777.11 Other considerations.§ 777.11 Other considerations.
(a) The development of measures proposed to mitigate impacts to wetlands or natural habitats shall include consultation with appropriate State and Federal agencies.
(b) Federal-aid funds shall not participate in the replacement of wetlands or natural habitats absent sufficient assurances, such as, but not limited to, deed restrictions, fee ownership, permanent easement, or performance bond, that the area will be maintained as a wetland or natural habitat.
(c) The acquisition of proprietary interests in replacement wetlands or natural habitats as a mitigation measure may be in fee simple, by easement, or by other appropriate legally recognized instrument, such as a banking instrument legally approved by the appropriate regulatory agency. The acquisition of mitigation credits in wetland or natural habitat mitigation banks shall be accomplished through a legally recognized instrument, such as permanent easement, deed restriction, or legally approved mitigation banking instrument, which provides for the protection and permanent continuation of the wetland or natural habitat nature of the mitigation.
(d) A State DOT may acquire privately owned lands in cooperation with another public agency or third party. Such an arrangement may accomplish greater benefits than would otherwise be accomplished by the individual agency acting alone.
(e) A State DOT may transfer the title to, or enter into an agreement with, an appropriate public natural resource management agency to manage lands acquired outside the right-of-way without requiring a credit to Federal funds. Any such transfer of title or agreement shall require the continued use of the lands for the purpose for which they were acquired. In the event the purpose is no longer served, the lands and interests therein shall immediately revert to the State DOT for proper disposition.
(f) The reasonable costs of acquiring lands or interests therein to provide replacement lands with equivalent wetlands or natural habitat area or functional capacity associated with these areas are eligible for Federal participation.
(g) The objective in mitigating impacts to wetlands in the Federal-aid highway program is to implement the policy of a net gain of wetlands on a program wide basis.
(h) Certain activities to ensure the viability of compensatory mitigation wetlands or natural habitats during the period of establishment are eligible for Federal-aid participation. These include, but are not limited to, such activities as repair or adjustment of water control structures, pest control, irrigation, fencing modifications, replacement of plantings, and mitigation site monitoring. The establishment period should be specifically determined by the mitigation agreement among the mitigation planners prior to beginning any compensatory mitigation activities.