What is Mitigation Banking?
Mitigation banking is the process of restoring streams, wetlands, & buffers in order to compensate for unavoidable impacts to streams and wetlands at another location. When roads are built, subdivisions are erected, and other infrastructure developments take place, Federal & State regulations ensure that steps are taken to avoid, minimize, & offset environmental impacts. This process ensures that there is no net loss of environmentally sensitive areas. Once a stream or wetland has been restored to its natural state and function, credits can be generated and sold, and a conservation easement will be over the project area to prevent any future degradation.
Types of Mitigation Banking
Licensed professionals will assess a stream and site characteristics to determine stream restoration or enhancement credit generation potential. Design engineers will ensure vital ecological functions are returned by restoring a stable stream system with appropriate channel dimension, pattern, and profile, as well as aquatic and riparian habitats. Water quality improvements may also be documented.
Degraded wetlands and areas previously converted to agricultural land are assessed for wetland credit generation potential by appropriate licensed professionals. Ecologists and design engineers strategically determine the most suitable plan for restoring the wetland hydrology, soil, and vegetation, while maintaining adjacent land uses, connecting wildlife corridors, improving water quality, and documenting ecological value uplift.
Riparian Buffer Mitigation
Buffer credits are generated by restoring vegetative communities including native grasses, trees, & shrubs along a stream in order to slow down rainfall runoff, filter surface and subsurface water from the adjacent land, stabilize stream banks, and minimize impacts from flooding. Riparian buffer communities may be restored along many kinds of features conveying water across the land entering streams and surface waters with the goal of maintaining and improving water quality.