143-214.9.  Ecosystem Enhancement Program: purposes.

The purposes of the program are as follows:

(1)        To restore wetlands functions and values across the State to replace critical functions lost through historic wetlands conversion and through current and future permitted impacts. It is not the policy of the State to destroy upland habitats unless it would further the purposes of the Wetlands Restoration Program.

(2)        To provide a consistent and simplified approach to address mitigation requirements associated with permits or authorizations issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers under 33 U.S.C. 1344.

(3)        To streamline the wetlands permitting process, minimize delays in permit decisions, and decrease the burden of permit applicants of planning and performing compensatory mitigation for wetlands losses.

(4)        To increase the ecological effectiveness of compensatory mitigation.

(5)        To achieve a net increase in wetland acres, functions, and values in each major river basin.

(6)        To foster a comprehensive approach to environmental protection. (1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 27.4(a); 2005-386, s. 3.2.)