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 operated by SAWC. A copy of our legal instrument is available here:
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.
- Restoring Fish Habitat on a Tributary of Pat’s Creek April 9, 2020Before: Introducing the project At the end of March, SAWC completed on the ground restoration work on a small tributary that feeds into the Pat’s Creek watershed near Wrangell, AK. This tributary had been damaged and blocked off in areas as a result of previous logging operations at the site. The goal of this project is to ...
- Wrangell Area Watersheds Assessment February 25, 2019As the community of Wrangell continues to grow and develop, the City and Borough of Wrangell and its residents have sought to identify and prioritize local aquatic resources to better plan for future land development and strategize potential restoration-based mitigation opportunities. In an effort to support the informed management of Wrangell’s watersheds and aquatic resources, ...
- SAWC Seeks YOUR Input: The Proposed Enhancement of the Klehini River Bridge Borrow Pit Pond May 14, 2018
- SAWC Initiates Projects to Manage High Priority Invasive Plants April 30, 2018SAWC received two grants this winter that will support efforts to manage high priority invasive plants that threaten watershed health in our region. The Copper River Watershed Project awarded SAWC an invasive plant mini-grant to control invasive knotweed in Juneau and Petersburg starting in 2018. SAWC restoration biologist John Hudson spent the fall of 2017 outreaching ...