Wetland Restoration Fund ("WRF")
SMC created the Wetland Restoration Fund (WRF) as an alternative for mitigating wetland impacts in watersheds where wetland mitigation bank credits are not available. At this time, the WRF only compensates for impacts to Isolated Waters of Lake County (IWLC).
For more information on the use of the fund for mitigation purposes, see the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance Section 1009.01.B.4.
Fund Fee Amounts
SMC approved in-lieu mitigation fund fees, effective August 4, 2022, for each of the four major watersheds in Lake County. These fee amounts will be revised by SMC on an annual basis:
The required mitigation replacement ratios will continue to be as currently specified in WDO Section 1007.02 for example: 1-acre impact in North Branch Chicago River Watershed:
- Non HQAR: 1 acre impact x 1.5 ratio x $181,500 = $272,250 fee payment
- HQAR: 1 acre impact x 3.0 ratio x $181,500 = $544,500 fee payment
- HQAR = High Quality Aquatic Resource
WDO Review Process
For Non IWLC-Certified Communities
SMC will verify the final IWLC impact acreage and inform the applicant of the required in-lieu fee amount. All required fees, including applicable permit review fees and mitigation fee-in-lieu, will be due to SMC prior to final authorization.
For IWLC-Certified Communities
The IWLC-Certified Community will verify the impact acreage and will inform the applicant of the required mitigation and applicable in-lieu fee amount. The IWLC-Certified Community will then provide SMC with the final IWLC impact acreage, mitigation fee amount and applicant contact information. SMC will notify the IWLC-Certified community and applicant in writing once SMC receives the fee-in-lieu money. The IWLC-Certified community can then issue the IWLC impacts approval for the development.
Note: In both review scenarios above, the permit applicant shall provide SMC or the IWLC-Certified Community with correspondence (letter or email) from the mitigation bank administrator(s) confirming there are no available mitigation credits at their bank(s) in the watershed where the IWLC impacts will occur.
Acceptable Forms of Payment
SMC requests payment via online payment via e-check or credit card using an invoice provided by SMC for the required payment amount. Alternate forms of payment include certified check, money order, or direct account transfer (i.e., wire transfer) made payable to “Lake County SMC - Wetland Restoration Fund.”
Goals of the WRF
The WRF goals are to (1) meet Lake County’s “no-net-loss” of wetland acreage per watershed on a programmatic basis within five years of wetland impact, (2) provide wetland mitigation alternatives for smaller impacts, and (3) further SMC’s mission to provide desired community services toward the primary goals of flood damage reduction and surface water quality improvement (from SMC’s 2002 Lake County Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan).
To meet the WRF goals, the SMC may award contracts for projects that will meet or exceed the required wetland mitigation acreage in the watershed where the wetland impacts occurred, or the SMC may purchase credits (i.e., on an acreage basis) from a wetland mitigation bank in the watershed where the wetland impacts occurred when credits become available. For all project RFPs and potential mitigation bank credit purchases, SMC will follow the processes described in the Wetland Restoration Fund Implementation Guidance Document, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (April 4, 2010).