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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

Sediment Evaluation Framework for the Pacific Northwest (SEF)

Portland District
Published July 16, 2018

Notice: Interested parties are hereby notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division (Corps) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 10 (EPA) have implemented the May 2018 Sediment Evaluation Framework for the Pacific Northwest (SEF). The Corps and EPA solicited public comments regarding updates to Chapters 3 and 10 of the July 2016 SEF from December 22, 2017 through February 20, 2018. No public comments were received. Updates to the SEF chapters were also presented at the Regional Sediment Evaluation Team’s (RSET’s) annual public web-meeting held on November 30, 2017.

Purpose and Background: The SEF provides regional guidance for the characterization and assessment of dredged sediment and potential water quality impacts that may occur during dredging. The SEF describes procedures for the evaluation of potential contaminant-related environmental impacts of dredging and the aquatic disposal of dredged material in inland waters (regulated under the Clean Water Act [CWA]) and the transport and disposal of dredged material in ocean waters (regulated under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act [MPRSA]). The RSET Agencies  prepared the SEF for use in the Pacific Northwest, defined here as the States of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The SEF is periodically revised and updated to account for advances in regulatory practice and technical understanding.

The updated May 2018 SEF simplifies and promotes consistent use of the SEF. The RSET Agencies updated Chapter 3 (SEF Level 1 Evaluation) and Chapter 10 (Dredged Material Disposal and Post-Dredge Surface Management) of the 2016 SEF. The May 2018 SEF can be downloaded at the following website:

Questions: Questions and comments regarding the May 2018 SEF should be sent to:

Army Corps

US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
P.O. Box 2870
Portland, Oregon 97208-2870
Linda Anderson-Carnahan

US EPA Region 10
OERA-140, Suite 155
1200 Sixth Ave.
Seattle, Washington 98101

[1] The RSET Agencies include: Corps Northwestern Division (chair) and Portland, Seattle, and Walla Walla Districts; EPA Region 10 (chair); National Marine Fisheries Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Washington Department of Ecology; Washington Department of Natural Resources; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

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