In the temperate rainforest environment of Southeast Alaska, wetlands make up a large portion of the region’s landscape; an aquatic resource that performs many valuable ecosystem functions including providing fish and wildlife habitat, water storage, and water filtration.
Land development and other human activities that require dredging, filling, and construction on wetlands and surface waters can significantly impact the functions and values of these aquatic resources.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) has measures in place to regulate such activities, in an effort to achieve no net loss of our nation’s wetland functions and values in the face of unavoidable impacts.
The goal of SAWC’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program is to foster opportunities for communities to grow and develop while maintaining healthy and intact aquatic ecosystems. Our program seeks to utilize the regulatory systems in place under the Clean Water Act to achieve no net loss of aquatic resources, while building up a restoration economy in Southeast Alaska that keeps restoration and mitigation dollars circulating in SE communities.
The Southeast Alaska Mitigation Fund
The Southeast Alaska Mitigation Fund (SAMF) is an In Lieu Fee (ILF) compensatory mitigation program currently being developed by SAWC.
The SAMF operates under the CWA Section 404 Regulatory Program to collect permit funds from developers impacting aquatic resources and pool them together to build and maintain mitigation sites – aquatic resource restoration, enhancement, or creation projects that mitigate for impacts occurring as a result of land development to achieve no net loss of aquatic resource.
The SAMF was developed as a mechanism to fund and implement stream and wetland restoration in Southeast Alaska, keeping permittee mitigation dollars in the communities where aquatic resource impacts occur.
Science-based Tools to Support Mitigation Outcomes
To support the development of the SAMF and the advancement of resource mitigation policies and strategies in Alaska, SAWC works with partners and restoration professionals throughout the region, state, and Pacific Northwest to build tools that inform and support planning for aquatic resource mitigation.
SAWC’s Stream and Wetland Credit/Debit calculation tools assist users of the SAMF in assessing proposed mitigation sites to determine the ecological functional lift of the project, and potential funds available for project implementation through the SAMF.
Building Capacity for Restoration in Southeast AK
SAWC partners with communities, tribes, NGOs, municipalities, and agencies to coordinate workshops and training opportunities that increase the capacity of our region’s land managers and professionals to identify, plan, implement, and monitor restoration projects that lift the ecological value and function of Southeast Alaska’s aquatic resources.
- WANTED: Bohemian knotweed (Dead) November 20, 2017 Most people don’t worry much about invasive plants during the winter months. After doing battle with them all summer or watching them take over our yards and open spaces during the growing season, we relax as the last of them die back in the fall. As cold winter weather grips the landscape, we take comfort ...
- The Southeast Alaska Mitigation Fund is Approved! October 19, 2017 Our wetlands and waterways provide unparalleled services to humans and the environment. Well known for harboring amazing biodiversity, wetlands play a critical role in the water cycle by naturally filtering and regulating the flow of water, helping clean water, controlling flooding, and preventing drought in dryer climates. In much of the world, these “ecosystem services” ...
- Juneau Native Plant Nursery Supports Local Restoration Projects August 2, 2017 Willow and cottonwood trees at SAWC's native plant nursery in Juneau are thriving this summer thanks to an abundance of rain, and occasional sunshine, in Juneau. The nursery hosts more than 300 trees, each one started from a portion of a branch "borrowed" from wild trees in early spring. These sticks, called dormant cuttings, are placed ...
- Resource Managers Build Watershed Restoration Capacity at Regional Workshop June 7, 2016 The 2016 Southeast Alaska Stream and Watershed Restoration Workshop brought together 21 Natural Resource Management Practitioners from across the region and 6 experienced Instructors from the Pacific Northwest for five days of intensive watershed restoration study, discussion, and field visits on Prince of Wales Island this May. Led by a cadre of Restoration Practitioners from The ...