Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An outcome-based assessment of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation freshwater wetlands regulatory system in Central New York
by Bliss, Kevin R., Ph.D., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2014, 364; 3628499
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation evaluates freshwater wetland impact avoidance and mitigation resulting from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) permitting program within Central New York. Concurrent with this, is an effort to ascertain wetland functionality through a rapid assessment approach to wetland evaluation. Three primary techniques were employed: First, NYSDEC permit decisions were compared to the NYSDEC Freshwater Wetland Regulation Guidelines on Compensatory Mitigation (NYSDEC 1993), to determine whether or not the Guidance was adhered to. Second, NYSDEC permit requirements were compared to the actual mitigation efforts conducted by a permittee in the field to determine whether or not the permittee complied with imposed requirements. And third, a rapid assessment approach comparing functions and values at wetland mitigation sites to the corresponding natural wetland that was impacted by NYSDEC permit issuance was used to determine whether or not the functions and values provided by the mitigation adequately replaced those lost at the original impacted wetland site. The results of this review indicate that the majority of wetland mitigation guidelines are not followed the majority of time. For example, less than one third of the time was mitigation based on plans providing short or long term goals or measurable performance criteria. Often permittees do not comply with imposed freshwater wetland permit requirements related to mitigation. More specifically, thirty five percent of the time, permit requirements for mitigation were not met for those files sampled. As for the functions and values being replaced, that is not happening with six out of nine measured functions: open space and aesthetic resources; erosion control; pollution treatment; protection of subsurface water resources; wildlife habitat; and flood control. The three functions found to be replaced by mitigation include recreation; sources of nutrients in freshwater food cycles and nursery grounds / sanctuaries for freshwater fish; and education and scientific research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smardon, Richard C.
Commitee: Kusler, Jon, Malmsheimer, Robert, Moran, Sharon, Newman, David, Tao, Wendong
School: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Department: Environmental Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Environmental science
Keywords: Compensatory mitigation, Functional assessment, New york state department of environmental conservation, Wetland impact avoidance, Wetland mitigation, Wetland permitting
Publication Number: 3628499
ISBN: 9781321044522
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