Notice of Pending Funding Opportunity for Land Conservation and Wetland Enhancement

Notice of Pending Funding Opportunity for Land Conservation and Wetland Enhancement

Connecticut Wetland In Lieu Fee Program - 2018

The Connecticut Wetland In Lieu Fee (ILF) Program established in 2013 has accrued sufficient funds that will be soon made available for the preservation, restoration and protection of wetland and watercourse resources and associated upland buffers in the State of Connecticut.  The ILF Program was created to help compensate for unavoidable impacts to protected aquatic and estuarine resources in the state by funding the restoration, enhancement, preservation, and creation of similar resources in order to replace or maintain ecological benefits compromised by various activities. The National Audubon Society, Inc., through its Connecticut program (Audubon Connecticut) is the sponsor of an In- Lieu Fee Program for aquatic resource compensatory mitigation required by Department of the Army authorizations.

This program was approved by the New England District, Corps of Engineers and Audubon Connecticut on Aug. 21, 2013. The program provides an alternative to Corps permittees who are required to compensate for their impacts to wetlands and waters of the U.S. in the state of Connecticut. Funds are collected and held in public trust by Audubon Connecticut through the Connecticut In-Lieu Fee Program. This is a voluntary program that allows entities impacting natural resources – primarily wetlands – to make a payment directly to the fund as an alternative to the traditional mitigation process. These monies will subsequently be made available to fund restoration, creation, preservation, and enhancement activities protective of wetlands and their associated functions and values.  A request for Letters of Interest for funding through this program is anticipated to be released by March 1st, 2018. 

The ILF program is for use in association with the Corps’ Regulatory Program. Its purpose and goals are to: provide an alternative to permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation that will effectively replace functions and values of aquatic resources lost through permitted impacts; substantially increase the extent and quality of restoration, enhancement, creation and preservation of natural resources over that which is typically achieved by permittee-responsible mitigation for activities that impact on wetlands, significant wildlife habitats and other waters within Connecticut; reduce the extent of cumulative adverse impacts to aquatic resources that are regulated by the Corps permit program; provide applicants for permits from the Corps greater flexibility in compensating for adverse impacts to protected natural resources; and achieve ecological success on a watershed basis by directing Audubon Connecticut ILF funds to natural resource types and functions that are appropriate to the geographic service area, and by integrating Audubon Connecticut ILF projects with other conservation activities whenever possible.

As sponsor, Audubon Connecticut will be administering a competitive grant funding program, soliciting proposals for wetland and waters restoration, enhancement, creation and/or preservation. These proposals are then given to an advisory committee to be ranked using a scoring methodology presented in the instrument. Ultimately, the proposals are presented with their funding requests to an Interagency Review Team, which recommends the finalists to the Corps for selection. Once the projects are chosen, Audubon Connecticut is responsible for funding, execution and long-term stewardship.

Audubon Connecticut ILF receives its funds from applicants who agree to use the program for mitigation of impacts resulting from the Corps’ Regulatory process. After the applicant avoids and minimizes the impacts to the extent possible, the Corps may approve the use of the ILF by the applicant. The Corps then determines the number of credits the applicant will need to purchase. The fees for the ILF credits are paid by the permittee to the sponsor and tracked by service area.

All ILF agreements in New England are available for review and download on the Corps website at:

http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Mitigation/InLieuFeePr....

For more information on the Audubon Connecticut In-Lieu Fee Agreement (File # NAE-2010-2215), contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory, Division B (ATTN: Taylor Bell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751; phone 978-318-8952; or email Taylor.M.Bell@usace.army.mil

For further details, visit here http://ct.audubon.org/conservation/conservation/in-Lieu-fee-program.