Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) oversaw construction and post-construction of the Lakes Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank to help Atlantic County, NJ, receive compensatory wetland mitigation credits for bridge replacement and construction projects.
Davey Resource Group was contracted by the Atlantic County Department of Planning and Engineering to develop a wetland mitigation bank for the purpose of providing compensatory wetland mitigation credits for anticipated Atlantic County bridge and intersection improvement or replacement projects. Initially, DRG reviewed the long-term mitigation needs of the County and conducted a mitigation site search to identify potentially suitable properties that could meet the County’s needs. After recommending several properties, the County purchased a 38-acre property, known as the Burman Property, containing agricultural lands along Lakes Creek in Egg Harbor Township. DRG was subsequently contracted to design, facilitate the approval, oversee construction and perform post construction monitoring and maintenance of the Lakes Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank pursuant to the NJDEP and USACE Mitigation Banking guidelines.
The Lakes Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank project included design of conceptual and final wetland mitigation plans and the development and approval of mitigation banking instrument (MBI) for a freshwater and tidal wetland mitigation bank to satisfy NJDEP Freshwater Wetland and Coastal Wetlands as well as USACE Section 404 wetland permit mitigation requirements for several Atlantic County bridge replacement and intersection improvement projects. DRG identified and evaluated suitable potential wetland mitigation sites. Atlantic County purchased one of the recommended sites. For the selected site DRG performed wetland delineation; hydrologic monitoring; soil sampling and analysis; a preliminary site assessment; oversight of cultural resources investigations; design of conceptual and final freshwater and tidal wetland mitigation plan; tidal stream channel design; development of specifications; coordination with the Interagency Review Team (IRT), where the USACE served as the lead agency and also included NJDEP, NMFS, USEPA and USFWS; and development and approval of the mitigation banking instrument (MBI). Also included the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association (GEHWA) on the IRT. The GEHWA has remained involved with the project and has conducted environmental education field trips at the wetland mitigation site. The Lakes Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank was approved in January 2013. The final MBI approved 6.76 credits derived from the enhancement of 1.72 acres of tidal wetlands, creation of 4.7 acres of tidal wetlands, and the creation of 2.26 acres of freshwater wetlands. Over 25 acres of habitat was also preserved as part of the bank implementation.
DRG also prepared successful applications for a NJDEP Freshwater Wetlands General Permit for wetland habitat enhancement, a Coastal General Permit for wetland habitat enhancement, and Tidelands Lease as well as authorization under USACE Nationwide Permit #27 for wetland habitat enhancement. DRG provided construction monitoring and management for excavation and planting, which was completed in May 2014. DRG performed the 5-year post construction monitoring and maintenance for the highly successful project, which has been granted final regulatory release by the IRT and NJDEP. Additional mitigation credits were also awarded. This project was awarded the 2013 New Jersey Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Healthy Ecosystems category. Implementation of this mitigation bank project has saved the County significant funds on multiple bridge replacement projects while helping to meet project construction schedules.