Rick Van de Poll
Department of Environmental Studies
The Clean Water Act empowered the regulation of activities affecting wetlands through the 404 Program. This Program has become the most significant environmental regulation of wetlands. Under the permit structure there has been an increasing reliance on compensatory mitigation of impacts affecting natural wetlands. The creation and restoration of wetlands is a science which has yet to (and may never) be perfected. Long-term monitoring of these mitigation sites will increase the protection of the nation’s wetland resource. This is due to the enhancement of the science and the assurance of compliance with permit conditions. This paper examines the policy issues attendant to requiring long-term monitoring of these compensatory mitigation sites. The role and the need for long-term monitoring is discussed and protocols for monitoring are suggested. Although the 404 Program is nation-wide in scope, this paper is restricted to these activities as they pertain to the permit structure in New England.