Failed Mitigation

We started with a modest grant in our Tennessee office in 2004 to follow up on a study of mitigation. We have since begun similar work and trained others in several states including Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Iowa and Minnesota.

Our “Yes Net Loss” project involves examining permits that are usually a few years old to assure that created wetlands have had time to be established and/or make sure that they are still there once created. We visit the sites and deed offices to determine if the permit requirements were met – such as correct acreage created, buffer zones maintained, deed restrictions imposed. If problems are found we inform the Corps or state, inform the permit holder, and/or take our own enforcement action under provisions of the Clean Water Act where the facts allow.

Look at some examples:

Site near Ashland City, TN outside of Nashville, near the Cumberland River. Was permitted as a mitigation site for a TN DOT project as a natural wetland to be expanded, but never done. Later bought by developer and filled without permit. Resulted in our citizen enforcement suit against developer in 2007.
Wetland in Nashville, TN along Cumberland River that was polluted by an illegal landfill, then later destroyed in the 1990’s as landfill got a permit and expanded. They were required to create a larger wetland on the site, which they did, and preserve it. Landfill later bought by Waste Management.
Wetland created at landfill that Waste Management now wants to destroy part of for expansion. They got permits from Corps and state and permission to revise their deed restriction to allow this and re-preserve in perpetuity. An appeal of this is now in state court.
TN DOT wetland created in East Tennessee to mitigate for damage from a road project. During construction they hit acid water and stopped, creating less than half of the required acreage.
Locating mitigation wetland near Slidell, LA east of New Orleans near the eye of the storm of Katrina where 240 acres of wetland restoration were required. Corps memo says 216 were done and that it was “pretty good”, and no action was taken for the violation.
Letter describing 240 acres of mitigation
“pretty good” memo
Slidell, LA wetland impact area for incomplete mitigation