in the program. At present (for permittee-responsible compensation), there is a limited incentive for permittee to perform the mitigation in a responsible way. The likelihood of being cited for poorly completed mitigation is low. Penalties can be as much as $25,000 per violation for each day of noncompliance with a mitigation condition. However, significant fines are ineffective if detection of violations is not a priority.
Compliance must be given higher priority (Allen and Feddema 1996; FDER 1991a). The responsible party should conduct an approved monitoring program and provide monitoring results to the appropriate agency, certifying how the conditions of the mitigation site continue to meet the goals of the mitigation project. Supplementing the current self-reporting requirement to be sure there is a common format required for each permittee could increase detection probability. A record-keeping system for the reports would need to be developed. Randomized auditing of the reports would then allow for more efficient use of limited compliance and enforcement resources. The committee recommends that the Corps and other responsible regulatory authorities take actions to improve effectiveness of compliance monitoring before and after project construction. This recommendation applies to both permittee-responsible and third-party mitigation.
It was suggested earlier that when the design is completed and performance standards have been achieved, long-term adaptive management responsibility would be shifted to an organization. Whether a wetland is created or restored, the type of wetland, the surrounding watershed condition, and uncertainties in the science all mean that different mitigation projects will require different amounts of time to become functional wetlands. Once these wetlands have attained their permit-specified performance criteria, long-term stewardship is critical to achieving the goals of the CWA. “Long-term stewardship” implies a time frame typically accorded to other publicly valued natural assets, like parks. This time frame emphasizes the importance of developing mitigation wetlands that are self-sustaining so that the long-term costs are not unmanageable.
Appropriate stewardship entities can include a public agency, a nongovernmental organization, or a private land manager. The entity assumes responsibility for a portfolio of wetland sites (preserved and compensation) in a watershed or some other defined area. As needed, such organizations need to be identified for each watershed. These organizations would be the repositories for the land encumbrance unless it was already held by a conservation entity that would prefer that the stewardship entity undertake the long-term management responsibilities. In ad-