Abstract: Session A  8:55 am (Back to Session A)
Planning and Implementing Wetland Mitigation for Section 404 Permits on Behalf of Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Richard (Ricky) Wilson
San Antonio, TX

HDR has assisted Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) with Section 404 permitting for numerous road and bridge projects throughout the state. As part of the Section 404 permitting process, wetland mitigation is often required. In areas without an approved mitigation bank or in-lieu fee program, HDR has collaborated with ODOT to plan in-kind wetland mitigation on or adjacent to the project site through the use of wetland restoration, enhancement, establishment, and protection principles. The wetland mitigation process includes coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tulsa District, Regulatory group for approval of a mitigation plan that follows the Tulsa District Mitigation Guidelines as well as the 2008 Mitigation Rule.  Through the planning and permitting of several wetland mitigation projects, HDR has developed strategies for wetland topsoil harvest to promote early establishment of wetland vegetation in created wetland areas. The presentation will cover some example projects and lessons learned from implementation of wetland mitigation during the adjacent road and bridge construction. HDR has provided plans and notes that are commensurate with ODOT construction documents and met with contractors to educate and explain the mitigation process. HDR also provides wetland mitigation monitoring with reporting and recommendations for remedial actions as necessary. By planning wetland mitigation to enhance and mimic natural ecosystem processes, including hydrologic regime, HDR has assisted ODOT with providing wetland functions that are resilient and sustainable to benefit the natural ecosystem. Furthermore, HDR has provided ODOT with feasibility evaluations for using state land owned by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) as a means of providing a cost-effective and mutually beneficial strategy for planning potential future mitigation efforts in a sustainable natural ecosystem.