Streamside and Wetland Mitigation
Healthy wetland ecosystems are part of healthy forest ecosystems. They provide a number of services. They modulate hydrologic extremes, provide wildlife habitat, filter pollutants, retain sediment, store carbon and cycle nutrients. Their functions and condition are influenced profoundly by their location in the landscape, their proximity to other wetlands, and surrounding stresses. The main federal regulations for wetlands are in the Section 404 provisions of the Clean Water Act of 1972. Section 404 provisions establish a procedure for regulating discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. If a 404 permit applicant has shown the adverse wetland impacts caused by the proposed project are unavoidable and have minimized, then the permit applicant may be required to take steps to ‘replace’ or mitigate the wetland function(s) and ecological values lost due to the adverse impacts of the permitted project. This is where a wetland mitigation banking systems comes into play.
Wetland mitigation banking is a system where permit holders who are required to complete compensatory mitigation for adverse impacts to wetlands can acquire credits from a mitigation bank to satisfy their mitigation requirements. This, in combination with other federal and voluntary programs is increasing the role of the private sector in wetland/streamside restoration, and the value of water is continuing to rise. With a diverse portfolio of wetland ecosystems, The Forestland Group has a unique opportunity to participate in mitigation banking and payment for watershed services.
Kaarsten Turner Dalby
Senior Director Ecological Services