33 CFR 332.1 - Purpose and general considerations.
(a) Purpose. (1) The purpose of this part is to establish standards and criteria for the use of all types of compensatory mitigation, including on-site and off-site permittee-responsible mitigation, mitigation banks, and in-lieu fee mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to waters of the United States authorized through the issuance of Department of the Army (DA) permits pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) and/or sections 9 or 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401, 403). This part implements section 314(b) of the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. 108-136), which directs that the standards and criteria shall, to the maximum extent practicable, maximize available credits and opportunities for mitigation, provide for regional variations in wetland conditions, functions, and values, and apply equivalent standards and criteria to each type of compensatory mitigation. This part is intended to further clarify mitigation requirements established under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) regulations at 33 CFR part 320 and 40 CFR part 230, respectively.
(2) This part has been jointly developed by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. From time to time guidance on interpreting and implementing this part may be prepared jointly by U.S. EPA and the Corps at the national or regional level. No modifications to the basic application, meaning, or intent of this part will be made without further joint rulemaking by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).
(b) Applicability. This part does not alter the regulations at § 320.4(r) of this title, which address the general mitigation requirements for DA permits. In particular, it does not alter the circumstances under which compensatory mitigation is required or the definitions of “waters of the United States” or “navigable waters of the United States,” which are provided at parts 328 and 329 of this chapter, respectively. Use of resources as compensatory mitigation that are not otherwise subject to regulation under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or sections 9 or 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 does not in and of itself make them subject to such regulation.
(c) Sequencing. (1) Nothing in this section affects the requirement that all DA permits subject to section 404 of the Clean Water Act comply with applicable provisions of the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines at 40 CFR part 230.
(2) Pursuant to these requirements, the district engineer will issue an individual section 404 permit only upon a determination that the proposed discharge complies with applicable provisions of 40 CFR part 230, including those which require the permit applicant to take all appropriate and practicable steps to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to waters of the United States. Practicable means available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes. Compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts may be required to ensure that an activity requiring a section 404 permit complies with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines.
(3) Compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts may be required to ensure that an activity requiring a section 404 permit complies with the Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. During the 404(b)(1) Guidelines compliance analysis, the district engineer may determine that a DA permit for the proposed activity cannot be issued because of the lack of appropriate and practicable compensatory mitigation options.
(d) Public interest. Compensatory mitigation may also be required to ensure that an activity requiring authorization under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or sections 9 or 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 is not contrary to the public interest.
(e) Accounting for regional variations. Where appropriate, district engineers shall account for regional characteristics of aquatic resource types, functions and services when determining performance standards and monitoring requirements for compensatory mitigation projects.
(f) Relationship to other guidance documents. (1) This part applies instead of the “Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use, and Operation of Mitigation Banks,” which was issued on November 28, 1995, the “Federal Guidance on the Use of In-Lieu Fee Arrangements for Compensatory Mitigation Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act,” which was issued on November 7, 2000, and Regulatory Guidance Letter 02-02, “Guidance on Compensatory Mitigation Projects for Aquatic Resource Impacts Under the Corps Regulatory Program Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899” which was issued on December 24, 2002. These guidance documents are no longer to be used as compensatory mitigation policy in the Corps Regulatory Program.
(2) In addition, this part also applies instead of the provisions relating to the amount, type, and location of compensatory mitigation projects, including the use of preservation, in the February 6, 1990, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of the Army and the Environmental Protection Agency on the Determination of Mitigation Under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. All other provisions of this MOA remain in effect.