WRP Technical Note WG-RS-3.3

January 1999

Examples of Performance Standards for Wetland Creation and Restoration in Section 404 Permits and an Approach to Developing Performance Standards

PURPOSE: This technical note accomplishes the following: a) defines performance standards for wetland creation and restoration, b) provides 20 example performance standards for wetland creation and restoration projects required by Section 404 permits, c) summarizes seven sets of performance standard guidelines used by Corps of Engineers Districts and one set of guidelines under development, and d) outlines an approach to developing new performance standards or revising existing performance standards.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS DEFINED: Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977, wetland creation and restoration can be required as compensatory mitigation for unavoidable wetland loss. Performance standards, in the context of this technical note, are observable or measurable attributes that can be used to determine if a compensatory mitigation project meets its objectives. Performance standards are frequently called “success criteria” but may also be known by other names, such as “success standards” or “release criteria.”

Individual Section 404 permits provide both general and special conditions regarding permitted activities. General conditions include standardized information relevant to all permitted projects, such as time limits for completion of permitted activities, requirements to report historic or archaeological remains found in the course of permitted activities, and requirements to allow inspection of permitted projects by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives. Special conditions include additional information pertinent to specific projects or regions, such as refueling procedures for equipment, safety requirements, sediment control requirements, and seasonal timing of permitted activities. In permits that require restoration or creation of wetlands as compensatory mitigation, performance standards should be included as special conditions. 1

WHY PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ARE IMPORTANT: Performance standards allow the Corps of Engineers to determine if the objectives of compensatory mitigation required by a Section


“Army regulations authorize mitigation requirements to be added as special conditions to an Army permit…” —Memorandum of Agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army Concerning the Determination of Mitigation Under the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines, 1990.

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