The New Ohio Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric (OH SWVM)

On February 23, 2018, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a Public Notice detailing the requirement to use the Ohio Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric (SWVM). The SWVM is used to analyze a stream’s baseline condition while also tracking the progression of any projected physical, chemical and/or biological functional lift achieved through compensatory mitigation. Historically, impacts and mitigation were evaluated based on linear feet and credit ratios. A wetlands assessment tool is also under development and will be released at a later date.

Per the Public Notice, USACE will require the use of the SWVM to evaluate stream impacts and compensatory mitigation in the following scenarios:

  • For projects seeking a Section 404 Individual Permit that is public noticed by the Corps.
  • For proposed stream mitigation banks or in-lieu fee program stream mitigation sites.
  • When the Corps determines that compensatory stream mitigation is required for a project.
  • When a project exceeds the Nationwide Permit stream impact limitation thresholds.

The SWVM incorporates a variety of information and data, including: proposed stream impacts; stream habitat and biological data; and corresponding stream mitigation evaluations. This information is compiled in a spreadsheet and an Index Score is generated. The Index Score is used to calculate necessary debits/credits for stream mitigation.

The additional evaluations and studies for streams that may be impacted may include:

  • Hydrogeomorphic assessments
  • Water quality indicators
  • Macroinvertebrate community studies

Due to the requirement of these additional studies, ecological evaluation costs will increase and mitigation fees will likely be higher for a development project involving stream impacts.

If you would like more information on the Ohio SWVM or have a specific project you would like to discuss, please contact Greg Snowden or Judith Mitchell.

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