If your company has a development project on the drawing board, part of the planning process involves evaluating potential impacts to the ecosystem. The “no loss of wetlands” requirement established through the 1972 Clean Water Act presents companies with responsibilities and opportunities for preservation that are making a solid, real-world impact on ecological habitats in the U.S.
According to Forbes Magazine, between the mid-1950s and the mid-1970s, natural processes and human activities resulted in the net loss of more than 450,000 acres of wetlands annually. By 2008, fewer than 18,000 acres per year were being lost, a 96 percent annual decrease. The success story behind these statistics involves a proactive and dynamic relationship between the public, private, and environmental sectors.
The Section 404 permitting process directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) requires the applicant to prepare and present a plan to mitigate for wetland impacts.
Because onsite mitigation proved to be somewhat ineffective in the overall ecological restoration process, a market for large-scale wetlands projects evolved that was supported by private, public, and environmental sectors. In addition, private investors recognized great opportunities in financing mitigation banks overseen by the USACE that make “credits” available for purchase by project owners who are navigating the Section 404 permit process.
How it works:
- – Private sector investors, or mitigation bankers, finance large-scale wetlands restoration projects.
- – This creates credits that private and public entities can buy to offset damage to wetlands caused by their projects.
- – The system speeds the Section 404 permit approval process, making mitigation banks an attractive option for developers.
- – Payments made by developers, in turn, repay private investors who front the money for the banks’ restoration work.
- – The wetlands projects create, enhance, and sustain ecosystems that provide wildlife habitat, storm protection, and water filtration.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 identified mitigation banking as the preferred mechanism for offsetting unavoidable wetland impacts associated with USACE Civil Works projects. There are currently more than 2,900 mitigation banks that focus on wetlands, and more than 100 conservation banks that focus on other protected habitats and resources – and the growth in this sector is tremendous.
The team at EDGE has the expertise and experience to help you successfully navigate the complex landscape of environmental regulations and offers several Clean Water Act services, such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permitting, including solutions for Wetland Mitigation. We are here to answer your questions, and to make recommendations about implementing best practices so that your projects move forward efficiently and achieve positive economic and ecological results.
Call EDGE, and we will start the discussion. Bringing further insight.