The Mitigation Rule does not severely constrain service area determination. This is consistent with its support of a watershed approach that depends upon local needs and functions of importance. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) districts have used a number of approaches to define or refine the extent of mitigation bank and in-lieu fee program service areas to provide locally important functions. These approaches include the use of watersheds or hydrologic units, ecoregions, other physical features (physiographic provinces, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) major land resource areas, etc.), administrative boundaries, or some combination of features. A mitigation bank may have separate service areas for different resource types (e.g., vernal pools, seasonal wetlands). The first task in defining a service area is to identify the geography of the affected aquatic resources from a landscape perspective. Is the distribution of the affected resource related to a watershed, ecoregion, or another feature?
Corps District Considerations in the Definition of Service Areas