On May 23, 2014 the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) signed an agreement making DFG the sponsor of a new in-lieu fee program (ILFP) for Massachusetts. The ILFP affords Corps permittees the new option of paying an in-lieu fee to DFG's ILFP as mitigation for their project impacts to federally-regulated aquatic resources. DFG, in turn, will aggregate ILFP fees to implement larger-scale mitigation projects. The Corps’ Mitigation Rule gives preference to in-lieu fee mitigation over permittee-responsible mitigation due to the increased likelihood of success with larger-scale mitigation projects and long-term monitoring by the in-lieu fee sponsor.
DFG’s implementation of its ILFP draws on the ecological mitigation expertise and experience of its three divisions – the Division of Marine Fisheries (“DMF”), the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (“DFW”) and the Division of Ecological Restoration (“DER”). ILFP mitigation projects will focus on permanently protecting aquatic resources and upland buffers and/or restoring impacted aquatic resources within four (4) identified bio-regions covering the state (called “Service Areas”). DFG will select ILFP mitigation projects through its application of detailed prioritization criteria in the ILFP Instrument, which includes consideration of a potential project’s ability to achieve multiple mitigation objectives and its support of or compatibility with broader conservation or management initiatives. DFG will also coordinate the implementation of its ILFP with a federal and state interagency review team (the “IRT”) which provides its input to the Corps and DFG on all mitigation projects proposed to be funded by the ILFP.
DFG’s website provides links to the following information on its ILFP:
- ILFP Final Instrument file size 2MB which serves as both a comprehensive description of DFG’s ILFP and the agreement between DFG and the Corps making DFG the Corps-approved sponsor of an ILFP.
- ILFP Fact Sheet on ILFP Fees , which sets forth the fees applicable to each of the ILFP Service Areas and establishes a dollar ($) amount based on the per square foot or linear foot scope of impact, as applicable, authorized in the Corps permit. In January, 2016 DFG, with approval of the Corps in consultation with the IRT, increased its $/linear foot fees.
- An Interactive Statewide Map, which depicts the town boundaries within each Service Area and allows users to zoom in for more detail.
- Procedure for making ILF Payment to DFG and ILFP Contact information to learn more about DFG’s ILFP, including the procedure for making an ILFP payment to DFG.