Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Geology

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Peake


The Santa Rosa Plain (Plain), Sonoma County, California, has lost 85% of its vernal pools, affecting the survival of four threatened and endangered species. The ability of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to achieve the goal of no net loss is a particular importance in areas, such as the Plain, where wetland resources have become severely impacted. The objective of the study was to determine if a no net loss of wetland area occurred on the Plain, to evaluate the implementation of the Santa Rosa Plain programmatic permit, and to examine trends associated with compensatory medication. Fifty-two Section 404 permits affecting seasonal wetlands on the Santa Rosa Plain between July 17th, 1998 and December 31st, 2004 were examined. The no net loss based on required mitigation was determined and adjusted for loss due to mitigation failure and loss resulting from enhancement. The medication acreage That could be verified was determined in the acreage appended to the programmatic permit was totaled. The frequency of the type of mitigation (on-site, off-site, bank) selected was evaluated by type of proponent (public or private). The location of impacts and mitigation sites were evaluated to assess the effects of geographic displacement. Required mitigation resulted in a net gain of 3.512 acres; however, the combined effects of failure in enhancement resulted in a net loss of 0.504 acre. Only 53% of the mitigation was verified. In most cases the programmatic permit was properly applied and maximum acreage limits had not been exceeded. Mitigation banking was the most frequently used type of mitigation; however, banks were found to result in greater geographic displacement. A majority of the impacts were due to private developers occurred within urban boundaries, while a majority of the mitigation sites were located outside of urban areas. Mitigation banks were found to play an important role in mitigation on the Plain.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Geography and Geology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2005 Teresa M. Silence.

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