Example Success Stories of Conservation Banks and In-Lieu Fee Programs in the West Coast Region
Bullock Bend (California), Alder Creek Restoration Project (Oregon), and Hood Canal Coordinating Council In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program (Washington)
California: Bullock Bend
Located in the California Central Valley, Bullock Bend is a 119.65-acre site providing riparian and wetland habitat along the Sacramento River in a rural portion of Yolo County. Restoration objectives focused on re-establishing connectivity between the Sacramento River and the historic floodplain by excavating backwater channels and breaching a 100-year old farm berm on the property.
Bullock Bend offers compensatory mitigation credits for projects affecting NMFS listed salmonids (Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and California Central Valley steelhead) through the preservation and restoration/creation of habitat. Habitat types include Restored Floodplain Riparian, Enhanced Riparian Floodplain Forest, and Enhanced Shaded Riverine Aquatic (SRA) habitat.
- Loss of riparian habitat/instream cover affecting juvenile rearing and migration.
- Loss of floodplain habitat affecting juvenile rearing and migration.
The bank location and design promotes NMFS Priority 1 Recovery Actions (PDF, 2 pages) for the Sacramento River:
- Conduct landscape-scale restoration of ecological functions to support native species and increase ecosystem health and resilience.
- Provide access to new floodplain habitat for emigrating salmon and steelhead.
Oregon: Alder Creek Restoration Project
Located approximately 10 miles north of downtown Portland on the southern tip of Sauvie Island at the divergence of the Willamette River and Multnomah Channel, Alder Creek Restoration Project is a 52.3-acre site providing aquatic, riparian, and upland forest habitat. Restoration objectives focused on dismantling an existing sawmill complex and then restoring the site to a mosaic habitat including side channels, mud flats, beaches, emergent marsh, riparian, and upland forest habitats.
Alder Creek was developed in coordination with the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council and offers compensatory mitigation credits to satisfy restoration obligations under the National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in Portland Harbor.
Alder Creek restoration addresses several highly ranked threats to NMFS listed salmonids in the Willamette/Lower Columbia River Recovery Domain identified in the Upper Willamette River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead:
- Loss of connectivity to floodplain habitat affecting juvenile rearing and migration.
- Loss of off-channel and side-channel areas for resting and feeding, affecting juvenile rearing and migration.
The location and design of Alder Creek Restoration Project promotes NMFS Priority Recovery Actions for Upper Willamette River Chinook and Steelhead:
- Coordinate with the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration process to implement restoration in the Lower Willamette River that will aid salmon and steelhead recovery.
- Maintain and restore the best available rearing and migration habitats.
- Restore natural riparian communities and their function.
Washington: Hood Canal Coordinating Council In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program provides compensatory mitigation for unavoidable project impacts in Hood Canal.
The ILF provides compensatory mitigation to permittees by offering an opportunity to make a one-time payment to the ILF Program instead of implementing individual permittee-responsible mitigation. Payments to the ILF are used to fund mitigation projects that are chosen strategically based on the watershed’s ecological needs, including salmon recovery. The HCCC ILF offers compensatory mitigation credits for projects affecting Chinook salmon, summer chum and bull trout. By strategically funding recovery projects, HCCC ILF restoration addresses several highly ranked threats identified in the NMFS Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan, the Puget Sound Steelhead Recovery Plan, and the Hood Canal & Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Summer Chum Salmon Recovery Plan.
The HCCC ILF addresses several priority recovery strategies described in the NMFS salmonid recovery plans, including:
- Protect and/or restore watershed processes and reconnect high quality historic habitats.
- Improve long-term ecosystem functions and high quality habitat by reducing habitat-related pressures.