Mitigation Banking

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Federal, state, and local environmental policy seeks first to avoid impacts, then minimize impacts, and, where impacts are unavoidable, mitigate them. Compensatory mitigation is

the practice of restoring, enhancing, or protecting wetland, stream, or other aquatic resource functions to offset their loss elsewhere as a result of construction projects. In 2008, the Army Corp established mitigation banking as the preferred strategy, which allows permit applicants to purchase 'credits' from a restored, established, or preserved aquatic resource. The mitigation bank organization, which can either be a private or public entity, is responsible for restoring, enhancing, or preserving natural resources. An interagency review team, usually chaired by an Army Corps representative, provides regulatory review, approval, and oversight of the bank and its mitigation efforts.

Since mitigation banks are often more successful than individual attempts, we recommend the exploration of a NELA specific mitigation project that would channel resources for construction projects into a larger ecological restoration project, many of which are listed under Goals 2 and 4. Coordination amongst the various governing bodies and river-friendly organizations is essential in establishing buy-in to this effort.

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