Office of Coastal Management

The preliminary rules and procedures for mitigation were first promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources in August of 1995 in accordance with L.R.S. 49:214.41. Since that first promulgation, in an effort to ensure that the Office of Coastal Management's regulatory practices regarding its mitigation program remain consistent with the state's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, OCM began amendments to those rules and procedures in March 2013 and on January 20, 2014, the last Subsection of LAC43:I.724 Rules and Procedures for Mitigation became Final Rule and was published in the State Register. 

Compensatory Mitigation in the Louisiana Coastal Zone

What is mitigation?

Mitigation is all actions taken to avoid, minimize, restore, and compensate for loss of ecological values due to an activity. Avoidance and minimization can start in the planning phase of an action by reducing the scope of the proposal in vegetated wetlands including conducting all activities in a non-wetland location.

Why mitigation?

The Rules and Procedures for Permits and Mitigation promulgated as part of the Louisiana Coastal Resources Program require compensatory mitigation for impacts to coastal resources in the Louisiana Coastal Zone. These requirements state that the secretary shall not grant a Coastal Use Permit for an individual activity unless authorization is conditioned to include a requirement for compensatory mitigation to offset any net loss of ecological value that is anticipated to occur.

Marsh CreationCompensatory Mitigation

Replacement, substitution, enhancement, or protection of ecological values to offset anticipated losses of ecological value caused by a permitted activity. The secretary will consider recommendations of state and federal agencies and parishes with approved local programs when selecting compensatory mitigation.

Compensatory Mitigation Options
  • Purchase habitat credits from an OCM approved mitigation bank
  • Purchase credits from an approved In-Lieu fee Mitigation Program
  • Implementation of individual mitigation project
  • Other options determined to be appropriate by the secretary which fully compensate for lost habitat values.
FACTORS IN DETERMINING MITIGATION OPTIONS
  • Mitigation must completely offset the unavoidable net loss of coastal resources as determined by calculation of the habitat evaluation model.
  • Mitigation must have a positive impact on ecological value of the Louisiana Coastal Zone or the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation Plan area
  • Should be located on affected landowner's property/the impacted site*
  • Located within the same hydrologic basin
  • Same Habitat Type as proposed impact or produce similar ecological values to those impacted
  • Contribute to the overall wetland health of the hydrologic basin despite being in a different habitat type
  • Consistent with Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast

*R.S. 49:214.41 states: "The owner of the land on which a permitted activity is to occur shall have the option of requiring on-site compensatory mitigation on his property...provided that the secretary determines that the proposed mitigation is acceptable and sufficient."

The permit applicant will notify the affected landowner(s) when it has been determined that a proposed activity will impact coastal resources. If a permit applicant suspects that his proposed activity may impact coastal resources, the applicant should start planning a mitigation strategy early in the project planning or permitting process.

Water ControlTo reduce the likelihood of extensive delays in the processing of a permit application, the permit applicant should coordinate with the affected landowner(s) that have 1 acre or more of anticipated net losses of, or impacts to coastal resources, to develop a mitigation plan on the affected landowner's or landowners' property if the landowner desires to have mitigation done on his property.

It is a landowner's responsibility to notify the applicant or applicant's agent of his intention to pursue his option to request compensatory mitigation on his property. If the affected landowner(s) waives his/her option to have mitigation on his property, the permit applicant should pursue mitigation according to the options listed in this brochure.

Generally, mitigation obligations are not assessed on an acre for acre basis. Unavoidable net losses to wetland ecological value resulting from a project are quantified as habitat units using the appropriate Wetland Value Assessment (WVA) model. Net gains in habitat units resulting from a compensatory mitigation action must equal the habitat units lost.

Final Points

In many cases, a proposed compensatory mitigation project must also meet the approval of several state and federal regulatory and commenting agencies.

When it has been established that compensatory mitigation is required, a fee will be charged for evaluation, processing, and determination of compensatory mitigation requirements. The fee is based on the size of the wetland impacts being mitigated.

Marsh Plantings

Still have questions?

Any questions concerning mitigation should be directed to the Office of Coastal Management by calling 1-800-267-4019; visiting our web site under "Regulations from the Louisiana Administrative Code"; or writing us at:

Office of Coastal Management
Attn: Permits/Mitigation Division
P.O. Box 44487
Baton Rouge, LA  70804

Kelley Templet