Mitigation That Works Forum

The final Forum meeting was held October 21, 2008

The Forum's Final Report - Making Mitigation Work

Focus on: Mitigation that Works Forum

Presentation to planners on the Forum's Final Report (January 2009, PDF, 1.7MB)
 

Final Mitigation That Works Forum Report

The Mitigation That Works Forum published their final report in December 2008.  The report details the Forum's recommendations on how to improve all aspects of aquatic resources mitigation.  View the report here.

Background

In Washington State we spend millions annually to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to important habitats -- wetlands, eelgrass beds, etc., -- stemming from development. Studies show that with regard to wetlands these efforts are successful about 50% of the time, a far cry from this state’s policy of no net loss of wetlands. It is likely that other environmental mitigation is equally unsuccessful. This is an unacceptable situation.

Numerous regulatory agencies are involved in permitting mitigation. There is a need for enhanced coordination, reduced overlap in the review process, and consistent review standards and permit conditions for proposed mitigation projects. In addition, Washington State needs a range of mitigation options to adequately protect a variety of resources that are impacted by development projects, ranging from wetlands, to fish, uplands habitats and endangered species.

What was the purpose of the Mitigation That Works Forum?

Beginning in November 2007, the forum worked to develop a vision of what a comprehensive range of mitigation options for Washington State looks like, including wetland banking, conservation banking, in-lieu fee programs, and other approaches. The forum engaged stakeholders in developing a clear understanding of the meaning of "successful mitigation."

A shared, coherent and effective approach to mitigation has been a long standing goal in Washington State. Ecology has made improving mitigation an agency priority, and it was the goal of the Mitigation that Works Stakeholder Forum to not only provide a needed perspective on the challenges facing effective mitigation, but to reach consensus on actions that can be taken now to effect meaningful changes.

One purpose of the Mitigation that Works Forum was to improve mitigation by evaluating previous efforts and to build on them. The significant work of the Transportation Permit Efficiency and Accountability Committee (TPEAC), recent efforts by Shared Salmon Strategy, and others were reviewed. With the results of those efforts as a starting point, the Forum’s goal was to make meaningful progress toward finding solutions to improving the ecological success and permit efficiency of mitigation in Washington State. In addition, following were several other objectives of the Forum:

  • To build on previous efforts to streamline and coordinate mitigation permitting decisions in Washington State.
  • To facilitate a common approach to reviewing and permitting mitigation proposals between tribes, agencies, local governments and nongovernmental organizations.
  • To identify areas related to effective mitigation that require consensus among diverse stakeholders and facilitate a stakeholder process to achieve consensus.
  • To evaluate previous comprehensive mitigation efforts and report on what succeeded, what failed, and why, and to make recommendations concerning how to replicate successful efforts and how to improve on efforts that either were not implemented or fell short of stated objectives.
  • To complete a final report summarizing the stakeholder process and draft recommendations to advance effective mitigation programs and processes in Washington State.

The Mitigation that Works Forum represents one in a series of efforts on the part of Ecology to improve the success of mitigation throughout the State of Washington. While Ecology served as the convener of this Forum, it was the stakeholder group as a whole who ultimately established the direction for achieving a better approach to mitigation in Washington State.

The Mitigation that Works Forum held meetings once a month starting in November 2007.  The final Forum meeting was held on October 21, 2008.  (Archived meeting information.)

 

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