Resolution of the Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (SASHTO)

Wetland Preservation

WHEREAS, wetlands play a vital role in a region’s hydrology, water quality, and economy while providing unique fish and wildlife habitat; and

WHEREAS, in 1977, President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 11990 which required Federal agencies to include all practicable measures to minimize harm to wetlands; and

WHEREAS, in 1989, President George Bush established “no net loss” of wetlands as a national goal; and

WHEREAS, in 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relied on the “no net loss” goal as the basis for establishing mitigation requirements under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USCS 1344) through their regulations 33 CFR Parts 325 and 332 and 40 CFR Part 230, respectively; and

WHEREAS, although preservation is allowed under the regulations under certain conditions, the “no net loss” interpretation by the USACE and EPA has effectively removed preservation as a viable means of wetland mitigation as very little credit is given for preservation (33 CFR 332.3(h)(2) and 40 CFR 230.93(f)(2)); and

WHEREAS, the SASHTO region has vast natural wetland areas that are in potential jeopardy due to growth and future development and the public would benefit from preservation of these areas; and

WHEREAS, transportation investments are essential for ensuring mobility and economic competitiveness, and recognizing that these improvements should be accomplished in ways that minimize or prevent impacts to wetlands.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the SASHTO States stand in support of an approach to mitigation that better recognizes the value of preservation as mitigation and recommends consistent application; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SASHTO Board of Directors urges the United States Congress to amend the Clean Water Act to recognize the value of preservation by better considering the preservation of existing natural wetland areas as a suitable means of mitigating infrastructure projects.

Approved by the SASHTO Board of Directors
on August 26, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana