once in RIBITS, use the following steps to view banks and ILF sites:

  1. Under FILTER, select USACE District
  2. From the drop down select Portland
  3. Under MENU, Mitigation, select Banks & Sites

What to include in mitigation plan:
If you’re using a bank or ILF program, you must submit a mitigation plan. This mitigation plan should include a description of the baseline conditions at the impact site, the number and type of resource credits to be secured and how these were determined. You must also provide the name of the specific mitigation bank or ILF program site proposed to be used.

 Permittee-responsible mitigation. Click for more.

Individual mitigation projects constructed by permittees can also compensate for environmental impacts authorized by the Corps. This option makes the permittee responsible for implementing the mitigation, monitoring its performance and long-term site management. Mitigation projects may occur on the same site as the permitted project or at an offsite location usually within the same watershed. In some cases, permittee-responsible mitigation (PRM) is the only option. This is typical when proposed impacts are not located within the service area of an approved mitigation bank or ILF program, or if these mitigation options would not provide appropriate mitigation for the proposed impacts.

What to include in a mitigation plan

If PRM compensatory mitigation is required, you must submit a mitigation plan. There are 13 required components in every mitigation plan.

The mitigation rule (33 CFR 332.4(c)) describes these 13 components in detail:
1) Preparation and approval (This component is guidance specific and is not included as an actual component of a compensatory wetland mitigation plan.)
2) Objectives
3) Site selection
4) Site protection instrument
5) Baseline information
6) Determination of credits
7) Mitigation work plan
8) Maintenance plan
9) Performance standards
10) Monitoring requirements
11) Long-term management plan
12) Adaptive management plan
13) Financial assurances
14) Other relevant information

Although not required, assistance from a qualified environmental consultant may be beneficial in developing a comprehensive and acceptable mitigation plan. All mitigation plans require Corps approval.

Additional mitigation information and tools

NWP Compensatory Mitigation Special Public Notices

Notice of Stream Function Assessment Method for Oregon

Portland District
Published June 29, 2018

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps), jointly announce the publication and availability of the Stream Function Assessment Method (SFAM) version 1.0 dated June 2018. The method provides a scientifically supported, rapid assessment tool for gathering information on the functions and values associated with wadeable streams that may be subject to regulatory jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law. The method does not imply or represent a change in the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” or “Waters of the State.”

The purpose of this notice is to make the public aware of SFAM and associated tools, explain the need for and development of the method, and to invite feedback from users. SFAM has four components:
• Excel Workbook
• User Manual
• Scientific Rationale
• SFAM Map Viewer

The SFAM documents are available from the DSL website, The documents and the SFAM Map Viewer are available from the Oregon Explorer Aquatic Mitigation topic page at

SFAM was developed by experts from federal and state agencies with experience across Oregon and reflects the technical expertise and critical review of others from relevant professional and academic fields. The method has been field tested by interagency teams of state and federal scientists, as well as by private consultants, and was also the subject of statistical testing using data resulting from a field study. Use of the method will help to support decision making in a consistent, predictable, robust, repeatable and defensible way. 

SFAM will change how stream mitigation is achieved in Oregon. It will provide a stream assessment tool, which had previously been lacking, thereby making stream mitigation more function- and watershed-based and providing better ecological outcomes.

With this notice, DSL and the Corps recommend that project proponents use SFAM in their applications for state removal-fill permits and/or federal Section 404 dredged and fill material permits, where appropriate and practicable. SFAM can help to describe and quantify stream (and related resource) type and functions that will be impacted and replaced at the proposed impact and mitigation sites, respectively. DSL is currently conducting rulemaking to change from acre-based mitigation to function- and value-based mitigation, and is proposing that SFAM be required, with some exceptions, beginning July 2019.

The agencies will be providing technical training for the public to use and understand SFAM. Training opportunities will be offered through DSL’s website at:

In the future, through additional state rulemaking, the agencies anticipate using SFAM outputs to determine how much stream compensatory mitigation is required. To reach this goal, the agencies will be conducting additional work following the release of SFAM to:
• Understand SFAM’s ability to detect changes in functions due to on-site actions
• Improve SFAM based on user-feedback and work toward an approach for larger rivers
• Seek input on proposed stream accounting protocols for determining mitigation amount

This phased-in approach to stream mitigation policy will provide incremental improvements in program outcomes, while providing time to adjust to new tools and protocols.

We encourage you to stay informed by visiting the Aquatic Resources Mitigation Framework website: and the proposed rulemaking website: You may ask questions and provide comments regarding SFAM via DSL’s dedicated email box

For additional information, contact any one of the following Project Team leads:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tracie Nadeau
  Department of State Lands
Dana Hicks
  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tom Taylor

Interested in starting your own mitigation bank or ILF program?

If you are interested in developing a mitigation bank or ILF program in Oregon, contact the Corps, Portland District Mitigation Bank General Inbox; click here