Aquatic Resource Mitigation_Old Draft


What is aquatic resource mitigation and why does it matter in Southeast Alaska?

Aquatic Resources

In the rainforest environment that is Southeast Alaska wetlands make up a large portion of the region’s landscape; an aquatic resource that performs many 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 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.

Clean Water Act Section 404 Program

Permits for activities conducted in jurisdictional waters of the United States, including streams and wetlands, are required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) through Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 and Sections 9 and 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899.

Under the CWA Section 404 program permitting process,  if impacts to aquatic resources can not be avoided, the COE requires that unavoidable losses of aquatic resources through permitted actions be replaced through compensatory mitigation.


According to the EPA, “Compensatory mitigation refers to the restoration, establishment, enhancement, or in certain circumstances preservation of wetlands, streams or other aquatic resources for the purpose of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts.”

There are four types of compensatory mitigation under the CWA 404 Program:

> Restoration
> Enhancement
> Creation
> Preservation

There are three different mechanisms a permit applicant can use to fulfill their mitigation requirements:

> In-Lieu Fee Program
> Mitigation Bank
> Permittee Responsible Mitigation

SAWC Mitigation Services

In order to build the capacity of the region- including agencies, natural resource professionals, developers, tribes, municipalities, NGO’s, contractors, and the public- to effectively carryout the Clean Water Act Section 404 program and credible mitigation SAWC provides the following Mitigation Services throughout Southeast Alaska:



SAWC partners with Tribes, Municipalities, NGO’s, Community based groups, and the private sector to bring effective trainings to a community or the region. Contact us if you have a training need or would like to partner to host a training in your community.


  • Wetland Functional Assessments in line with the 2008 Final Rule for Section 404 permit applications
  • Mitigation Plans that follow requirements under the 2008 Final Rule for Section 404 permit applications
  • Developing Mitigation Banks that meet the requirements of the 2008 Final Rule

SAWC is a non-profit organization, therefore, we provide these contractual services at a fair and equitable rate for tribes, municipalities, developers, the private sector, landowners, and other interested parties. Please contact SAWC to discuss contractual services.


  • Working with federal and state agencies to develop guidances on the Federal Rule that responds to unique characteristics of SE Alaska’s landscape and communities.
  • Exploring partnerships to develop and carry-out mitigation projects
  • Developing the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition Mitigation Fund- a In Lieu Fee program with the mission to support the aquatic resources and economies of Southeast Alaska’s communities