Wetlands impact fee comment period open 

click to enlarge The Whirledge Wetland near Kimmell, Ind. - COURTESY OF  DAVID CORNWELL VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
  • The Whirledge Wetland near Kimmell, Ind.
  • Courtesy of David Cornwell via Flickr Creative Commons

By Seth Morin

Three information sessions will be open to the public to learn about a proposed program that would let applicants pay a fee for unavoidable impacts to Indiana’s streams and wetlands.

The permits must be submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management

The sessions will take place from Aug. 5-7.

The information sessions are:

Aug. 5 at Spring Mill State Park Inn, 3333 State Road 60 E., Mitchell
Aug. 6 at Fort Harrison State Park Inn, 5830 N. Post Road, Indianapolis
Aug. 7 at Potato Creek State Park, 25601 State Road 4, North Liberty

Presentations will be given at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at each location, with representatives on hand from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation to answer questions.

Currently, permits submitted to the Army and the Department of Environmental Management for impacts to Indiana’s aquatic resources require the applicant to mitigate the impacts by either restoring habitat at or near the project site or using an approved mitigation bank.

The additional option of paying a fee will allow the applicant to make a payment to the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. The Department of Natural Resources will then be required to establish or restore aquatic resources within certain areas of the state.

Also, the Natural Resources Commission recently approved new rules allowing for an “in-lieu” fee for mitigation required for construction in a floodway, public freshwater lake, or navigable waterway issued by the Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Water.

However, the new rule has not been put into effect because it still needs to be reviewed by the attorney general’s office and governor’s office.

Seth Morin is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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