PHOENIX -- Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers Los Angeles District and the Arizona Game and Fish Department toured
the state's Arlington Wildlife Area Jan. 20.
A portion of the AWA is a potential In-Lieu Fee
mitigation site for third party applicants to purchase mitigation credits for
their project to satisfy Clean Water Act permit requirements.
"Only after impacts to aquatic resources are avoided
and minimized, will we consider the requirements for compensatory mitigation
[In-Lieu Fee Programs] for unavoidable losses," said Sallie Diebolt, the
District's Arizona Regulatory Branch chief. "Mitigation as a whole
consists of three factors; avoidance, minimization and compensation. The AWA is
an option for Regulatory Division to use for compensatory mitigation for
unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S."
While a relatively small area, 198 acres, the mitigation
site is impacted by one of Arizona's largest watersheds, the Gila River
drainage basin at 58,000 square miles.
The majority of the area will be restored as a Mesquite
Bosque, common in the Sonoran Desert, featuring 21 acres of Fremont cottonwood
and willow vegetation in suitable areas.
Game and Fish will also construct a water-delivery system
to maintain wetland features and to create ephemeral wetlands for waterfowl,
wading birds and other wildlife.
The AWA visit also provided a training opportunity for
five new District regulators as well as the regulatory staff of the
Arizona-Nevada Area Office.
"The field trip allowed regulatory staff to
see the site first-hand and better understand the functions and values that
will be accomplished at the site," added Diebolt.