Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 2. Transportation Entities
11/29/2020

§ 33.2-247. Wetlands mitigation banking.

When authorization is required by federal or state law for any project affecting wetlands and such authorization is conditioned upon compensatory mitigation for adverse impacts to wetlands, the Commissioner of Highways is authorized to expend funds for the purchase of, or is authorized to use, credits from any wetlands mitigation bank, including any owned by the Department of Transportation, that has been approved and is operating in accordance with applicable federal and state guidance, laws, or regulations for the establishment, use, and operation of mitigation banks as long as (i) the bank is in the same fourth order subbasin, as defined by the hydrologic unit boundaries of the National Watershed Boundary Dataset or by the hydrologic unit system or dataset utilized and depicted or described in the bank's approved mitigation banking instrument, as the impacted site, or in an adjacent subbasin within the same river watershed as the impacted site, or it meets all the conditions found in clauses (a) through (d) and either clause (e) or (f); (ii) the bank is ecologically preferable to practicable on-site and off-site individual mitigation options, as defined by federal wetland regulations; and (iii) the banking instrument, if approved after July 1, 1996, has been approved by a process that included public review and comment. When the bank is not located in the same subbasin or adjacent subbasin within the same river watershed as the impacted site, the purchase or use of credits shall not be allowed unless the Commissioner of Highways demonstrates to the satisfaction of the agency requiring compensatory mitigation that (a) the impacts will occur as a result of a Department of Transportation linear project; (b) there is no practical same river watershed mitigation alternative; (c) the impacts are less than one acre in a single and complete project within a subbasin; (d) there is no significant harm to water quality or fish and wildlife resources within the river watershed of the impacted site; and either (e) impacts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are mitigated within the Chesapeake Bay watershed as close as possible to the impacted site or (f) impacts within subbasins 02080108, 02080208, and 03010205, as defined by the National Watershed Boundary Dataset, are mitigated in-kind within those subbasins, as close as possible to the impacted site. After July 1, 2002, the provisions of clause (f) shall apply only to impacts within subdivisions of the listed subbasins where overlapping watersheds exist, as determined by the Department of Environmental Quality, provided the Department of Environmental Quality has made such a determination by that date. For the purposes of this subsection, the hydrologic unit boundaries of the National Watershed Boundary Dataset or other hydrologic unit system may be adjusted by the Department of Environmental Quality to reflect site-specific geographic or hydrologic information provided by the bank sponsor.

For the purposes of this section, "river watershed" means the Potomac River Basin, Shenandoah River Basin, James River Basin, Rappahannock River Basin, Roanoke and Yadkin Rivers Basin, Chowan River Basin (including the Dismal Swamp and Albemarle Sound), Tennessee River Basin, Big Sandy River Basin, Chesapeake Bay and its Small Coastal Basins, Atlantic Ocean, York River Basin, and New River Basin.

1996, c. 736, § 33.1-223.2:1; 1999, c. 8; 2011, c. 253; 2014, cc. 332, 805.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.