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Missouri Field Office biologists share mitigation tools at conference
Midwest Region, May 10, 2018
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Field trip to stream mitigation bank.
Field trip to stream mitigation bank. - Photo Credit: J. Ledwin

Jane Ledwin and Shauna Marquardt travelled to the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in May to share their experiences with compensatory mitigation tools in Missouri. The conference is one of the largest gatherings of mitigation providers and agency regulators that focuses on bringing together policy, practice, business, science and people investing in the environment.
Ms. Ledwin presented case studies of stream restoration projects in Missouri used as compensatory mitigation for Clean Water Act Section 404 permits. She presented some continuing challenges with projects in highly dynamic systems, especially in Missouri Ozark streams. Many have highly flashy flows and high gravel bed loads making long-term restoration projects difficult. Missouri has seen several 100-500 year flood events recently that put additional stress on those projects, some of which have been repeatedly repaired. Some of the ongoing challenges include developing biological performance criteria and long-term adaptive management in such dynamic systems.
The meeting was also an opportunity to share the highly successful low water crossing replacements the Service has been involved with in Missouri. Most of those projects have occurred within the range of the federally endangered Niangua darter. Partnering with the Missouri Departments of Transportation and Conservation, as well as FEMA, the Service helped guide replacement of failed or poorly designed structures that trapped gravel and debris and became public safety problems. Those projects removed the deficient structures and replaced them with full span bridges which allow passage of flood flows, bed load, debris and importantly, fish. Those projects directly support recovery of the Niangua darter, opening up more than 6 miles of stream within and adjacent to occupied habitat.
Both Ms. Ledwin and Ms. Marquardt participated in a panel called Banking on Bats. Ms. Ledwin organized and moderated the session, which included presentations by Service staff from Kentucky and Missouri, as well as banker/mitigation providers. The session highlighted a variety of approaches for compensatory mitigation for listed bat species, including both banks and in lieu fee programs. Ms. Marquardt presented an overview of the conservation tools used in Missouri to support recovery of federally listed bats including development of Missouri’s first conservation bank and described development of a general conservation strategy for bats in Missouri that includes compensatory mitigation options to support that strategy.
Ms. Marquardt shared her banking expertise as a co-instructor for the preconference Advanced Conservation Banking workshop. Participants learned about Service roles and policies, mitigation drivers, equivalency and standardization of mitigation practices, and the process of instrument development and approval.
The conference provided an excellent opportunity to network with other Service staff, state agencies, and the mitigation industry. As compensatory mitigation continues to evolve, learning from other groups or regions (great field trip to a Kentucky stream restoration project!) as well as sharing our experiences helps us to provide the most effective conservation for listed species and aquatic resources.


Contact Info: Jane Ledwin, (573) 234-2132 Ext. 109, jane_ledwin@fws.gov
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