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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Determining Mitigation Requirements

Mitigation is used to offset the impacts of a project and is often incorporated into the proposed action.

The goal of mitigation is to reduce the magnitude of project impacts to a level that is considered insignificant. Mitigation can take many forms. Best management practices are often standard procedures adopted by a project proponent or agency to ensure that common impacts are avoided. Examples include erosion control activities, runoff control, spill containment procedures, dust suppression, noise abatement, lighting specifications, and setbacks from protected resources.

Some agencies have developed specific mitigations and mitigation principles for projects under their jurisdiction. An example is the Bureau of Land Management's Gold Book for oil and gas development.

When developing mitigation, the following principles should be applied:

  • Mitigation Should Be Focused: To be effective, mitigation must specifically target the major impacting factors, area of influence, and resources affected that were identified during the assessment.

  • Mitigation Should Be Proportionate to the Significance of the Impact: Mitigation should be scaled to the impact magnitude and impact significance. Predisturbance surveys can go a long way toward minimizing the amount of mitigation required if information collected during those surveys is used to readjust project location and design features to avoid important resources.

  • Mitigation Should Be a Function of Project Phase: Mitigation for site characterization will be relatively simple (e.g., minimizing the amount of ground disturbance, maximizing the use of existing roads), but mitigations for construction and operations will be far more complex to address the many pathways to impact that are inherent to these phases.

  • Mitigation Should Be Developed in Consultation: Mitigation for impacts on regulated resources (e.g., wetlands, threatened species and endangered species, water quality, water use) should be developed in consultation with the regulatory authority. Mitigation requirements are typically specified in permits.

  • Mitigation Effectiveness Should Be Monitored: To be effective, mitigation should be monitored. For regulated resources where mitigation is developed in consultation with the regulatory authority, monitoring is almost always required.
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