SEATTLE — A mitigation program expected to bring millions of federal dollars to restoration projects in Hood Canal was approved Friday, following more than a year of intense discussions. The program, to be administered by the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, allows a developer to pay cash instead of constructing restoration projects to compensate for environmental damage. Navy officials say they will use the program for the new wharf and probably future projects as well.
As approved, the program will allow any developer working along the shoreline or in wetlands around Hood Canal to take advantage of the in-lieu-fee method. Kitsap County intends to adopt the program as part of its new shoreline master program.
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council will have the ability to pool money from various development projects to restore habitat for the greatest ecological benefit where success is most likely. In addition to paying for restoration, the fees will cover ongoing monitoring. The optional program allows developers to pay a fee and walk away, no longer worried whether the mitigation effort could fail.