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Stream Mitigation

Kayakers paddling down the Boardman River
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Stream Mitigation


Bethany Matousek

Stream mitigation is required to compensate for unavoidable adverse impacts to stream resources. Before mitigation can be considered, applicants must demonstrate that impacts have been avoided and minimized to the maximum extent practicable. Only then can mitigation be considered. Without mitigation to compensate for lost resource functions and values, some projects would not be able to be permitted due to adverse impacts. Stream Mitigation is typically required for projects that are larger or impact more stream functions (e.g., longer enclosures, relocations, channelization, dredging, armoring, etc.).

Stream Mitigation Plans

If stream mitigation is required, applicants must submit an acceptable mitigation plan before a permit is issued.

Stream Mitigation Checklist

A site protection instrument is necessary to protect the stream mitigation and the functions and values it provides in perpetuity. EGLE typically requires site protection in the form of a conservation easement from the property owner, and financial assurance to guarantee compliance with permit conditions.  Contact Michael Pennington at for a copy of the appropriate conservation easement model for stream mitigation and financial assurance documents.

Examples of Stream Mitigation

Stream mitigation can include many activities that replace the stream functions that were impacted or lost as a result of a project.

Examples include: stream channel restoration; creation of floodplain shelves; creation of pool-riffle complexes; installation of large woody debris; stream bank stabilization; expansion of the riparian buffer; riparian vegetation enhancement; fish passage improvement; culvert improvements; removal of small dams or other man-made obstructions; disconnecting and treating stormwater inputs in urban areas; daylighting a stream; and more.

Considerations for site selection for stream mitigation should include:

  • Where stream function can be improved.
  • Where a conservation easement and/or drain agreement can be secured.
  • Within the same stream or HUC 10 watershed as impacts. If no reasonable opportunity exists within the HUC 10 watershed a location within an adjacent HUC 10 watershed or within the same HUC 8 watershed as impacts may be approvable.

Under state and federal law, applicants must evaluate and provide potential impacts from a proposed project in the permit application.  Applicants must use the Michigan Stream Quantification Tool (MiSQT), or another method approved by EGLE, for stream functional assessment and for determining the amount of stream mitigation.