Compensatory-mitigation requirements are connected to the federal Clean Water Act. Development activities must be planned in such a way that they avoid impacts to aquatic resources. Impacts that cannot be avoided must be minimized. Finally, impacts that cannot be minimized must be compensated for by restoring, enhancing or protecting a similar resource within a specified geographic area (i.e., compensatory mitigation).
The following laws (under G.S. 143-214.8-143-214) established the Wetlands Restoration Program (EEP’s predecessor) in the mid-1990’s. EEP remains governed by these laws.
• 143-214.8 - Program Establishment
Recent Legislation: Session Law 2009-337 modified laws governing all of EEP’s ILF programs (streams and wetlands; riparian buffer; nutrient offset) to require that non-governmental entities purchase credits from mitigation banks when seeking third-party mitigation and such credits are available. Session Law 2011-343 broadened the applicability of SL 2009-337 to require most local government entities seeking mitigation credits to purchase bank credits when they are available. Through a collaborative effort by EEP and the N.C. Division of Water Quality, NCDENR updated policies effective July 1, 2011 to implement the modifications. In addition, EEP has published a policy describing how the program will implement Section 1.2 of Session Law 2011-343.
Buffer Program: The following laws are related to the buffer mitigation program (note that S.L. 2009-337 influenced 143-214.20):
Nutrient Offset Program: A series of session laws were passed after regulatory fees were increased in 2006. The revised fees were suspended by S.L. 2006-215. Two session laws followed that affected how fees are set for voluntary payments made to the Nutrient Offset Program: