In-Lieu Fee Program

What's Happening

The Pierce County In-Lieu Fee (PCILF) program provides another mitigation option for authorized, unavoidable impacts to wetlands. Credits are available to compensate for freshwater wetland impacts within the Chambers-Clover and Nisqually watersheds. The PCILF program will initially apply only within these two watersheds but will be expanded to the entire county in the near future.


Diane Ryba
Project Manager
(253) 798-2231
[email protected] 

What is an In-Lieu Fee Program?

Local, state and federal laws require that wetland impacts are avoided or minimized before development can occur. When projects create unavoidable impacts, project sponsors must offset or "mitigate" the impacts.

Under the PCILF program, developers may be allowed to make a one-time payment to the PCILF program instead of implementing their own mitigation projects. The PCILF fund will be used by Pierce County to implement mitigation projects that are strategically sited with respect to a watershed's ecological needs.

How do I use the PCILF program?

To purchase credits from the PCILF program, developers first submit development applications and a wetland analysis report to Pierce County Planning and Public Works (PPW), as they do now. Upon reviewing application materials, PPW will notify developers whether wetland mitigation requirements might be able to be met by purchasing PCILF credits. PPW will provide further direction at that time. The first steps the developer must take are to prepare and submit a special wetland analysis The "Credit/Debit Assessment" and an In-Lieu Fee Use Plan. The In-Lieu Fee Use Plan takes the place of a wetland mitigation plan. For more information on how to use the PCILF program, please email the PCILF Project Manager or consult Pierce County Code 18G.20.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have more questions about the program, take a look at this FAQ for more information.

2015 Credit Fee

The fee for a single credit within the Chambers/Clover Creek Watershed will be $40,000, initially. Within the Nisqually Watershed the fee will be $30,000, initially. Credits may be purchased in increments of one-hundredth of a credit and the number of credits (or fractions of credits) required is based on the area of impact as well as on the characteristics of the wetland to be disturbed. The credit fee will be reviewed annually and may be amended up or down, depending upon the actual cost to the County of administering the PCILF Program and Implementing mitigation sites.

Pierce County ILF Mitigation Projects

When applicants purchase credits, they are buying program credits within the Service Area of their impact site. It is Pierce County's responsibility to assign that credit sale to a specific, mitigation-receiving site. Initially, Pierce County will have two PCILF mitigation receiving sites within the Chambers-Clover Creek basin. These sites have already been constructed, so their inclusion in the PCILF program reduces the temporal loss of wetland functions that typically occurs when wetland mitigation projects are constructed at the same time as wetland impacts (since wetlands take many years to develop). These two sites are:

  • South Midland Wetland - This 16-acre site was constructed in 2008.
  • Larchmont Wetland - This 16-acre site was constructed in 2013.

Map of South Midland and Larchmont wetland preserves

Future Site Selection

One of the next steps in the PCILF program implementation will be the identification, design and construction of the next ILF mitigation receiving sites within the Chambers/Clover Creek and Nisqually watersheds.

Site selection is based on the adopted “Compensation Planning Framework.” Sites for future ILF mitigation projects are not strictly based on parcels that are readily available. A strategic planning process incorporating watershed goals and highest benefits will be used to identify the best potential sites. Landowners will then be approached to make voluntary sales of the property identified.

If landowners are interested in selling their wetland properties, they can contact Pierce County to be placed within a database of willing sellers that may be approached for future site selection. Potential sites are those where there is a potential (based on soils and a natural water source) for wetlands to be formed. Entry into the database is not a guarantee that a particular property will be purchased.

To submit your property to our willing sellers database, fill out the Wetland Property Acquisition Interest form and return it to Surface Water Management.

In-Lieu Fee Program document library

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