US Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District

Field trip illustrates mitigation options

Published Jan. 25, 2016
Arizona Game and Fish Department staff brief Los Angeles District regulatory representatives on the state's Arlington Wildlife Area Jan. 20. The AWA is a potential in-lieu fee program site for public and private projects seeking an Army permit under the Clean Water Act.

Arizona Game and Fish Department staff brief Los Angeles District regulatory representatives on the state's Arlington Wildlife Area Jan. 20. The AWA is a potential in-lieu fee program site for public and private projects seeking an Army permit under the Clean Water Act.

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.