Update: The public comment period is extended through July 30, 2021.
NOAA has released its draft Mitigation Policy for Trust Resources (PDF, 170KB) for public comment. The purpose of the draft mitigation policy is to improve conservation of NOAA’s trust resources through more effective mitigation of adverse impacts to those trust resources.
NOAA has various authorities to conserve and manage a broad range of fish, wildlife, and cultural “trust” resources. NOAA’s management and conservation activities may include mitigation. Mitigation is the practice of avoiding, minimizing, or compensating for impacts resulting from regulated actions or injury to resources such as fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. Impacts or injuries for which mitigation may be recommended or required include those resulting from a federal action (such as the issuance of a federal permit) or an injury (such as an oil spill or ship grounding).
The draft mitigation policy will apply to activities that NOAA has a role in or undertakes, such as actions that NOAA carries out, funds, consults on, or authorizes under various statutes. The draft mitigation policy seeks to implement NOAA mitigation authorities in a manner that allows consideration of a wide range of mitigation options and encourages the development of multi-use mitigation strategies.
The draft policy describes eight principles that will guide NOAA recommendations and decisions about mitigation, with the ultimate goal of achieving environmental benefits consistent with applicable authorities. These principles are:
- Apply the mitigation sequence appropriately
- Employ the best scientific information available
- Apply a holistic landscape and/or seascape approach
- Promote mitigation strategies that have a high probability of success
- Consider climate change and climate resilience when evaluating and developing mitigation measures
- Implement mitigation that is proportional to impacts to NOAA trust resources and fully offset those impacts
- Use preservation of intact habitat as compensation appropriately, taking into account the high risk of habitat loss in many rapidly developing coastal and marine landscapes and seascapes
- Collaborate with partner agencies and stakeholders