The Northern Kentucky University Center for Environmental Restoration (CER), in partnership with NKU Research Foundation, operates the Northern Kentucky Stream and Wetland Restoration Program (NKSWRP), an in-lieu-fee program providing compensatory mitigation for the loss of stream and wetland resources due to land development in northern Kentucky. The program was established in 1999, and operates under an Agreement with the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The program is informally known as the NKU Stream Restoration Program.
Funding for the program is generated from the sale of mitigation credits to entities that impact (fill) streams or wetlands for land development under permit from the Corps. NKSWRP receives in-lieu-fee (ILF) payments from permittees, and the CER uses these funds to operate the program and implement mitigation projects. The CER identifies stream and wetland restoration and preservation opportunities, then undertakes projects to protect, enhance, restore, and monitor projects. Project sites, plans, and compliance reports are subject to approval by the Corps, in consultation with the Interagency Review Team (IRT). To date the CER has completed more than $26 million worth of environmental restoration at 30 project sites in northern Kentucky.
A key component of CER’s mission is to train and employ NKU student interns in the field of environmental restoration. From program inception in 1999 through June 2023 (end of Fiscal Year 2023), a total of 215 NKU student interns have been employed by CER for a total of over 117,000 hours. CER additionally provides employment to non-students seeking vocational training and experience in environmental restoration, either directly or by contracting partner organizations. Through June 2023, the CER has provided such employment to 110 individuals for over 41,000 hours, including recent NKU/CER graduates, urban youth, military veterans, retirees, addiction recovery program graduates, and others.
The CER and NKSWRP are fully funded by mitigation credit sales, receiving no financial support from NKU or any outside source.