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The King County Mitigation Reserves Program (MRP) can simplify and streamline permitting for projects that create unavoidable impacts to wetlands, rivers, streams, shorelines and buffers. By using the MRP to offset compensatory mitigation obligations, development project proponents can pay a onetime upfront fee to fully satisfy their mitigation obligations. Upon payment of the fee, the mitigation obligations transfer to King County (e.g., mitigation site selection, mitigation project design, negotiations with regulators, etc.). The MRP offers increased flexibility, certainty, and potential time and cost savings to developers with unavoidable impacts. Instead of creating and managing their own “permittee-responsible” off-site mitigation projects (which can be complex, have uncertain costs, and take years to complete) project proponents have no further obligation associated with the mitigation obligation once they have purchased in-lieu fee credits.

Using the program:

To use the program, the applicant (i.e., permittee and/or hired consultants) should:

  1. Initiate permitting process with applicable regulatory agencies.
  2. Design the development project to avoid and minimize impacts.
  3. Discuss mitigation needs with regulatory agencies.
  4. If use of the MRP is determined to be an appropriate way to meet mitigation needs, applicant should call MRP staff to discuss use of the program.
  5. Quantify proposed impacts (or the portion of proposed impacts to be mitigated using the MRP).
    1. For wetlands, “debits” related to impact should be quantified using Calculating Credits and Debits for Compensatory Mitigation in Wetlands of Western Washington PDF (6.9 MB).
    2. For river, stream, shoreline, and buffer impacts, these impacts should be quantified using an area-based method and ratios discussed with regulators (River, stream, shoreline, and buffer impacts can be accepted by the MRP on a case-by-case basis).
  6. Fill out an In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Application to begin the contract process (see the Templates page to download).  Please ensure that you have called MRP staff to discuss use of the program prior to filling out an application
  7. Complete an In-Lieu Fee Use Plan PDF (278 MB) and obtain approval from all applicable regulatory agencies for use of the MRP (i.e., all agencies issuing permits for the impact project).
  8. Obtain approval from regulatory agencies on the quantification and description of impacts (i.e., number of “debits”, which equals “credits” required for purchase).
  9. Obtain final permits for project. Permits will be issued under the condition that work on the project shall not begin until applicant has provided regulatory agencies with a Statement of Sale (i.e., a receipt from King County for purchase of credits).
  10. Purchase required number of credits. King County will provide a Statement of Sale to applicant and regulatory agencies.  

Related information

 

For more information about King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program, please contact Megan Webb, Program Manager (in the Water & Land Resources Division’s Rural and Regional Services Section).