130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 231As Introduced
As Introduced

124th General Assembly
Regular Session
2001-2002
H. B. No. 231


REPRESENTATIVES Faber, Cates, Seitz, Calvert, Husted, Gilb, Hartnett, Raga, Schmidt, Lendrum



A BILL
To enact section 6111.02 of the Revised Code to require permits for and mitigation of impacts to isolated wetlands.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 6111.02 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 6111.02. (A) As used in this section:
(1) "Navigable waters" has the same meaning as in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
(2) "Wetland" means an area that has hydric soils and is inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration that is sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. "Wetland" includes a marsh, bog, and other similar area.
(3) "Isolated wetland" means an intrastate wetland that is not connected to navigable waters by a swale, stream, or other distinctive open watercourse and that is not a navigable water under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act pursuant to the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 121 S.Ct. 675 (2001).
(4) "High quality isolated wetland" means an isolated wetland that has a high level of diversity of plant and animal species, a high proportion of native plant and animal species, and a high level of wetland functions. "High quality isolated wetland" includes isolated wetlands that contain or provide habitat for threatened or endangered species, forested wetlands that are of a high quality, vernal pools, bogs, and fens.
(5) "Wetland mitigation bank" means a site where wetlands have been restored, created, enhanced, or, in exceptional circumstances, preserved expressly for the purpose of providing compensatory mitigation for impacts to wetlands.
(B) In lieu of complying with any other requirements of this chapter governing the waters of the state, a person that seeks to fill, develop, or otherwise impact an isolated wetland shall submit an application for an isolated wetland mitigation permit to the environmental protection agency. The director of environmental protection shall prescribe the form of the application. The application shall include the name and address of the applicant, a description of the isolated wetland that is proposed to be impacted, and a description of proposed mitigation for the wetland impact at a wetland mitigation bank under division (C)(1) of this section or a description of proposed on-site mitigation under division (C)(2) of this section. In addition, the application shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount determined by the director to be necessary to offset the cost of processing the application. The director shall approve or disapprove the application within sixty days of its receipt. If the director does not approve or disapprove the application within sixty days, it shall be deemed to be approved.
The director shall issue a permit for an approved application for a proposed impact to an isolated wetland and corresponding mitigation for that impact. The permit shall include the information that is included with the application along with any other terms or conditions pertaining to mitigation as determined by the director. However, any terms or conditions included in the permit by the director shall not require a method of mitigation that is inconsistent with division (C)(1) or (2) of this section.
(C)(1) Unless conducted under division (C)(2) of this section, all mitigation for impacts to isolated wetlands shall be provided through the donation of money by the applicant to a wetlands mitigation bank approved under division (D) of this section. Mitigation for impacts to an isolated wetland shall be conducted so that the total wetlands created, restored, enhanced, or preserved through the mitigation are created, restored, enhanced, or preserved at a rate of two times the size of the area of isolated wetland that is being impacted.
(2) In lieu of a donation of moneys to a wetlands mitigation bank in accordance with division (C)(1) of this section, an applicant may mitigate the impacts to an isolated wetland through the creation, restoration, enhancement, or, in exceptional circumstances, preservation of wetlands at the site where the impact to the isolated wetland will occur. On-site mitigation for impacts to an isolated wetland shall be conducted so that the total wetlands created, restored, enhanced, or preserved through compensatory mitigation are created, restored, enhanced, or preserved at a rate of two times the size of the area of isolated wetland that is being impacted.
(D)(1) The director of natural resources shall establish a list of approved wetland mitigation banks that shall be used by applicants for permits for mitigation purposes under division (C)(1) of this section and shall submit the list to the director of environmental protection. Wetland mitigation banks approved under this division shall support superior habitat or hydrological or recreational functions and shall provide better ecological and hydrological functions than isolated wetlands replaced by mitigation.
(2) The director of natural resources shall establish guidelines specifying appropriate limits on the amount of moneys that shall be donated to a wetlands mitigation bank under division (C)(1) of this section for mitigation of impacts to isolated wetlands.
(E) This section does not apply to high quality isolated wetlands. High quality isolated wetlands shall be governed by all other applicable requirements of this chapter and rules adopted under it.
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