Commercial Wetland Mitigation Banking

by Robert Brumbaugh,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Wetland mitigation banking, although practiced for more than fifteen years, is a concept just beginning to be widely embraced and implemented as an important wetlands regulatory and management tool. The finalization of Federal guidance on mitigation banking should further boost its use. Mitigation banking represents another way to provide for compensatory mitigation for permitted wetland losses, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. To date, compensatory mitigation has been mostly on an individual project basis usually at the site of the wetland loss. Mitigation banks, on the other hand, are typically relatively large blocks of wetlands that compensate for multiple projects away from the site of individual wetland losses. Mitigation banking for wetlands should be viewed as an opportunity to produce better wetland projects as part of the wetland regulatory process and as a mechanism to contribute towards watershed-based wetlands management. Until very recently, banking practice has been characterized mostly by relatively simplistic arrangements where an entity both provides and uses the mitigation supplied by the wetland bank. However, today there are many types of compensatory mitigation supply arrangements being implemented that can meet the varying needs of planning and resource agencies as well as the mitigation needs of those developers required to provide compensatory wetlands.

Subject Headings: Wetlands (fresh water) | Mitigation and remediation | Federal government | Clean Water Act | Project management | Watersheds | Laws and regulations

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