The In Lieu Fee (ILF) Program was initiated by DEP to provide an additional tool for achieving compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to waters of the United States and state waters, including wetlands, streams and associated buffers. Permits that are required for such impacts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under §404 of the Clean Water Act, under §10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, and by the State of West Virginia under §401 of the Clean Water Act. The permit allows permittees to participate in the state's ILF Program if there are no Mitigation Banks available to provide compensatory mitigation. Permittees participate by paying a fee, which is determined by inputting qualitative and quantitative data from proposed impacts to streams and wetlands into the West Virginia Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric.
The goal of West Virginia's ILF Program is to achieve no net loss of existing stream and wetland acreage and functions in West Virginia through effective restoration, enhancement, replacement, and preservation of aquatic resources. The program utilizes watershed and landscape based planning to identify and assess potential mitigation opportunities that maximize the ecological benefits of aquatic resources within the same geographic service areas as the impacts. By consolidating the mitigation requirements stemming from multiple impacts, large scale watershed efforts can be focused within priority watersheds. The ILF Program works closely with other state and federal agencies, non-government organizations, academic institutions, watershed associations, individuals and others to develop plans and set priorities.