About Mitigation Banking
What is Mitigation Banking?
Mitigation and conservation banking puts economic initiatives to work for wildland preservation. It is a legal framework that aligns the profit motive with environmental preservation. In exchange for permanently protecting the land underlying the bank and committing to ongoing restoration of native ecosystems, mitigation and conservation banks sell credits to developers who need to satisfy legal requirements for compensating the environmental impacts of their development projects. The result is lower costs for land development projects and more and better protection of fragile ecosystems and endangered species.
Conservation vs. Mitigation Banks
Conservation Banks protect threatened and endangered species habitat, with credits established for each of the specific species on the land underlying the bank. Agencies that typically participate in the regulation and approval of conservation banks are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and wildlife agencies in some states.
Mitigation banks protect threatened aquatic ecosystems, including wetlands, riparian zones, and streams. Mitigation banks are approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with other agencies providing input.
Benefits of Mitigation and Conservation Banking
Mitigation and conservation banking create large, continuous tracts of wildlands, compared to the small, tenuous, patchwork mitigation sites that were the norm. The large, flourishing ecosystems created by mitigation banking also have greater biodiversity and are more sustainable.
Banks like ours also provide greater flexibility to project developers who lack the expertise necessary to create and maintain postage stamp mitigation zones on an individual site. For the public or private land developer, buying our credits means an immediate and permanent transfer of mitigation liability from the permit applicant to our bank, thereby removing the risk of biological failure during the five-year monitoring period required for onsite mitigation solutions.
Mitigation Banking also means expedited permitting, as per the US Army Corps of Engineer’s 2008 Federal Preference. With our credits, there will be no time-consuming and expensive inquiries regarding water rights, mitigation design, or monitoring plans. Finally, permittees are awarded a 1:1 mitigation ratio when using certified credits, rather than the 1.5:1 ratio otherwise required, magnifying the direct cost savings.