The US Army Corps of Engineers and Audubon Connecticut have signed an agreement to create a new initiative to help conserve local wetlands. The Connecticut In-Lieu Fee Program is expected to generate about $1 million annually to pay for the restoration, enhancement, and preservation of aquatic habitats across the state. The money will come from application fees paid to the Army Corps of Engineers for development projects that affect wetlands and watercourses. Instead of developing small mitigation projects to offset the project’s effects, fees would be pooled for larger projects, including land acquisition. Former Audubon Connecticut executive director Tom Baptist said there is an enormous opportunity for restoring habitats that were damaged by development and road construction.