Mitigation banking is the preservation, enhancement, restoration or creation of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area which offsets, or compensates for, expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems. The goal is to replace the exact function and value of the specific wetland habitats that would be adversely affected by a proposed activity or project.
Credits are units of exchange defined as the ecological value associated with converting to other economic uses a naturally occurring wetland or other specific habitat type. Mitigation credits to compensate for riparian impacts may be assigned in relation to the linear distance of a stream functioning at the highest possible capacity within the watershed of the bank.
Credits are designated by an interagency Mitigation Bank Review Team that evaluates and permits a proposed Mitigation Bank. The MBRT may include representatives of various federal, state and/or local government agencies, including: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NRCS, IDEM (or environmental agencies from other states) and local soil conservation districts.
There are several advantages to drawing on mitigation bank credits. Mitigation banks usually provide greater benefits than on-site or small parcel mitigation efforts. Landowners PERC properties that are of higher ecological quality than the small parcel impacts they compensate for. Mitigation banks provide many functional business advantages, allowing for ease of development. They allow a developer to maximize the use of a preferred development site rather than breaking up the site into sub-optimal property uses. Because mitigation bank credits are negotiated prior to development, hence prior to impact, purchasing credits from a mitigation bank decreases permitting time and eliminate the need for monitoring. Both regulatory and long term management risk is passed from developer to mitigation banker.
Establishing a wetland/stream mitigation bank is difficult, time consuming and can be expensive. CSG’s biologists and engineers can work with a client to set up a wetland/stream mitigation bank in a developing watershed.
Posted in: Wetlands and Streams